Above: Italian wine blogger Alfonso Cevola in a happier time in our now defunct friendship, which dates back to 2007. Here’s a profile of Alfonso I wrote for the Houston Press after he won the Vinitaly International Prize in 2013.
In the spirit of fair and balanced wine blogging, I’d like to share a note from leading Italian wine blogger Alfonso Cevola in response to my June 27 post, “Freedom’s just another word for shitty wine: Houston defiant in the face of corporate distributors.”
Your post last week, claimed three falsehoods:
1) The two large distributors do not control 99% of the market
2) As for heavy taxation on wholesale wine sales –Texas is #43 (along with California) in state wine taxation among the 50 states.
3) RE:The main issue is that it is illegal in Texas to use an outside fulfillment warehouse or delivery trucks – Outside fulfillment is legal as long as the fulfillment company ( and the trucks they are using) have proper TABC permits. And yes, small distributors can (and do) pool deliveries in Texas.
Alfonso is the Italian Wine Director for Glazer’s, previously one of the two biggest wine distributors in Texas. Now, with the completion of the Southern-Glazer’s “mega deal” merger, the company is part of “the U.S. market’s largest wine and spirits distributor by far, distributing more than 150 million cases of wine and spirits annually, employing more than 20,000 people and operating in 44 states plus the District of Columbia, the Caribbean, and Canada. Total revenues are at more than $15 billion” (Shanken News Daily, June 30, 2016).
I don’t entirely agree with Alfonso’s assessment but felt it was important to share it here. I have also updated my June 27 post with an errata corrige.
Sadly and evidently in the wake of my post, Alfonso has decided to rescind his friendship. Last week, in what came as an awful and entirely unexpected sea change, he began blocking my calls and has ignored repeated messages via text, email, and Facebook. Yesterday, he finally responded with the above.
I just can’t wrap my mind around how a blog post — a single friggin’ blog post — means more to him than years of friendship, camaraderie, and solidarity.
Tracie P and I are both heartbroken over it. But he’s made it clear that there is no room for dialog, forgiveness, or healing.
Alfonso, is it really worth throwing our friendship away because we disagree about something? Can’t friends disagree about something and still be friends? Do my views have to align seamlessly with yours so that Tracie and I can enjoy your friendship? Apparently they do. We will miss you sorely. We wish you well.