This morning I pulled into a parking lot in Siena next to a brand new Ferrari, price-tag $250,000. I had a 2006 Golf ready to trade in, I joked with the parking attendant, who immediately blurted out whose car it was: the owner—I’ll call him “J”–of a big, brand-name Tuscan winery. Maybe I’m jealous (my winery breaks even, as long as my partner in the venture and I work full-time jobs to cover its costs and our families lend us money now and then). Still, I started to imagine what kind of logic had led to a purchase like that. Now, I think I’ve figured it out.
“J”’s Ten reasons winery owners should drive Ferraris:
1. Because we’ve earned it. (Not me, personally, of course. I inherited from Dad, who inherited from Grand-Dad, etc. but, you know, someone in the family must have, at some point, worked.)
2. Because all publicity is good publicity, and driving around abandoned hilltop hamlets in remote areas of Italy in my Ferrari gets me just that. Bound to lead to stronger wine sales—Marketing 101, man.
3. Because I’m a role model. If I drive a Ferrari, the Romanian guys that work in my vineyards (wherever those are) will understand that if they keep at it, one day they’ll be driving Ferraris too. I’m their inspiration, and that, even I find inspiring.
4. Because it’s good for our brand. We want our wines mentioned with the best brands out there, whether they’re cars, hotel chains or private banks. We’re “aligning our value added” with Ferrari, Four Seasons and the Lichtenstein Global Trust. Put our wine on your table and signal that you can afford to pay extra for a name.
5. Because it’s good for farming. Let’s face it, farming has lost its allure. For centuries, all those sharecroppers could think about was getting their hands on a piece of their own land. (Certainly taught them a thing or two quickly!) Thank God for naive foreign retirees, who, claiming to crave a “return to the land,” sink their retirement savings into ill-conceived farming ventures that, as we could have told them, will only turn a profit when we re-instate sharecropping. Someone has to send them subliminal messages defying millennia of proof that tying your prosperity to the weather is a bad idea. Me and my Ferrari do that!
6. Because it’s safer than the quad I bought for moving efficiently around my vast vineyard holdings but actually use for illegal off-roading along forest mushroom trails.
7. Because it’s the best bang the EU’s gonna get for their Common Agricultural Policy buck! (Just kidding. We naturally used the two million from Brussels for research on old clonal varieties just like we said we would.)
8. “What a welcome change from driving the tractor!” Just trying that out to see how it sounds.
9. For my clients. My clients are either men, who, principled journalists, veteran wine importers, three-star restaurant sommeliers or not, would so much rather go for a spin in my Ferrari than taste wine that it’s scary, or women, who, heh-heh, well…actually, that’s more of a personal charm thing, than something having to do with the car.
10. My Ferrari is silver, but Ferraris are usually red, like wine. Get it?