Today is a good day. Y’all get to watch me weave this post together.
A little event occurred this week. It was not lost on the Wine Dog. The Burgermeister bought Chalk Hill Winery. Supposedly he plans to live in the palacial main house. I suppose the good news is to those in Whitefish, Montana, who, if you’re reading the comments sections are a little over his act. Of course, the title insurance business is beyond over his act, but the wine business doesn’t know what they’re in for yet. I’ve sounded the alarm but it’s fallen on deaf ears. Let this be the “I told you so” post. He is Satan. He is going to ruin the wine industry. Mark my words. Consider yourselves informed.
What they should say is that she’s so bad, she isn’t even good at being bad. I certainly respect her for her battle with breast cancer, but her battle was fought with the best Doctor’s money can buy. Most women in this country would be just as well off trading a goat for medical services. It certainly taints the results. I haven’t been able to find the total number of layoffs from FNF in the last four years and of course we can’t count all the poor schmucks who are still there making 40% less than they were while he takes 171% increase in salary, but you get my drift. Percentage wise, I bet FNF layoffs dwarf what Fiorina did at HP. FNF is cut throat. Foley is cut throat. What on God’s green earth makes the wine industry think they are immune from this? The worst of it is that California wine is going to suffer because people have their heads buried in the sand.
Here’s what he did. He took over, paid outrageous salaries, stole the best employees from good paying jobs and then fired them the minute the business had a pull back. There are quality title officers and escrow officers with 30 years experience who can’t get a job right now because the work is being done predominantly in India for $16 a day. American workers used to earn twice that in an hour. Now the part of the job that is Stateside is being done by people being paid $15 an hour. So think about spending four years at UC Davis or Sonoma and working your way up the food chain for the love of wine. Then your winery is taken over by a corporate raider, you are now expendable and it’s over. Just like that. That’s the future of the wine industry with Bill Foley and is blood money. It’s going to be bad. Trust me on that. I just pray the family wineries can stay the course and make it through his “serial acquiring” phase. I, for one, will support them with an unmatched fervor. At the end of the day, I want good wine from California. I want to enjoy the expression of the terroir. And I don’t give a goddamn about distribution channels. I’ll find the good stuff if you make it and I will testify from the highest mountain. Don’t give in to Bill Foley. Fight for your life.
Bill Foley is a corporate CEO in America. That means all he cares about is himself and the bottom line. Believe me there is a path littered with the rotting corpses of quality title and escrow staff who were tossed out by his machine. He does every thing he can to skirt the DOI laws. He does every thing he can to skirt the Labor laws. He is not a nice man. They cut every corner they can. In case anyone has forgotten, this is what happens when you cut corners.
And eleven families will go on without their breadwinner. Because BP wanted to close it down quicker. They wanted to save time and money. How’s that working for you now Tony? Oh, you want your life back? So do those eleven families. And this is the mentality that goes on at the top in corporations. And it’s wrong. In BP’s case, it probably is criminally negligent. I hope they get that “Company Man” and string him up and every one all the way up the BP food chain by the balls. It’s wrong. They will do it as long as we let them. It’s time we said enough. It’s no different than the abuses that occurred during the Industrial Revolution the resulted in unions. It’s part of the plan to defang unions, but if companies would act right, unions wouldn’t be necessary. I would like for their to be less regulation but as long as guys like Tony Hayward and Bill Foley continue to act like spoiled brats, regulation is necessary. They’re spoiled little jerkoffs that can’t do the right thing if it’s counterintuitive to their personal greed. And that’s wrong. So I support regulation, because it’s necessary. Like The Brother says “Act right and I’ll be out of business”. Act right and there is no need for regulation. The new business thinking is to get away with as much as you can. And that’s wrong. Bill Foley is wrong and will always be wrong.
Is it possible to do it right? Hell yeah. Check out this guy. He made a gazillion dollars, he did the right thing every step of the way. They were ahead of the curve in moving towards sustainable materials and he led the charge to leave our precious National Parks as pristine as they were found. They pioneered organic sustainable recycled products in their clothing line and their equipment line. So I’m not full of shit. It’s possible to make a buttload of money while being responsible to your employees and your planet. That makes people like Bill Foley, Tony Hayward and Carly Fiorina even more reprehensible. Because they’re too stupid and ignorant to do it the right way. This makes me think of a discussion I had with Michael Keenan about moving his winery to solar power. He did the numbers and couldn’t justify not moving to solar power. That is good management. Using seawater because you want to go faster and killing eleven employees…you’re an asshole. And a criminal.
Enough is enough. Boycott Foley Family Wines or the Foley Portfolio or whatever he’s calling it these days. It’s the right thing to do.