Globalization + Wine = Globalized Wine

Yes. I’ve been complaining more than usual these past few months. No. Wait. That’s not true. I reckon I’ve been complaining like this for-almost-ever. Not making it in life has its quirks, indeed. But I will never complain about the parts of this life that I’ve been privileged (worstwriter can write “I’ve been privileged!) to experience and has been part of my own personal enlightenment. Allow me an example or two. Experiencing live philharmonic Beethoven. I have seen Don Giovanni twice. King Lear on Saturday night in Düsseldorf. MacBeth on Sunday night in Hamburg. Flew to San Francisco once on a whim and saw Jerry Lewis play the devil on stage. And what about the fine food I’ve become accustomed to eat? My culinary experience spans Thailand to Italy, Tex-Mex to Rheingau. Oh yes, life indeed is a bouquet of fun, games and hacking around – and now  it’s time to get ready to die. I guess. So is life to short for bad wine to go with it all? No, it’s not. Life is too long to feed the greed-mongers of hoarded grapes and whored vineyards and so the world should smarten up and boycott wine.

Or maybe not. Obviously, I didn’t grow up in a world of cultivation. In order to be where I am today I had to first pick the path in life that was not meant for me. In short, that boils down to being an American immigrant. That is, as an American, I’ve chosen to live elsewhere (well, perhaps the word “chosen” is not quite right; but I won’t get into that chestnut here, dear worst-reader.) The fact is, if it weren’t for the wrong choices I’ve made, I’d still be in redneckville fiddling with all my guns and drinking beer out of cans. That’s right. I just said ”guns” and beer. Luckily those guns are still back home – hopefully locked up safe. As far as drinking too much out of cans, well, I now live in a place that makes the best beer in the friggin world and sometimes driving it out of cans is almost better than drinking it back home (if that makes any sense). And with such a big and grand move, I’ve been able to move beyond guns and beer to the luxury of wine, preferably red (on account Jesus never drank white). I’ve even acquired such a taste for wine that I’m not afraid to admit how drinking it makes me passive – just like Jesus.

A glass of fine red wine on a regular basis helps me deal with a whole bunch of this fucked-up world. If it weren’t for red wine – and all the reading I’ve done over the years to accompany it – who knows what would have become me. Of course, drinking a fine wine effects people in different ways. Just listen to some of the dips out there trying to figure out bouquets and tannins and structures. (Which, btw, reminds me of the film Sideways. Honestly, I don’t know why the writer of that film picked on Merlot so much.) Which brings me slowly but surely to the topic at hand.

But before I continue on with my worstwriting ramblings, let me get a sentence out regarding the subject of this post: Good wine is gettin’ too expensive. And I think that sucks. Even now, so many years after leaving my redneck ways, the smell of a fine wine brings back memories, which I’ll try and avoid writing about here. Yet there are some very confusing bouquets, if you will, that I can’t help that they remind me of something. A psychologist told me once that these are memories attached to my smells. Seriously. She said that to me. Anywho.

Now here’s the thing that might throw you for a loop. The smell that grabs me the most after I’ve drank too much fine red wine is the smell of guns. Here I’ll cease in the use of French vernacular. Yeah, the smell of a gun, fired or not, is quite the opposite of a fine wine. And don’t opposites attract? In a way, what I’m trying to get at here is the luscious Kilgore smell that motivates and accelerates the forgetting of every little murder one ever committed.

Kilgore: I love the smell of napalm in the morning. (You know, to motivate them to surf.)

Worstwriter: I love the smell of Tuscan red wine in the early or late afternoon. (To stop thinking altogether.)

Naturally I yearn for the smell of guns and what they do – those guns are part of what made me who I am today. And when the urge grasps me, when it tugs at my pant leg and causes my scrotum to itch, instead of reaching for the gun cleaning oil (my European substitute), I reach for a cork screw and a bottle with a DOCG label. (Btw, gun cleaning oil is a good substitute for getting that smell; you can buy the oil almost anywhere in Europe; all you have to do is sniff it; thank goodness you can’t buy the guns as easily.)

Oh, the smell. The smells that remind me… Like some stranded spider that bathes in chocolate and raspberry; the spider has been too often caught in a storm after being plucked from fresh olive oil soil; the spider is now waving through the hellish atmosphere and threatened by the carbon dioxide that seems to be the only thing humans can produce at the beginning of this/a new century – other than guns.

Yes. Wine. Perhaps the most severe addiction I’ve had to deal with ever. And now I have been given reason to give it up. But this reason is so unlike the reason I gave up the guns. What is the reason, you ask. It is not voluntary. And why is that? Well. It’s finally come full circle. Last year was probably the last year – most likely – that I will be able to visit the Tuscany region of Northern Italy to buy my habit. It used to be relatively easy – a matter of filling up the trunk of whoever’s car I stole – or informally borrowed. I then would drive back to Germany and proceed to hide the wine from those who would steal it from me. So much is this nice, fancy, comfortable but greedy life we live, eh. But the reality of years, just like the reality of the Karl Marx’s globalization complot, have caught up to me. (Am I alone?) That’s right. It’s no longer worth making the 1000+ kilometer drive to buy wine. The reality of move-over-rover economies has reached the regular folk of the once rich working west.

So… why did Jesus turn water to wine? Could it be because wine has always been too expensive? Hey! I might have just solved a mystery.

The thing is, as a failed artist, I can see through most human trickery as though it were both sides of my crystalline, mystic, immaculately conceived hand. I know that most of you (puppets) can’t see much – and I forgive you for that. But the time has finally arrived to remind you of your responsibilities as shitters and eaters. If failed artists like me can’t get to the wine or our other procrastinating habits – and we have to resort back to the gun oil – and the things it oils – then history is bound to repeat itself. Do you need to be reminded of the last failed artist that couldn’t afford (regularly) a drink?

What is Globalization anyway?

Ultimately the whole Globalization thing, no matter what the status quo tries to tell you, i.e. Wikipedia, is about redistribution. What’s being redistributed is probably a better question to ask. Ironically, the East Europeans, particularly Russians that I’ve met, were the first ones that introduced me to the word globalization. They used it to describe how the Soviet government was hanging on to Stalinism even as all their satellites were failing and/or trying to exit their union. But there no sense in clogging to many minds. It’s hard to see things that you can or should – with much less effort – avoid, eh?

Globalization – Wine = prolific literary violence. I think.

Moving beyond the fact that a bottle of Brunello purchased at the vineyard, or a bottle of Chianti Classico Reserve purchased at a local store in Northern Italy, rose ca. five Euros each year that I drove to Tuscany after 2003. Seriously. Inflation is something that can be countered. The real problem is this: Stalin-Soviet style redistribution under the mantle of economic changes that, according to Bill Clinton, cannot be reversed. I mean, come on, where and what is whatever being redistributed? Btw, the Spanish make a great alternative wine in their Rioja Reserve but after going their twice I can already tell that it’s gonna be two expensive real soon.

The joke about wine is that those who actually go to expensive restaurants and pay outrageous amounts for a bottle of wine deserve what they get. Which basically amounts to a show. The problem with great wine is that the good stuff is kept for the inner circles or the privileged buyers. Would you, if you had a standardized kind of demand for your product, turn out the best of what you can make to everyone? Of course not. We’re talking human free-will here. We’re talking Stalin Mafia here.

Enter the nouveau riche and the creation of “markets” (that were obviously not there previously).

How can Tuscany wine makers meet the crazed demand springing out of all this Globalized redistribution? In the article that I link to above, they say that the largest taker of Brunello wines are the Americans. That may be so – I’ve ran into quite a few during my stays in Tuscany. But I think the Italians see another wave of purchasers on the horizon and they (Italians) have to get their shit together to prepare for it. The great thing about wine producers is, in this new redistributed world, the consumer is no longer a participant in the scheme – as it used to be when Supply & Demand ruled and Keynes wasn’t necessarily evil. Today it’s all about purchasing power alone – which is interdependent of your geographic position. In other words, there is more to Globalization than Naomi Klein can shake a stick at and my guess is it has something to do with the chronic masturbation suffered by lonely careerists that have to travel… much.

Right. So what can inheritance rich wineries do to get richer and not be so embarrassed by the ones they leave behind?

Think tricks anew

If you think that the recent scandal in Tuscany is about wineries cheating on their bottles of wine then you might want to reconsider. Get this: the wine scandal currently in northern Italy is NOT about wine makers manipulating regulated wine in order to make a buck; nor is it about a supply or quality problem; then there’s the idea that some of the wineries had/have to cheat because, well, they had a bad year. (DOCG Brunello can’t be sold unless it’s been aged at least four years. There ain’t no such thing as just-in-time here.) This is an expensive wine to make. But that’s not the problem. The fact is, Tuscany is as great an example as any of Globalization finally catching up to the old money of the west. Yeah, you Euro baby-boomers, Globalizers are starting to eat their own.

The economic ticks & tricks over the past thirty or so years have been basically about ridding the market from the burdens of concepts such as Supply & Demand. A great example of this is the dot-com fiasco. Or did ”demand” for technology just decide to go away? Another is the current energy problem. Or does someone out there have definitive, empiracal evidence that this earth does not have the capacity to meet human energy demands?

At the least, we have a lot of things to both worry about and tap ourselves on the shoulder over. But should that cause a crisis in one of the best and productive wine regions there is? Would things be like they are these days if there was no demise of the Soviet Empire? Coincidentally, how ’bout our new & improved notion of fear?

Watchoutforthe… TERRORISTS!!!

If you ask me – and I don’t recommend you do. The question here about the recent Brunello scandal is easy: How do those who were rich before Globalization maintain their riches now that the shit is starting to hit the fan?

For the winery business in Europe – the answer is easy. Obviously you can’t readily burn down your vineyards (to wipe out debts and collect insurance) and you can’t just buy up all that ”nationalized” grape soil and move it to Indochina. Trust me when I say: a good glass of red wine is far from a Nike shoe. Remember, there’s no such thing as a free market anymore – there’s just people who are freer than others. The key to winning in the new Globalized market for players that can’t move out of their cost-problems is to raise prices. But raising prices is VERY bad for business. (Unfortunately that is one of the things Globalization has’t been able to get rid of.)

Nouveau Riche vs. Old Euro Money

How do you manage business when you have to drastically raise prices to take advantage of the nouveau riche? As the/your western (old) buyers start gettin’ rude regarding your un-justifiable prices and you shove the fact that their money ain’t as good as other money into their faces- you take in the moment. You breath deeply. You quickly realize that you have become a microcosm of Globalization. A good feeling, indeed. If it works for entire economies, and geo-political regions, why can’t it work for Guido, the killer wine maker in northern Italy?

Well, the Tuscan wineries have figured out a way to get around the PR aspect of raising prices. First, you create a scandal that exposes cheating. In turn you create sympathy because it makes consumers think their suppliers really do have supply problems. Such a scandal will also expose players and there will plenty of reason to cry foul. The market then starts to correct itself – in the form of government agency/agencies getting rid of the cheaters (players). (Yeah, right, in Italy.) And then there’s the subtext of the drama: It’s time for the wine industry to take care of its own – and anyone don’t like it… then let them eat cake!

Yes. I am obsessed withe Maria Antoinette and dream of her becoming Vito Corleone.

At the least, the scandal in Tuscany is not about juicing up bottles of fancy wine and breaking the rules regarding what goes into a bottle of Chianti. It’s about finding a way to drastically raise prises over or during the shortest economic cycles in history.

Winny Wine Maker That Inherits: I no make good money anymore!

Person He Is Trying To Impress To Fuck: But I want diamond first.

Winny Wine Maker That Inherits: We had too much rain (this/that) year.

Person He Is Trying To Impress To Fuck: To much rain? Change the weather – my Italian Stallion!

I will cherish the remaining bottles of Brunello I have in my cellar. And I will enjoy them when/if I have to drink them in a drastic moment when Europe once again falls into the rut of self-annhilation – from a Styrofoam cup.

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Rant on.

-tgs-