Allegrini 2018

Brunello Cucinelli, guest of honor at “Benvenuto Brunello 2022”, talked about wine, territory, work and the soul

“We must restore both human and economic dignity of the farmers and the workers’ jobs. And not become standardized, otherwise we lose our soul”

Brunello Cucinelli, guest of honor at “Benvenuto Brunello 2022”, in Montalcino, on stage with Fabrizio Bindocci, president of the Brunello Consortium, and Luciano Ferraro, deputy director of the newspaper, “Corriere della Sera”, addressed the audience of Montalcino producers. He told the story of the wine his father made for the family. “It was wine, but I can’t say more than that”, he continued, alluding to the fact that it was not really good, but his father liked it, “and when I had him taste Tignanello he said, “not bad!”, because the wine he made for us, our wine, “symbolized his love for the land”, and for life in “harmony with nature, where rainwater was gathered and rabbits and lambs were pampered and then eaten”. He cited Sant'Agostino and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Bertolt Brecht and Voltaire, as well as his friends in his village, Solomeo. He told jokes in Umbrian dialect and anecdotes about participating at G20, as Prime Minister Draghi had called him to speak to the world’s top leaders about "Humanist Capitalism”. “Before going I ate only bread and water because I was afraid of a colitis attack”, he joked. He also launched into profound and sincere reflections on important issues, like the dignity of work, especially manual work of workers and farmers, to rediscover the human and economic side, and to return to being in harmony with nature. Brunello Cucinelli was unstoppable, like a raging river. The enlightened entrepreneur is one of the most listened to in the world. And, from his hometown, Solomeo, in Umbria, “with the wisdom of the heart more than education, hope and dreams, but not fear”, he has created a company, and cashmere brand, admired the world over. He has conversations with the top management of the biggest companies in the world, from Apple to Mercedes, but never loses contact with his land, where he wanted to start producing oil, wine and fruit. He has never renounced the real meaning of life, made up of an evening of roasted chestnuts and bruschetta with old friends, and jokes, a constant in his life, “because I have always liked them, and because whoever wants to be happy should be, as there is no certainty in the future”, he said, quoting the “Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne" by Lorenzo de’ Medici.
“Your places are fascinating, and the nice thing is that they haven't changed much over time. There are vineyards, wheat fields and woods, in balance with nature. Living in the countryside for me was a beautiful part of my life. We made wine for the family, and it was what it was, but it was beautiful. And I wanted to do it again”, he said, telling about the genesis of his wine, presented a few days ago in Milan, as WineNews has reported. “The Solomeo Valley, where I live, was full of industrial factories. In 2010”, Cucinelli said, “I asked myself what future I wanted to give it. I bought all these almost abandoned factories - 400.000 cubic meters of warehouses, then I called my dad and told him I wanted to tear them down. And he said to me, “What have you done, do you want to be the richest man in the cemetery? Debts are made on Sundays, too; be careful”. But I wanted to make the valley and the surrounding area more lovable, because town centers everywhere are beautiful, while the outskirts are much less. We have planted olive groves, vineyards, orchards, in Renaissance style, as if they were parks. I wanted to make a normal, good wine, so I called my neighbor, Riccardo Cotarella, to help me. I wanted it to represent a culture, like oil, a way of doing things, living, respecting nature, and also working”. Work has always been one of the most important topics for Cucinelli. “The subject of work is immense. It is difficult to go to work and earn 800-1.000 euros a month to hoe in the fields or work in a factory. We must restore both human and economic dignity to these types of jobs. It is also a cultural problem, because we would all like to see other people's children doing these jobs, which is wrong. There are important phenomena to understand about work, like "dormant work". After the Pandemic, many people resigned even though they didn’t have another job. And, there is the situation of those who don’t like their jobs and so are not creative. We must treat people better, with more dignity. If you treat an employee like a thinking person, they will be creative for you. Then, the economic issue; if you earn 1.000 or 1.200 euros a month, life is difficult. We need to change this.
The cost of employees certainly (we have 2.500 direct and 6.000 indirect employees) does not change the company's profit that much. We should concentrate on work for 7 and a half hours, and then live our lives. We need to rebalance our life with our family and children, to rediscover life’s true values”. To those who pointed out to him that many people work in Montalcino, from all over the world, who did not lose their jobs during these challenging years, instead jobs are increasing, as “we have 6.000 employees in an area that counts just over 4.000 inhabitants”, Fabrizio Bindocci, president of the Consortium Brunello said, and Cucinelli replied:“ Montalcino is a different story, that is, it is a wonderful meteor, a brand, like Ferrari. You do not have to change anything, here. Perhaps something could be changed, like doing less at the catering level, but higher quality. In other words, presenting a platter of cold cuts that is so-so, is not good. So, better quality in your restaurants, but there is another big topic to deal with. You, here, and in other villages, like us in Assisi, have to manage often too many people who visit us. We need to manage this flow of humanity, but not standardize things, because otherwise we lose our soul”. These were the thoughts and words offered to the audience, before affixing the tile (WineNews reports here) that Brunello Cucinelli created to celebrate the 2022 harvest, depicting Dionysus, "one of my favorite life Masters", in a sentence that pays tribute to his love for the territory and its wine: “to Brunello di Montalcino, the famous wine that I identify with by name, closer to the wisdom of Dionysus”.

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