“WHITE WOMEN: Have you ever had to tell your kids people may HATE them because of their skin color?” Guest post by Kim Edwards Williams. #CareOutLoud

“This is why we have to be explicit in saying that black lives matter!” wrote my wife Tracie on our Facebooks yesterday. Her note accompanied her repost of an op-ed that appeared in yesterday’s Washington Post, “Why is Georgia only now seeking justic for Ahmaud Arbery? We know the terrible answers.”

“I cannot imagine the terror he felt,” Tracie wrote, “when he realized he was being stalked by two white men with guns. This case has been buried and the buck has been passed until now, two months later…”

The post elicited a number of comments, including the following by our friend Kim Edwards Williams, who lives here in Houston. I reached out to Kim and asked her if I could share it here. She graciously agreed.

As Kim writes below, we need to share it. Please do.

G-d bless Mr. Arbery and his loved ones. G-d bless all black sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers. How is it possible that something like this can still happen in America in 2020? The answer lies in our moral negligence, in our ethical failure — as Kim writes — to #CareOutLoud.

Tracie, thank you for always speaking out. I appreciate you and your efforts.

This post is very important and powerful coming from YOU, but we need it to be on the timelines, IG posts, and Twitter OF ALL White women that say they ridin.

I’ve been sad, upset, crying (now), mad AF all in the last 5 hours. He was jogging y’all.

WHITE WOMEN: Have you ever had to tell your kids people may HATE them because of their skin color?

When your husband runs to the grocery store do you worry if he’s coming back?

When your family get pulled over by the cops have you or your kids ever have to witness their dad physically scared?

Have you ever had to explain to your silly, fun, kind loving, 13 year old son that his height and skin color is now very threatening to some people and teach him how to move through life. All while making sure that same son has the confidence to push pass all this bullshit, ugly crap to see his power?

They not listening to us, nor do they give a shit, but they will listen to y’all.

White women need a challenge to “care out loud for black lives”.

It’s a draining existence having to manage and kinda sorta protect the lives of our family members and this is DAILY mental work.

WOOOOOOAH……..vomit! I’m done let me go manage all my other responsibilities now.✌🏾

#IfYouMadPostIt
#CareOutLoud

Kim Edwards Williams
Houston, Texas
May 7, 2020

Image adapted from a photo by Johnny Silvercloud (Flickr Creative Commons).

Rethinking the OG Super Tuscans with Clara Gentili of Le Pupille live today at 11 a.m. CST on the @EthicaWines Instagram

Over my years of working in Italian wine, it’s become apparent that there are two questions posed more frequently than any other.

The first is what’s your favorite wine? My standard answer is shared by most of my fellow wine educators: it depends on what I’m eating, where I’m eating it and whom I’m eating it with.

The second is what’s a Super Tuscan? When asked to reflect on this now decades-old conundrum, my ready reply is I can’t tell you what a Super Tuscan is but I know one when I taste it.

Looking back to the early years of the Italian wine renaissance, it’s now clear (at least to me) that when we keepers of the faith railed against the Super Tuscan trend, our issue wasn’t as much with the “aia” wines as it was with the media who championed them.

Part of the problem was that many of us didn’t have the financial means to spend proper time with the wines. For many, the only opportunity to taste them was at walk-around events where we were served just a few ounces. Who could afford to go out to dinner and order a bottle of 1988 Sassicaia back then (or now)? But it was also exacerbated by said writers’ arrogance and, in many cases, their ignorance of a broader picture of Italian wine. Just because you read Italo Calvino in college doesn’t mean that Cesare Pavese wasn’t one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.

One of the things that I’m eager to discuss today on my live Instagram story with Clara Gentili of Fattoria Le Pupille (@EthicaWines today at 11 a.m. CST/12 p.m. EST) is the legacy of the OG Super Tuscans. The ones, like her family’s, that have been around since before the “aia” era. The ones, like her family’s, grown on hillsides. The ones, like her family’s, that aim for elegance and balance, with acidity that will help the wine to age gracefully and make it food friendly at the dinner table. The ones, like her family’s, that taste of the Tuscan garigue even though they are made with international grape varieties.

I hope you can join us.

Webinar May 12: “Open for Business: The Italian Food and Wine Supply Chain.”

Above: Jimmy’s Food Store in Dallas, an Italian specialty shop. Photo taken in late February.

As businesses in Italy begin to reopen this week, Italian food and wine professionals are looking for new ways to connect with buyers across the U.S. With travel restrictions still in place and consumer confidence low, the challenges of doing business here are greater than ever.

In keeping with its mission to foster business ties between the two countries, the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce has asked me to moderate a series of webinars with leading importers, distributors, and buyers from across the nation.

The first one is scheduled for Tuesday of next week at 10 a.m. EST and it’s open to all (you don’t have to be a chamber member to participate).

I’ll be talking to two east coast importers and a business development specialist from the south (see their bios below).

I’m particularly excited to hear what my good friend Niccolo Lorimer has to say. He’s a top logistics expert and is specialized in clearing wine for trade events, a really interesting (and sweet) guy who always has compelling insights to share.

Please use the link below to register. And please feel free to share. All are welcome.

NEW WEBINAR SERIES: Challenges and Opportunities in the Post-Pandemic Era

A webinar series on how to navigate the challenges and opportunities of the After COVID-19 Era, featuring top food and wine importers, distributors, and buyers from across the U.S.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

EPISODE 1: “Open for Business: The Italian Food and Wine Supply Chain.”

Tuesday, May 12
10 a.m. EST / 4 p.m. CET

With veteran Italian food importer Cecilia Ercolino, global strategist and business development expert Denise Henderson Thomas, and logistics, customs, and importing expert Niccolo Lorimer.
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Texas restaurants reopen today and it scares me to hell.

Image via Adobe Stock.

“Let me just say that it is my hope that with the measures that are being put in place that our numbers will not spike… That is my hope.”

Those are the words of our city’s mayor, Sylvester Turner, speaking at a news conference Monday, April 27 following Texas governor Greg Abbott’s announcement that the state would “reopen” today, May 1.

Mayor Turner and Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo (our city manager) had planned to keep Houston’s “Stay Home/Work Safe” order in place and they had just announced that masks would be mandatory when Abbott decided to supersede all local measures to combat the spread of the deadly virus.

It was the latest volley in Abbott’s ongoing war on local authority in our state. Since coming into office, he has lobbied assiduously to punish cities like Houston and Austin for their status as sanctuary cities and for their progressive policies on reproductive rights.

This week, he took it a step further: now he’s playing with life and death.

In just a few hours, scores of restaurants across Houston will begin opening their doors for “dine-in” service. Abbott has ordered that they can only operate at 25 percent capacity. But beyond that, he’s given no guidance on how restaurateurs can keep their staff and customers safe and how they can curb COVID-19’s spread.

Some in our city are looking to Georgia’s example. The state’s governor, Brian Kemp, issued these guidelines for reopening restaurants last week (Georgia’s restaurants were allowed to reopen on Monday).

But with no official norms or regulations in place, Houston’s restaurant managers are on their own in terms of how they operate and what safety measures they adopt.*

In other words, it’s the wild west when it comes to culinary hygiene. Concerned (however courageous) restaurant-goers have no way of knowing with confidence what safety protocols restaurants owners have put into place, if any.

I understand the economic logic behind reopening. And I recognize that Texas has “flattened the curve.” But on the same day that “Texas reports most deaths in a day from COVID-19” (a story that appears on the landing page of the Houston Chronicle this morning), wouldn’t it be prudent to provide businesses like restaurants — where proper hygiene is always essential for safety — with more robust guidance?

Just like the families of countless wine professionals across our state, ours is struggling to make ends meet in the time of the pandemic. It’s my hope that we’ll all be able to get back to work as soon as possible. But without the proper guidance, Abbot’s order is a genuine gastronomic “go to Hell” to Houston and Austin where local authorities have fought to keep restrictions in place.

Texas reopens today and I am scared as hell for dishwashers, prep cooks, line cooks, waitstaff, sommeliers, and the customers they will serve.

This isn’t political. It’s just common sense.

I encourage you to watch Mayor Turner’s news conference. His remarks moved me to tears when I watched them in real time. He and Judge Hidalgo are true American heroes.

*”‘Reopened services’ shall consist of the following,” wrote Abbott in his decree, listing which businesses could reopen today, including dining establishments: “Dine-in restaurant services, for restaurants that operate at up to 25 percent of the total listed occupancy of the restaurant…”

He specifies that the order only applies to restaurants “that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages” and he also prohibits valet parking except for “except for vehicles with placards or plates for disabled parking.”

But there is no mention of masks, gloves, hand-washing, or testing, for example.

In all fairness to our heartless governor, he does offer an overarching recommendation that reopened businesses “should implement social distancing… and practice good hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and sanitation.” But it’s just advice, not an order. “Individuals are encouraged to wear appropriate face coverings,” he writes, “but no jurisdiction can impose a civil or criminal penalty for failure to wear a face covering.”