The world of Italian food and wine writing and the Italian food and wine blogosphere were shaken late last week when respected and beloved food and wine writer Stefano Bonilli, director of Gambero Rosso — Italy’s leading food and wine imprint — was abruptly and unexpectedly “fired” by Gambero Rosso company. News of the layoff was announced on and then later deleted from Bonilli’s Gambero Rosso-hosted blog, Papero Giallo, and has been reposted on the new independent version of his blog.
In a message he posted last week, Bonilli wrote: “I have been fired by Gambero Rosso. I no longer owned stock in the company and now I am being expelled for just cause. And so the world goes.”
According to a press release issued this week by Gambero Rosso, Bonilli was let go after a corporate shift took place at the highest level of the publishing house. Gambero Rosso Editore also announced that Daniele Cernilli, director of publishing and media, will take Bonilli’s place.
Many Italian food and wine pundits and bloggers have already noted that Cernilli’s business relationship with his wife Marina Thompson, owner of Italy’s top wine-centric public relations firm, Thompson Marketing already represented a substantial conflict of interest. With the announcement of his new position within the publisher, new calls for him to address this issue have surfaced in the Italian blogosphere. Thompson Marketing runs the Gambero Rosso’s “Road Show,” a commercial itinerant tasting that visits major U.S. markets.