Sunday, September 25, 2022

Eataly taken over by a global private equity conglomerate? Say it ain't so!

Recent news from abroad has it that Eataly has had a change of ownership. Investindustrial, headed up by Andrea Bonomi, has acquired 52% (majority) share for about $200 million. Not a ridiculous amount for a concept that started almost 20 years ago.

Now, according to the website, Grocery Dive, Eataly is in “more than 40 locations in 15 countries including eight flagship stores in North America and 16 franchise stores across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.” Quite a jump from their initial shop in Northern Italy.

$200 million seems like a small amount for 40 locations. I wonder how much debt the original company might have piled up. Was that debt erased? Who, if anyone, walked away with millions? What changes will come about? Expect  more expansion, and expect the Bastianich family will sell their shares, as part of the deal (as per The Financial Times).

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Wine, Watches & Cigars – Is There No Ceiling?

Recently, I popped into my local grocery store, Central Market, in Dallas. On the wall was a bottle of Château Pontet-Canet 2016 for $200.00.

On the Rolex website, one of their newest watches, a GMT-Master II “Pepsi” lists for $10,750 retail, but try and find one new for that price. On the secondary market though, you might be able to find one for twice retail.

I’m reading an article in Cigar Aficionado, and they’re talking about Cohiba Cuban cigars now retailing for over $100.

Before the great disruption event of 2016, you could have easily found a bottle of Pontet-Canet for under $80, still a price most people wouldn’t consider, except for maybe a special occasion, and well above the price I remember seeing the 1982 stacked in my local Safeway (for $12.99!). A Rolex, five years ago you could have gone into a local AD (authorized dealer) and picked one up, at retail. Still a pricey proposition, but reachable for folks with the means. And that Cohiba Splendido? Well, in Canada or Italy I saw them for about $10, back in the day. Still, a pricey smoke, but not a C-note!

Something is out of whack. Are we living in a world exclusively comprised of billionaires? Is there no ceiling on these consumer items? Have we all gone mad? Where in hell have we landed? Is there a way off of this planet?

Sunday, September 11, 2022

A World Without Italian Wine

Who among us could imagine a world without wine from Italy? Well, I’m sure there are those teetotalers who have and do. And there are those for whom alcohol is an addiction, and they as well could, and should, imagine such. But for those of us who are not controlled by alcoholic urges and for whom wine is a safe and healthy accompaniment to our meals and our friendships, wine no longer from Italy is unthinkable.

But not impossible. With threats from global climate change, changes in animal migrations, land wars, and general convulsive nature of our world, could Italian wine be wiped off the face of Earth?

Sunday, September 04, 2022

I Numeri Del Vino - My World in Italian Wine

eople who know me, know I have this thing about spread sheets. No, I’m not a bean counter or a number cruncher. I don’t even like the word “metrics,” as it triggers uncomfortable meetings with dull accountants. But I do like lists, and they often include numerical jottings.

For instance, I have a spread sheet on my cholesterol numbers going back to the mid 1980’s. And a list of all the foreign trips I have taken to Italy and elsewhere. I also have a spreadsheet which tells me what I have in my freezer. A list of my watches. A list of valuable coins I’ve inherited (watches and coins are vaulted up, folks). I have a spread sheet of the wines I have collected, so I can access any wine I want within seconds. Ditto for my vinyl LP and CD collection. You never know when one will want to spin Steely Dan’s Aja or Moondog’s Snaketime Series.

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