Sunday, July 30, 2023

Falling Out of Love with Wine

This week, I was re-organizing my wine collection. There were several cases of white and rosĂ© wine that had stacked up in the utility room, and we weren’t drinking it that regularly, of late. So, I made room in the wine cave for them. I keep a spreadsheet and was slightly annoyed to be adding to the list, rather than subtracting to it. Why, one might ask? Isn’t the purpose of a wine collection to continually add and subtract, refine and replenish? I suppose so, but with our diminishing drinking habits, I fear I might outlive some of my wines. And that, in my view, would be an egregious offense.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Confessions of a Salesperson: Lessons from a Bygone Era

Recently, I stopped in to see an old friend and erstwhile client, an Italian restaurateur. We had a glass of Gavi together and caught up. He told me this anecdote:

“This wholesale rep showed up with (a very large and new Italian supplier) longtime supplier rep friend. We’ve known each other 30+ years. We’re chatting and having fun. We have a relationship. The wholesale rep, who is new, apparently didn’t like our cutting up. So, the rep reported me and the supplier to their superior. Said we were being unprofessional. This wholesale rep, who has yet to sell me on themself and their company, is turning me and their very important rep in? Who the heck does that?”

Sunday, July 16, 2023

What kind of life have you had?

 In memory of Luigi Pira and Dino Illuminati

I was in the room next to my wine closet when I thought I heard the murmur of low voices. There was no one else in the house, and it startled me a bit. But as I inched closer to where the wine was, I realized the voices were coming from inside…

Sunday, July 09, 2023

Reinventing Italy

The Italy that Americans forget

Lately I’ve taken to reading excerpts from people’s trips to Italy. Wine country, the cities, the fashionable resorts, the restaurants, the countryside. And one thing has stood out from some of those missives. It is the unique position we all have, the singular perspective of Italy from our own point of view, and how it affects how we see and interpret Italy to others. This is no simple thing, for there are as many Italy’s as there are people experiencing it. But what makes some of those dispatches noteworthy are the way they not only envelop the teller of tales and their particular cosmogony, but how it brings others into their whirlpool in a way in which the Italy they have created is fully believable and not just a hopeful fabrication that they’ve hoisted once again upon the rest of us.

In other words, that they have given to us an Italy we can share in and not just revel at their prowess in getting there and throwing everything into the kitchen sink of detail in order to regale and influence us, to magnify their place in the pantheon of Italianita, and make it seem they are more important than the story they are trying to tell. This is no easy thing, for it requires self-confidence, for sure. But it also requires stopping the world and letting their intimacy with place take over and be the over-riding influence over one’s perceptions. So much for being invisible, to an extent, yes, but also being open to the cuckoo call in the glen, the gurgle of the stream below the window of one’s hotel, the absolute quiet of the moment, which is always there behind the incessant rattling of the monkey-brain.

Sunday, July 02, 2023

The Luxurious Privilege of Outrage

I was taking a coffee break recently with a friend, catching up, and he remarked about some crappy restaurant service he’d recently gotten. I quipped back at him, “Yeah, you’ve got it real rough. You’re white, you’re financially set and you’re relatively healthy and young enough. Sounds like your 1%er  white privilege is kicking in, cowboy.” He laughed. Of course, our banter can get a bit barbed, but it’s usually not jugular. But it can be to the point. I could have easily made that same remark in the mirror and it would have had an equal degree of accuracy. So, no glass houses here.
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