Tuscany has become the first drink to commit to stating the exact level of ego contained in each bottle.
Sanjo Vaysey of the group Producers of Overpriced Tuscany (POOT) is behind the scheme.
‘Consumers are increasingly concerned about putting things in their body that they see as harmful,’ he said.
‘Whether that’s non-vegan additives, sulphites or extreme levels of self-regard.’
Growing numbers of the public are testing as ego-intolerant, and last year a customer in a New York restaurant choked on the inflated claims of superiority made by a Family Reserve Chilean Cabernet.
From now on, all Tuscan wines will need to go through a rigorous assessment to determine their exact levels of egotism, before being given an official rating.
‘It doesn’t just look at how many squillions of Euros the winery has spunked on brand new oak, laser sorting tables and totally unnecessary porcelain amphora,’ Vaysey told Fake Booze. ‘Though obviously they’re an important part of the final calculation.
‘But we also look at how many pictures of the family there are in the winery reception, whether they’ve ever been photographed in the vineyard wearing an €1800 suit, and how recently they commissioned a ghost-written ‘family history’ compendium that talks at length about the family crest, but mysteriously omits to mention their strident support for Benito Mussolini.’
The ‘ego index’ runs on a scale from zero to ten.
To put this in context, POOT says that zero would be about the same level of cringing diffidence shown by an English winery while ten equates to a ‘tech squillionaire’s Napa wet dream’.
Products scoring zero can use the term ‘ego-free’ on their bottles. Those scoring from 1-5 can be described as ‘ego-friendly’.
So far, Vaysey says that have yet to find a Tuscan estate that comes out lower than seven, though he admits that this ‘could be an Italian thing’.
Consumer groups have welcomed the move, saying that it taps squarely into current trends.
‘People nowadays always talk about being mindful,’ said Wot? magazine’s Imogen Fairplay.
‘Specifically, they mind how full of themselves the producers actually are’.
Other parts of the drinks world have been inspired by Tuscany’s example, with producers of craft gin, Scotch whisky and Argentinian Malbec all rushing to implement similar schemes of their own.
However Sanjo Vaysey was dismissive.
‘I suppose it is good that they are following our example,’ he told Fake Booze.
‘But these arrivistes need to recognise that when it comes to cutting back on levels of ego in drinks, nobody will do it as well as Tuscany.’