As for men and cars, granted men probably appreciate engines more than women but these days most men couldn't even find the dipstick. (not sure what it's called in Italy) but both men and women car enthusiasts DO appreciate a gutsy sounding engine even if they know nothing why it sounds that way.
I agree that if educated that a larger proportion of the public would appreciate "hand made" if they knew or understood the process but I have a feeling that that percentage would still be very small and much like the lover of horology (fine watchmakinig), a status symbol more than anything.
The age of the connoisseur probably left us the same time as the gilded age died and masses of new money entered the equation. A lot of people want things for reasons they don't really know but since rich people have them, they want them too. Look at the massive buying of mechanical watches going on in China.
I would also agree that Europe is far more of an advanced culture and appreciator of things for the right reasons than in the US.