Yesterday we had an interesting discussion defining the attributes of the perfect wine-industry villain. Here’s what we have so far:
He (it was unanimous that he has to be a “he”) is rich, arrogant, and knows little of the wine business — but that doesn’t stop him from being smug in his assumption that he knows everything. His wealth is somehow shady: either highly leveraged or backed by dark forces like the Russian Mafia. He is shameless self-promoter who hires publicists to tout his ostentatious charitable acts in an attempt to offset his obvious evil. He arrives in Napa Valley, announces he’s there to save the wine business, and starts buying-up financially troubled artisan wineries. He says he’s doing it to preserve them but moves quickly to a mass-produced business model that destroys the unique value of the properties. His name is Foster Constellation-Diageo III, but he refers to himself in the third-person as “The Entrepreneur” — or some other self-aggrandizing and self-generated nickname. And he has terrible, important hair. The prototype for this character is Donald Trump.
It became clear, over the course of the discussion, that our bad guy is defined not just by his own attributes, but by the sycophantic entourage he drags along with him. What little wine credibility he has he gets from his pet consultant, a Belgian poseur who wants everyone to think he’s French.
Which is today’s project: we need to better define the consultant. I’ll start:
He left his cushy job at an underperforming, classified Borceaux winery after having an affair with the owner’s 15-year old daughter.
Go to it, campers.