Sunday, June 28, 2020

The love of your life

Well, here we are. Some of us are alone. Some of us are riding this out with others, maybe our loved ones, friends, family. It doesn’t look like we’re going anywhere for awhile. Well, actually some of us have already vacated the premises. But for those of us who are still keeping the faith (and believing the science) let’s go back in time, back to Italy or wherever your heart desires. For this is about your heart’s desire. This is about the love of your life.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

A Gen-Del Futr’spatch from Italy, Post-SARS-CoV-θ: "We Made It Through!"

Dateline June 16, 2080 – Father’s Day

Dear great-great grandfather,

I am writing this to you (or it is meant to seem like writing) because when we learned we could travel in time, or rather we could go back in time, not forward, or rather we could send things back in time, not ourselves (yet), this seemed like a good time send this communiquést.

First, Happy Father’s Day, for without you, I wouldn’t be here. Secondly, thanks to the advances that have been made in the last 60 years, we’ve been able to finally get past COVID-79 and hopefully a few years of breathing space.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

A Pool, a Piano and a Painting

The times have a way of changing what one thought was important, once upon a time. Now, more than ever, the highly charged and emotional turmoil we find ourselves immersed in has illuminated abstract concepts, like legacy, fairness and respect. Along with more mundane things, like a pool, a piano or a painting.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

The short answer? Not right now...

The longest period of time that passed between trips to Italy was in 1997. I hadn’t been back since 1992. Now, it has been a little more than a year, but who knows when we can return?

Looking at pictures from a livestream of Venice, it appears almost like it was in the 1700’s. Not many people, no large cruise ships in the water. A quiet, lilting kind of image, Venice has gone back to being La Serenissima. I’d love to see it like this. But not now.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Lost & Found - A letter from great-grandfather in 1920

During this down time, I’ve had the opportunity to go through boxes and papers, organizing my office. One of the packets I ran across were papers from my dad. My mom gave them to me before she died. In this packet there was a letter written to him in 1920 from my great grandfather. It was in Italian and was written in a beautiful script. His handwriting was meticulous. I gave the letter to a friend to translate. This is what it said:

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Under the Influence...

#1,500
We’ve all had lots of time to think. I’ve written a dozen dystopian blog posts in my head. And I’ve pondered over Italy and what it means to me and others. And still, I can’t help thinking, how have these past three months influenced what Italy means to me, going forward?

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The top 10 destinations for Italian wine exports in 2019? Once again, China wasn’t one of them. In 2020, Quo Vadis?

Young Italian wine professionals had been posing wistful pictures on their Instagram and Facebook feeds, when travel destinations such as China, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand and Singapore were de rigueur for building their Italian wine business. From first blush, one would think there’s a lot of business for Italian wine in Asia. I’m looking at the numbers from 2019 and prognosticating upon what the possibilities for growth in 2020 are.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

When darkness falls on the island

“It can’t always be sunny, even in Texas!” I remember hearing momma shouting out to me, many times. She would know, having been born a few years before the 1918 Pandemic, and living the early years of her childhood, in Texas, in an orphanage, because her father had abandoned her mother and five children, one a baby boy.

Nonetheless, my mom was extremely resilient all through her almost 102 years on this earth. I often wonder how she’d deal with this “where we’re at right now” moment. It would be her very own take on things, and no doubt, she’d survive.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Life on the Island - The World As It Is

For Marco Moltinomi

Lately, I’ve been watching Italian movies by Cristina Comincini, notably “Follow Your Heart” and “Latin Lover.” We’re back in an Italy that once was, the scenery, the subjects, the people sitting together at a table, eating, drinking and talking, sometimes arguing, crying and laughing. It’s a scene many of us have witnessed or experienced numerous times, all around the world. And for the time, that world has stopped.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Life on the Island – When This is Over – Promises to Keep

Palermo - Isola delle Femmine
If there is a theme to what has been scrolling past my screen lately, it is that there are many of us who want to do it a little differently when this wave passes. And while there are as many hopeful iterations for the future as there are of us, my thoughts today are with the hopeful and affirmative ones who understand that resilience is an unbounding strength, not only in these times.

So, how will things be different, when this is over? What does your crystal ball reveal to you? Here are some of the musings I’ve gathered.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Life on the Island - ? grands maux, grands remèdes

Every time I start to write something down for a blog post, I stutter. Who cares what we’re drinking or who we’re drinking it with? Or if we’re alone or with another? Or if it matches with the food we’re having? Or if the wine was made by someone who is suffering from this virus, or maybe even died from it? That level of omphaloskepsis in times like this seems a bit inane. It may be your life, what you do. Wine. But in the meantime, there’s been a seismic shift on earth.

So, I’ve come up with my plan, here on the island where I am marooned for the time being. These are my remedies in this era of the great ailment.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Life on the Island - Love, Sex & Death in Sicily

From the archives
Una Favola
Mozia 

Quali volti nell’aria?
Pirati o mercanti, maghi o scienziati
con formule e amuleti scendono sulla riva?
Quale incantesimo ferma a Mozia
il fluire del tempo?
Forse un vento del Libano
senza memoria ridesta visioni
di un sogno d’Oriente.

Nel Tofet bruciano incenso e timo.
Tanit splende con vesti di porpora
e seni di lino.
Caste fanciulle danzano sulle brezze del mare.
Pan ha sepolto il passato con vigne, alberi e capre.
Nelle luci, nelle ombre tra vasi, anfore e steli
riaffiorano sempre canti orientali.

Oh tu,
feniceo o plebeo, che adagi i tuoi passi
nella piccola isola sospesa e sognante
in remoti millenni,
volgi il pensiero a Colei, fanciulla,
che forse bruciò per te in sacrificio a Tanit.
- Vittorio Cimiotta

“Don’t go to Mozia looking for answers,” my Sicilian friend advised, “You’ll only find more questions. But by all means, go.” Those were her parting comments to me as we hugged goodbye. It would be a world far from the hazy blur of Vinitaly. But it was a must see.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Life on the Island - The Resurrection of Italian Wine

From the archives
It is truly a miracle to consider what we humans do to the land and the resilience that land exhibits. We pour chemicals on it, stir them up and grind them in. Then we put more poisons on the plants that grew up from that chemical baptism. When the leaves send their shoots and the flowers send their fruits, we then trim them, shave them and cast them to the ground.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Life on the Island - Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Perilous Sea of 2020

Photograph © by Michael Housewright
It wasn’t that long ago. It was 1987. And then it was 2001. And then, 2016. But each sojourn left its mark. And along with it, beauty, solace, pain, joy and relief. Longing for a world, which is momentary, to allow one to linger just for a few more moments. Is that too much to ask?

Fortunately, our memories have pictures to help us through the dark, lonely nights. Waking up in a cold sweat, wondering if the shadow on the sliding glass door is the caller, calling me to another realm. But it passes with the rising sun.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Life on the Island - in 2020

In writing this post, I want to be mindful of the pain and suffering any of us might be having or will be having in the future. So as not to trivialize the bigger phenomenon we are all collectively experiencing, I will attempt to keep what it is we are involved with in our lives and our careers in the wine trade in perspective to larger events shaping our world.

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