Today’s post is one in my series called Monday Musings. Today I am musing about reputations, branding and the backstory behind a wine hence the photo of Rodin’s scuplture “The Thinker.” The specific topic is writing about wines from producers whose politics you disagree with or abhor. In the past, this topic has come up when there is a backlash against producers who make inflammatory comments on social media or in other places. I never really weighed in on it before because I wasn’t tasting those specific wines. Yet I did begin to feel queasy when I discovered the closely aligned past of a producer I love with the Nazi regime. That backstory is not unique. Many European wineries obviously had congress with Fascist regimes that ran Italy, France and Germany during World War II, or Spain under Franco, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw the line or to draw one at all.
I guess it’s somewhat like going to see a Harvey Weinstein movie, or frankly one by Woody Allen after he was accused of misdeeds to his young daughter. Personally, I never felt the same way about Woody Allen but even in my own family we are woefully divided on this topic. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of this lately because so much of what is now in the news is about partisan leanings and corporations are now being vilified or celebrated for taking a stand or not taking one. Does one divest from certain companies that own stock in big arms manufacturers if one is for smarter gun laws? Change your 529 plans for children’s education?
I used to think I knew exactly where I fell in terms of this topic. Kind of like tasting wines that I don’t like. Rather than write a negative review, I just don’t write about them. It’s a very complicated topic I think and often people say the work or the wine should speak for itself. Yet at a tasting the other day I was talking to an importer I knew who said, isn’t it all about the backstory these days. I responded it’s about what is in the glass, but perhaps he is right as well. The backstory and therefore the thoughts and actions of any of the players is fundamental. I know where I stand on parts of this but not on all of it. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on it as well.