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Somebody to Hate: Building the Perfect Bad (Wine) Guy

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.


23 Comments

  • Steve McIntosh

    …and after a hasty departure from the Medoc, under the cover of darkness he arrived in Umbria where he spends 3 months storming through cellars (sunglasses on the whole time) shouting the same thing over and over, even though the wines never meet his lips:

    “Micro-oxygenation! You Must micro-oxygenate, you fools!”

  • Steve McIntosh

    Oh, and the consultant has tiny, beady eyes, thinning dark hair slicked back, and a very prominent shnoz – Pinocchio style.

  • Wine Curmudgeon

    He has also worked harvests in Australia and Napa, where he wandered through the vineyards. His battlecry: “More brix, more brix. … 32 is not enough!”

  • Tom Johnson

    I’m not sure about the beady eyes thing. If he’s going to appeal to Foster Constellation-Diageo III, doesn’t he have to be vacuously handsome? Or maybe he should be like that guy who’s the sidekick on “The Apprentice” — older, avuncular, dishwasher-safe.

  • Steve McIntosh

    I don’t know, Tom…Most megalomaniacs have deep insecurity issues and thus don’t surround themselves with anyone who might look good by comparison. I think this consultant is as morally bankrupt as his boss and as uniquely conniving as his short leash will allow. He’s also got the abused puppy thing going on when FCDIII is around. Otherwise, he’s a Napoleonic tyrant.

  • Tom Johnson

    OK, I’ll buy that.

    But every woman he associates with is drop dead gorgeous. Total eye candy.

    Also cruel and self-absorbed.

  • Thomas Pellechia

    He pulls ratings numbers out of thin air and he also uses other people’s money to buy wine–preferably, the money of the eye candy protege of the moment.

  • Steve McIntosh

    More diabolical genius. Gerard Depardieu could play the consultant in the movie, swearing a bloody streak while screaming ratings and critique. His stable of proteges would be a constant rotation of pouty, leggy, and inexplicably brilliant interns…Amber Heard, Blake Lively, Milla Jovovich. No way is the movie going to be PG-13.

    (Yeah, I don’t know who any of those girls are, either. I had to look them up on Maxim.)

  • Tom Johnson

    I like the consultant mooching off the gold diggers.

    I think he needs an identifying prop of some sort. Something that says both “I am a care-free rake” and “I have no idea what’s going on around me.”

    Perhaps a hat with a feather in it?

  • Tom Johnson

    Maybe he’s afraid of spiders.

  • John Kelly

    He ONLY tastes with James Suckling. He and Hardy Rodenstock go WAY back. When drunk – which is often – he claims loudly that he taught Michel Rolland and Philippe Melka everything they know.

  • Tom Johnson

    There’s gold in the Hardy Rodenstock relationship. Sometimes he plays it up; sometimes he denies it. When he’s drunk — which is often — he talks about how Hardy got screwed.

    “Christie’s sold him out. One customer doesn’t know what thee fuck he’s buying and Hardy…pain grillé. Peegs.”

  • Steve McIntosh

    Awesome! The Suckling/Rodenstock associations are perfect. As for a prop, a riding cane would be too obvious. Maybe his boss carries one. But the consultant, he has an garish tastevin he wears around his neck.

  • Tom Johnson

    His father collaborated with the Nazis, and every time Foster Constellation-Diageo III refers to the consultant as “my collaborator,” the consultant gets visibly ill. FCGIII knows that, and does it deliberately.

  • Thomas Pellechia

    And only in passing does he mention how he invented storage in oak barrels, that is, only when someone is passing by.

    His other inventions include the aerator pour, the vacu-vin, and a bottle shaped like a dickhead.

  • Wine Curmudgeon

    I’m telling you, this can turn into an April Fool’s tradition.

    Does FCD III — and maybe that’s how he should refer to himself — have a bunch of ex-wives? Does he have an attorney who travels with him?

  • John Kelly

    We’re not getting any work done here in the shop just now – laughing too hard.

  • Tom Johnson

    He uses his claim to have invented storage in oak in bars, to impress Millennial hotties who don’t know any better.

    (You had to know I’d get a Millennial dig in somewhere, didn’t you?)

  • Tom Johnson

    OK, I’m re-reading this and I got something wrong. He mooches of the hot gold diggers, but when it comes to picking up women in bars, he ends up with middle-aged, thrice-divorced drunks who don’t have enough sense to know he didn’t invent barrel-aging.

    This guy is totally used up. He could never get a Millennial hottie.

  • John Kelly

    “He mooches of the hot gold diggers, but when it comes to picking up women in bars, he ends up with middle-aged, thrice-divorced drunks who don’t have enough sense to know he didn’t invent barrel-aging. ”

    You mean he’s Tiger Woods? [oh snap!]

  • Thomas Pellechia

    Tiger Woods–that fits with the oak claim…

    In fact, this guy picks up thrice-divorced drunken ladies (with lots of money) just so they can’t discover his lack of “woody.”

  • Steve McIntosh

    Millenial hotties don’t give a shit about oak and these hotties don’t even know what barrel-aging is. The only reason they are hangers-on with this wreck of a Belgian is because FCD3′s marketing machine has pumped him up to be the second coming of Andre Tchelistcheff.

    If we make the hotties interns, then that opens up a whole new cast of middle-aged, thrice-divorced characters for his lust interests. Let’s see…Kirsty Alley is a shoe-in for one.