From the “just think about it” department…
Dear Mr. Ferragamo,
I know you wield power over a huge corporation and family in Italy. I know you live the life many of us can only dream of. But I have to tell you a couple of things. Or, at the very least, I have to get them off my chest.
It has been my practice, over the last generation or so, to give solid advice about the American market, in regards to Italian wine, to Italian wine makers and marketers. And it has also been my experience that seldom, if ever, do those to whom I give advice take it. I imagine it doesn’t sound right to them. Or it isn’t their idea. Or it simply isn’t the way they do things in Italy.
But we are not in Italy trying to sell your wines. We are in A.m.e.r.i.c.a. And you want to be here, yes? So let me respectfully share a few generic ideas, and ones that apply to your wines as well, Mr. Ferragamo.
First, if you have a famous mark, or brand, as we call it here, that ties in with your wine, why not let the American people know about your related companies? Maybe it didn’t work for Mr. Lamborghini's wine. But Mr. Ferragamo, people are dying to know about your wine. They are so likeable. It doesn’t really carry much weight with the shoppers in Neiman-Marcus that James Suckling lives at your wine estate in Tuscany, Il Borro, and quite possibly enjoys your wines with his now-famous Supertuscan burgers. He cannot help you any more than he already has.
And to be one beautiful estate in Tuscany, well, I’m sorry but that is a story that is repeated by wine marketers from Tuscany often. I cannot tell you how many beautiful estates there are in Tuscany with a wine. So that alone will not suffice to build your brand.
The wine? How is it? I like it. It has style. It is identifiable. Your Chardonnay is gorgeous. But make no mistake, these will be considered modern wines. There is oak and fruit and flavor. Lots of flavor. Don’t worry. There are probably more who like a wine like that than those who hold hands in a circle under a full moon singing the Kumbaya and praising all things natural. The hairy armpit crew. Hey, no complaints about their habits – I lived in California for 30 years - I get it. But they are in the minority and often, but not always, those folks don’t have the money to shell out for wines in your category. So, they are not a target. Hence their criticisms aren’t relative in this case. Not that they don’t carry weight in some very important circles.
Meanwhile, on any given Thursday, go around to a bar in Dallas and see a plethora of big hair blonds who absolutely love Ferragamo clothes and Il Borro wines. They just don’t know it, because they don’t identify the wines with the makers. You have to give them a hint. Maybe something like this:
Is that too crass and distasteful to your sensibilities? Most likely it is, but if I did the perfect example, then it wouldn’t be you. No, I took it out to the edge to give you an extreme idea. Now bring it back to the center and polish it up, make it yours and give us some help here in America.
Your man Franco is traveling and working his tail off for you. We love him. But give the man an arm up in this competitive and demanding (in a reverse obtuse kind of way) market.
Don’t hate me- I really want your wines to sparkle and shine in every beautiful woman’s home. And I am sure your man Franco does too, judging from the many phone calls he received when we were working together, - women from India from Sweden, from California, from Minnesota. Yes, the man is doing a great job, the women love him. The women love you. Now let’s show them some love back and help them out with better indentifying your wines with your famous family mark. Thank you.