I had promised myself I would finish this article on Sunday because I am currently studying for my History of Food and Wine exam (wish me luck, I have the exam on 14 January!), however after writing this article "Women of wine and criticism: you really broke my ... breadsticks!"and having witnessed an unexpected tam tam on social networks, I must add something more. For me, the situation has gotten out of hand for everyone. You are immolating Ziliani on the altar of a feminism of which I am honestly ashamed. And I am ashamed as a woman. Never, and I emphasise never, especially with the quarrels - even heated ones - of the past, would I have thought of writing an article that someone might read as a defence of Franco Ziliani. Moreover, this reflection falls at the right time because no more than ten days ago I had an animated discussion with my husband Francesco on the woman's situation and in detail on the terrible, and again embarrassing, pink quotas.

Then, that Franco Ziliani wrote a provocative and at times 'sad' article using expressions he could have avoided you already know that I think so. And he knows that I think so too. I am also sorry because the object of the criticism - correct and legitimate because it was really a supercazzola that Laura Donadoni fired - has faded into the background. And if someone objected to me that one cannot assess a person's competence from a single argument, I reply that A) if I don't know about an argument, I'll shut up to make a better impression and B) the role of sugar in wine is something fundamental, one of those things that just has to be known. Nobody knows everything, the world of wine is really wide. We all have to learn, and we all learn a little more with each passing day. However, it is one thing not to know a grape variety, a wine or a producer... and quite another not to know how winemaking and wine work.

"If she really is, as people in a comic mood call her, the 'Italian wine ambassador', how can we think that Italian wine has any future, if not a tragic one?"

From the article by Franco Ziliani Other than Maroni and Gardini, the real imagineer of wine is the Italian wine girl!

There, the 'as people in a comical mood call it' part is wrong and disparaging to me. But that a journalist has doubts about the future of Italian wine if a person who is called 'Ambassador of Italian wine in the world' does not know how sugar works in wine and in the winemaking process is more than legitimate for me.

Franco Ziliani's blog is one of the most read wine blogs in Italy. So, as I have already written, Franco for me should use more 'gallant' and less polemical tones, and not only when addressing a woman but when addressing everyone he does not agree with. Not only women, but also men must be protected. At this point, however, I return to the point I was making about pasta, about supply and demand: if Franco Ziliani's blog is one of the most read, it means that people like it. Exactly like Barilla pasta or tits on Instagram. So for me, whoever makes numbers is right. Franco Ziliani makes numbers by being controversial. In Italy people like controversy or TV wouldn't be full of rubbish programmes with screaming celebrities. At least in Ziliani's blog there is also interesting content, between one cynical sarcasm and another, something I rarely find on TV... and maybe that's why I limit myself to watching movies on Netflix. Likewise the Wine Influencers who make numbers by showing inches of skin. Supply and demand where everyone is right. The end.

We are in an era where those with the power of numbers - better still combined with the possession of sensitive data - commands the world. For those who still had a doubt, Facebook has proved itself superior to the President of the United States of America by blocking Trump's profile until the newly elected President Biden takes office. And does anyone still want to stand here philosophising about what is right and what is wrong? He who makes numbers holds the power. He who holds the power is right, even if we don't agree or don't like it. And it's time we all got it into our heads.

Franco Ziliani is wrong, and very wrong too, when - disregarding the weight a word of his can have even for the multiplicity of people who read it - he destroys the reputation of a person or a company. And I am not referring so much to this specific case. I, with respect for wineries that are made up of people, if I receive a bad wine I simply ignore it. I don't like to consider my blog a space where I can give vent to my basest instincts of destruction. And trust me, they come to me from time to time. Behind a wine is the work of at least one family, sometimes several families, sometimes many families. Intelligence is also demonstrated by respecting this work, by returning to planet Earth where our expert opinion is not the Word of God. Even though I am an atheist, we understand each other. What I don't like may appeal to a less experienced consumer who - consequently - will be the right target of that company. Yesterday I tasted a series of wines, one of which was embarrassing to say the least. You'll never get the name out of me.

From here, however, to calling Franco Ziliani's article violence against women is a lot of wine in the glasses! I have been reading Franco Ziliani's blog since I have been a wine blogger - that is, since 2014 - and I can assure you that he shoots down women and men equally, so certainly not sexist. At most he sins of presumption when he a priori considers someone younger than him to be less prepared. Here, this about Franco honestly makes me angry: my experience is not made up of the years I have - and they are already 35 - but from what I have studied and drunk. Just to keep it simple for the hard-of-hearing: would you rather have your heart operated on by a 65-year-old general practitioner or a 35-year-old heart surgeon? Being over 60 and having 30 years or more experience in any field is not in itself a guarantee of competence. The guarantee of competence is that the person is prepared and keeps up to date. Then of course, thirty years or more of experience - if spent well - makes that person particularly well prepared. However, we must never judge a priori, on anything. Also because culture is full of nuances and in this diversity lies its beauty. The nuances are our interests, our stimuli, and these create a different approach and a different sensitivity to things. Franco Ziliani should not 'wage war' on young people, but at most help them grow as a 'father' would. Italy is already a country that protects the old and kills the young, where I have to work to support 90-year-olds who have been a burden on the state for more than 50 years thanks to the Baby Pensions. And forgive me for being politically incorrect in saying this, but this pisses me off not so much, so much. All that's missing is that journalists of the old guard consider us young people to be jerks a priori. Cretins have no age. Just like incompetents.

In recent days, however, I have seen much heavier criticism of Ziliani than the one he levelled at Laura Donadoni. I even read that he would get his two minutes of fame thanks to her. Now let's not exaggerate, at most it's her riding the wave for publicity. And let it be clear that for me Laura does very well (I would have done the same thing): as I have already said publicity is never enough.

"and whose recent photos make me think that she has changed profoundly from the very charming lady she once was as she has become skinny as hell (has she gone vegan?)"

From the article by Franco Ziliani Other than Maroni and Gardini, the real imagineer of wine is the Italian wine girl!

We all agree that this comment on Laura's appearance is misplaced. I try to address the same words to myself. In fact, it's like someone writing about me being less charming than I used to be because I was overweight. Oh my, you don't say! I think it's true, no wonder I went on a diet! That I am overweight and Laura very thin is a fact, I think we both know that. No need to write it down or tell us. However to call it an act of sexism, cyber bullying and violence against women sorry, but it pisses me off.

I can only say: blessed are you who do not know what psychological or physical violence looks like. I have had three experiences in my life of psychological violence that are fortunately now part of my past. The worst was with my last ex, because it lasted in the days and months just after the death of my beloved father. The period of my life when I was at my most fragile. Toxic people always creep in when we are at our weakest and sometimes getting out of it is really very hard because we have now entered the spiral of devaluation. We have convinced ourselves that we are not worth much and deserve less.

Today I am the same as before, in fact if I may say so I have perhaps even more self-esteem than before. My salvation was my husband Francesco, who reminded me what it means to feel loved and appreciated after a violent man who demolished me for 9 months, constantly making me feel like shit physically, at work, and in terms of future prospects. It goes without saying that he is really ugly, inside and out, and in normal times - i.e. away from my father's illness - I would never have given him a glance.

So Excuse me for not accepting that one too many sentences written on a blog, however wrong they may be, should be defined as psychological violence.Psychological violence is a set of acts, words or moral abuse, threats and intimidation used as a means of coercion and oppression to force others to act against their will'.. Ziliani did not threaten Laura Donadoni or force her to do anything against her will. 

You want to bring up gender-based violence? It is called violence against women:

'Any act of gender-based violence that causes or is likely to cause physical, sexual or psychological harm, including threats of violence, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of personal liberty, whether in public or private life'.

From the 'Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women' approved by the UN in 1993

Calling the 'Ziliani-Donadoni case' a case of violence against women is a very serious thing because it lowers the perceived seriousness of violence against women, the real one.

Dear women, forgive me for saying that it is clear to me from what I have read that the vast majority of you do not know what violence against women is. This pleases me greatly: I wish you to remain ignorant. However, allow me to give you a short list that may enlighten you or remind you of what violence against women is.

There is violence against women in the domestic environment exercised through threats, physical or psychological abuse, beatings, sexual abuse, control of money, prohibition of employment, prohibition of assets, honour killings, and uxoricides of passion or premeditated. And I don't want to talk about incest, especially of minor daughters whose mothers are forced to be secret accomplices.

There is violence against women in the working environment exercised through sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual blackmail and rape. So-called 'corrective rapes' are still practised against lesbians.

Sex slavery, forced marriages, forced prostitution, trafficking and ethnic rape exist on women in the social environment. And I do not want to talk about female genital mutilation and other barbaric practices.

In addition to the feminicide that we all know about, I would also not want you to forget the systemic feminicide that occurs for example in India and China. This takes the form of selective abortion: women are induced to bear only male children because they are more desired and socially accepted. We are talking about 117 million girls killed for the one-child policy until 2015 (although in some rural areas the problem is still present now) before or after birth. We are talking about 23 million selective abortions of which about 12 million in China. Of women victims or executioners with their hearts torn out because of a stupid tradition.

Sorry to stretch myself by saying that one estimate says that there are about 40 million missing women in China. Today's 'missing women' are the girls who were never born between the 1980s and 1990s, girls killed immediately after birth, or those abandoned in the first months of life. The result? It is estimated that by 2030, 25% of China's 30-year-olds will never find a woman to marry. And this is how the trafficking of women from poor Myanmar increases, where underage girls are sold for between $3,000 and $13,000.

Without going to the other side of the world, thousands of women in Italy suffer physical or psychological violence every year. Women still struggle to make a career in the workplace because of motherhood. Gender equality in 2021 does not yet exist, but neither pink quotas nor unwarranted victimisation will solve this great scourge of humanity.

I was among the first to reply to Franco Ziliani telling him to stop with certain useless and inappropriate jokes. Four days later, after all the crap I have read on social networks, I would like to say that I dissociate myself from the definition of violence against women that was given to what happened. If before it was Franco who threw a fair point into the pot with his ungallant ways (I would say more venomous and full of unnecessary sarcasm), now it is you wine women who have thrown my reply and what happened to Laura into the pot. Dear wine women: rather respond to Franco with your arguments by showing that he has broken everyone's breadsticks with his poisonous pen.

From the heart, woman to woman, I ask you instead to stop talking about violence. If you want to - like me - fight against violence against women start by giving things their right name and, above all, their right weight.

Cheers 🍷


P.S. Producer Favaro's comment remains sexist and unspeakable.

P.P.S. You can scroll down the page to leave a comment, I'd love you to write here what you think!


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