Sunday, March 21, 2021

Where we've become - And where do we go from here?

his is going to be a mish mash of stuff, as we’re kind of in the doldrums of wine blogging. Also, I have a few things I need to do to clear off my desk. So, here goes.

Where do we go from here?

Good question. American Airlines starts direct flights from my home base (DFW) to Rome (FCO) at the end of this month. But Rome, and most of Italy, is shut down with a resurgence of the coronavirus. As of today, Italy has seen a 33% increase in the last two weeks of deaths from Covid19. So, Easter has been cancelled. Not that I am ready to travel to Italy yet. But if anyone has any ideas of going, you will need to put your plans on hold. We’re not there yet.

I inserted an archived post last week about out-of-the-way eateries in Italy. Just so it won’t be misinterpreted going forward, those places are not places to seek out right now. Perhaps some of them will even not re-open. It is a trying time. But if, and when, they do, I’ll be going back there.

But for now, I’m traveling virtually, as my IG feed conveys on a regular basis. Not to minimize the pain and suffering the Italians are still going through (I recently lost two friends to Covid, both younger than me). I believe we must look to the future and hope for better days. I will also mourn the loss of my friends and the pain their families are going through.

So, to answer the question, “Where do we go from here?” We go forward, carefully, slowly and with heavy emotions for those who will not be going with us.

The Red Zone

In Italians terms, that could mean so much. Literally, right now, it’s where most of Italy is in. Things are shut down. Vinitaly was cancelled for the second time in a row, which is unprecedented. It also is causing wine producers and marketers to rethink the “in person” trade show model. While many of us miss the closeness of person-to-person meetings and get-togethers, we’re all finding that we can save a lot of time and money by meeting virtually. And for now, it’s much safer. I recently attended a virtual meeting by an Italian wine expert and it came off brilliantly. So, yes, the traditional models are being challenged, by health concerns and also by limitations of time and money. No, Vinitaly isn’t going away. But the way we get information about new vintages and releases will change and expand, from what we have known to what we are doing already. This is not news. But it represents a sea-change in Italian thinking about how we go forward with promoting Italian wine in the world. It can actually expand the ways Italian wine producers can find new markets and new wine lovers. I see a huge upside to all of this. And, missing an airplane ride or two for all of us is probably a good thing, for our personal health, and ultimately the health of the planet. It’s a great equalizer. No longer will the fat cats at the top of the food chain of Italian wine (and Italian wine promotion) be the only ones to get their fill at the banquet.

Maybe in the future, when we talk about the red zone, it will return to talk of red, red wine. I know, in that account, I’m more and more in that red zone of late, what with my not-so-virtual weekly wine lunches with friends, all of whom have had their shots.

Old friends, new friends, no longer friends

One thing I’ve noticed acutely, is the changing nature of friendship. I’ve made new friends, kept in touch with friends going back 60 years. I’ve also lost some friends along the way.

Some of them have actually died. With some others, the friendships have ceased to exist.  I don’t know if it’s because I present as an elderly White male (EWM), or if some of them, who are not White, just need space from those of us who look the way we do. I get it. I mean, it’s not a good sensation to feel cancelled. But I accept it. Many more folks out there have had to deal with this for hundreds of years. I understand.

There is also a small undercurrent of anger flowing from some of the folks in my world. I have a hard time understanding why White males are so angry, especially as their lives are better than 95% of the world’s population. We live in a time of grievances and no holding back. It even manifests as bullying, whether concrete or of the cyber variety. Either way, it’s palpable and it is piercing.

For what it’s worth, my experiences lately with being harassed and antagonized have caused me to have a little more empathy for folks for whom bullying has really damaged their lives. So, for that, I’m grateful for the insight. No one wants to hear about the travails of an EWM, so I’ll hold back here. Only to say, I know now, ever so much more clearly, how it is when folks speak up about the damage bullying and personal attacks, and their pleas for help go unheeded.

A tale of two tastings

This month I’ve been tasting more wine than since I was in the trade full-time. I guess part of the reason is that I have more time, and part of it is because there is access to tasting wines in more than just the traditional ways. Next week I’ll pick up on two tastings of note. One is a virtual tasting and the other is a series of protracted lunches, with some great wines. Both formats have their pros and cons and I’ll be glad to further elucidate their respective attributes and annoyances. Until then, be safe.


wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


Anonymous said...

Sorry about the bullying, AC, welcome to my world. Not to minimize it, but the DB who is harassing you is probably a lost soul. Give those kind of folks plenty of room. they usually slither away ....Happy Easter!

Robin D

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks Robin, We'll get through this. He's a pathetic little man. Say hi to Bryan. Hopefully we all can get together next time I'm in SoCal.

Unknown said...

I've enjoyed reading some posts of your journeys. Thank you. As a somm, I am always up for reading more. If you are ever out in Sonoma CA, look me and my Jeep wine touring business up, I would love to host you!

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