Laurie Taylor column

December 14, 2001

" The three largest universities in Tuscany have joined forces to set up a 'wine university' " - THES , December 7.

From: Dr Piercemüller

Dear Professor Augusto Marinelli

Allow me to introduce myself. I am senior lecturer in the department of media and cultural studies at one of the United Kingdom's leading second-rate universities. As my enclosed CV indicates, I have a lengthy and distinguished research record, with three major books "forthcoming" and another "in press".

I am writing to you because my attention was drawn to an article in The THES that describes your intention to involve the universities of Florence, Siena and Pisa in the establishment of "a wine university".

Although I do not have a specialised knowledge of the fields of inquiry mentioned in this account - geology, biology, plant pathology, agronomy, entomology - I feel that I have a valuable contribution to make to your envisaged institution.

For many years, a great deal of my specialised comparative research has been carried out within the region of Tuscany. Between 1973 and 1981, I undertook a detailed investigation into the economy of the leather handbag industry in Florence. This was followed by a four-year study of the iconic status of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and two years intensive participant research at the Siena palio.

During this time I also maintained a keen professional interest in the food and wine of your region. My semiological analysis of Parmigiano as a shifting signifier in Italian restaurants ( Grated or Shaved , Mimeo) is only one of several publications arising from this period.

Turning to more specific oenological concerns, I would be happy to offer one or more of the following options in your undergraduate degree: Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montepulciano, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and Chianti Classico (Riserva).

I look forward to talking to you and confirm that I am available for interview in Siena, Florence, or Pisa in the new year.

Buon Natale

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