“For something to be funny, the audience has to be in a position to sense the truth of it. It has to be primed. Satire can crystallize what’s already in the air, but it can’t really put it there.”--Garry Trudeau
I’ve been struggling lately with whether I want to continue writing HoseMaster of Wine™. First of all, let me just say that this is not a plea to those of you who care to flatter me to chime in and tell me how brilliant I am, and how the wine world needs me. I’m not particularly good at accepting flattery. I do much better with vitriol. Rather, this is simply a peek behind my peculiar curtain, about how weary I am of this self-imposed gig, and also how I fear I’d miss it if I do quit. Those of you uninterested in this kind of navel-gazing, leave now. I’m sure there’s something really stupid to read over at PUNCH, the online drinks magazine for the dumbstruck.
I started writing HoseMaster to see how it would feel to write regularly again. I stumbled onto wine blogs, gazed upon their splendid mediocrity, and decided to jump in. So many wine blogs proclaim that wine is too pretentious a business, all the while adding layers to that pretentiousness with their own brand of solipsistic babbling. And in the seven years I’ve been at this, nothing has changed. Worst of all, HoseMaster hasn’t changed much either. Reading the “popular” wine blogs regularly is like eating the same damned food for lunch every single day. It’s depressing that you never get sick of it.
There are a lot of different motivations for writing a wine blog. For many, it has been a way into the business. The most successful of those bloggers have learned that self-promotion, social media skills, parroting disingenuous marketing stories, passing off Wikipedia entries as personal knowledge, and relentless buttkissing are a quicker way up the ladder than actual wine experience. These are the wine bloggers the trade adores. They are overwhelmed with wine samples and offers of free junkets. They’re the equivalent of the “reporters” for “Entertainment Tonight,” who pose as insiders, but really simply spew the copy handed them by actors’ press agents. It’s twaddle, it’s far more harmful than good for the wine business, but that’s what the Internet does best—give you the opportunity to lie about who you really are.
Then there are those wine bloggers who turn a one-sentence thought into an eight hundred word essay with a misleading blurb as a title. Most of these folks think of themselves as “journalists.” Because, hey, this is a journal, right? They climb the blog rankings with a talent for writing headlines, and nothing else. You click on the link because of the headline, you read the piece, and you think, “Fuck, that’s the stupidest thing I’ve read all day.” For them, you’re a stat, an endlessly stupid moth self-destructively flitting around their headline flame. Their contribution to the wine conversation is, “Me, Me, Me.” Though they think they’re really smart, and feel their contribution is, “Meme, Meme, Meme.”
There are aggregate blogs, the cheesy, overrated wine clubs of the genre. Why, every day our panel of experts sends you the finest dozen posts available at club prices! You’re free to cancel at any time, we’re just happy you’ve fallen for it for as long as you have! There are the sad little wine blogs started by people who just want to tell you about really good wines they’ve tasted. Oh, I know I’m not a wine expert, but I know what I like! And I think this has value. They’re like Poodle puppies leaving little puddles for you all over the house. Hard to hate them, but you wish they’d grow up.
All of them make me want to quit.
I’ve not been a popular guy with a lot of folks in the wine business. That doesn’t bother me in the least. I don’t see myself as a truth-teller, some kind of superhero dedicated to cleaning up all the hypocrisy and dishonesty I see. I write comedy. Where I succeed or fail is if I make you laugh—that’s my only criterion. I rarely choose my targets, my targets almost always choose themselves. The wine world is no different than the real world. It’s filled with buffoons, cowards, pretenders, blowhards, pinheads, idiots, stuffed shirts, sycophants, and assholes. I don’t use those words when I speak of them individually. I use satire, mockery, jokes, parody and ribaldry to make my points. I don’t have an agenda, except laughter. I’ve clearly screwed that up today.
I feel like I’ve run my course on HoseMaster of Wine™. I’m not out of ideas, far from it. But I may be out of motivation. Many days I fantasize about how nice it would be to never look at a wine blog again. Hell, I often fantasize about how nice it would be to never look at the Internet again. There’s a kind of peace in the very thought. No more wine blogs would be like moving to the country and discovering just how annoying and stressful all that fucking traffic noise was where you used to live—you were able to tune it out to a degree, but now that it’s gone you see how much it detracted from your life. I think about that. Which seems to imply that I’m ready to move away from the virtual world, all that incessant and meaningless noise, gain some peace and quiet.
I love wine, and I love the wine business. It’s why I write about them both. Out of love, not disdain. But maybe my passion for wine is better served in the privacy of my own thoughts. There’s nothing new to say about wine that hasn't been said more eloquently many times before. Wine outclasses us, and our feeble imaginations and vocabularies. I've tried to bring an interesting voice to the discussion, but it feels like that voice has worn thin. At least it feels that way to me. Oh, I’m still angry. I’m still angry about how we humans manage to trivialize, ruin and degrade just about everything precious in the world, wine being just one example. I’m angry that I’m a part of that myself. But comedy is about anger, its Creator is anger, it needs anger. But it can be tiring to channel all of that anger twice a week. I’m tired.
This isn’t a farewell piece. Or it might be. I don’t know. I’m wrestling with why I do this in the first place, and for what. For those of you who come here for the laughs and are still reading, my heartfelt apology. Every now and then I feel the need to be self-indulgent. From a career standpoint, wine has been my life. For too much of the past three years, HoseMaster has been my life. There’s the rub.
The Wine Blog Award Nominees were announced last week, and my scary intern, Lo Hai Qu, is a little peeved that she wasn't nominated. The HoseMaster of Wine™ was nominated twice, but Lo was stiffed. She marched into my office and demanded the blog for this week's post. Oh, man, here we go...
OK, so this blows like narwhal 'ho's. It's like, last year I won a Wine Blog Award for Best Blog Post, which I totally deserved, especially since the other posts in my category were stupider than an episode of “Two Broke Girls.” But then this year, they just announced the finalists for the Wine Dog Awards and, fuckin' get this, no Lo contendre! Can you believe that? I’m like the defending champion, and I don’t even get a mention? What sort of incompetent judges did they have this year? Or, more likely, incontinent judges. I tried to find out who the judges were, but there wasn’t any list of them anywhere. I mean, I don’t blame them for being ashamed, being a judge for the Wine Slog Awards is harder than judging at the Bumfuck County Fair—you need to be able to tell one pig from another, only with wine bloggers all you can see is the slop they’re wallowin’ around in. OK, yeah, I’m bitter.
Loqueesha told me I should just chill, that it doesn’t matter. So I like punched her in the neck, right on her tattoo of Natalie MacLean humping a Methuselah, which makes her crazy. Natalie, not Loqueesha. Of course it matters! The Wine Pawg Awards are the most important awards there are for people who self-publish their worthless thoughts about wine. What are the chances these losers are ever going to get any other kind of award? Like there’s an organization that gives awards to people with hardly any talent who have the guts to display that all the time, I mean, aside from wine competitions. Wine bloggers need these awards.
But, so, like, there’s the irony. It’s not really an award. You win, and you don’t get snot. Not even a pat on the ass, and, believe me, these lonely bloggers really, really want a pat on the ass. You look at their photos and you know they haven’t been touched by another human being in a long time. Jameson Fink? OK, maybe Jameson Fink cuz, look at him, for sure he’s a ventriloquist dummy. There’s no money involved either. You’d think there’d be some money involved when you win an award, like maybe some Bitcoins or a bunch of lottery tickets anyway. Nope. Nada. Zip. Zero. Palate Press. The Wine Stroke Awards have all the value of back issues of Mutineer Magazine—pretty much you just get your ass wiped. Or you’d think you’d get some kind of trophy, or a plaque, or maybe commemorative nipple rings, like the ones I got from eating ten Grand Slam breakfasts at Denny’s without using utensils. Shit, maybe Loqueesha’s right, which would be a first, though she did say David Schildknecht was a robot. Maybe the Wine Splooge Awards don’t matter. I mean, look at who’s nominated, right?
So when I saw that I wasn’t even fuckin’ nominated, I made the mistake of looking at the blogs that were. Oh, fuck, really, don’t do this. I’m warning you, just don’t do it. OK, like, pretend this is just like some cool slasher flick where you want to shout at the stupid girl on the screen, “Don’t go into the dark cabin in the woods in only your panties!” because you know the bad guy is going to dismember her with a Ginzu knife and a weed whacker. I’m telling you, don’t go and read the nominees for Best Overall Wine Blog! Nothing good can come of it. What that bad guy does to the girl in panties, they’ve done to wine writing—taken a weed whacker to it.
I asked the HoseMaster, who’s whacked a few weeds, and himself, a lot, if those were really the Best Wine Blogs. “Sure,” he tells me, “which is what’s sad.” Oh, fuck him, I went and read them my own Lo self. Wow, in my really cute hind sight that was stupid, like going to the doctor and begging him to give you sleep apnea.
See, what the deal is, since I started as the HoseMaster’s intern, I’ve started really liking wine. I used to drink it before, but I just did it cuz it was there and it made me feel like shit. Then I started tasting the good stuff, and I started liking it, and it still made me feel like shit. Which is cool. It’s like when I started having sex, too. I just did it cuz it made me feel worthless, not cuz I enjoyed it. Now I enjoy it, and I still feel worthless, but it’s a good kind of worthless, so that’s also cool. Maybe those Best Overall Wine Bloggers are the same way. I mean, you read those blogs (NO, I’m beggin’ you, DON’T, and not in just your panties!) and you can tell they’re just going through the motions, like a date that just lays there, and they know what they’re writing is kinda worthless, but that’s all they need, that feeling of just doing it, even though it’s mostly empty. I mean, they write just about the same crap every post, which is like eating the same goddam thing for breakfast every morning. It's amazing that you never get sick of it.
And they’re all such kiss-asses. They make little drawings, and they love every winery and winemaker they meet, and all the other bloggers who love them are sooooo talented, and wine is so mystical and amazing and made them all better people, but not better writers, and they have so many important things to say if only they could think of them... It’s like one of those suckass sororities that wouldn’t have me. One big house full of people whose only claim to actual fame or talent is they’re in a big house full of boring people exactly like them. They don’t define their little wine blogs, their little wine blogs define them.
OK, so, yeah, I’m kinda bitter. I was sure I was going to get a nomination. I’ve been bragging about it, and now Shizzangela is ridin’ my ass, makin’ fun of me, tellin’ me I’m no Goode, that I got Wakawaka leaking from my bare root chakra, that I’m goin’ Doon on endless Poodle dick, and I bite worse than Enobytes--endless shit like that. Damn Shizzy. She crazy. I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not votin’ for anybody in the Wine Blog Awards. Not even for the HoseMaster. (Best Wine Reviews? Yeah, and Donald Sterling might get an award from the NAACP.) In fact, I think I’m going to return my Wine Blog Award from last year, fuck ‘em. Only how do you return nothing?
This year’s Auction Napa Valley was an overwhelming success, the various decadent lots bringing in a cool $18.7 million, the equivalent of what auction participants earn every thirty-five seconds. The lot with the highest bid included attendance at an exclusive party after the 2015 Oscars, and the chance to be personally assaulted by Nick Nolte. For the majority of the lots with the highest bids, wine was an afterthought—a fitting reflection of the Valley itself. Glamour, fame, cars, trips, and, oh, yeah, we make wine here.
It hasn’t been talked about much, but there were several auction lots that did rather poorly. In fact, these lots had no bidders. Auction Napa Valley has tried to keep these unwanted lots from the press in an effort to spare the sponsors of the lots embarrassment, but some intrepid reporting has uncovered the details. Frankly, it’s hard to believe the lots didn’t sell. Many blame auctioneer Fritz Hatton, who insisted on dressing as Jerry Lewis, referring to the vintners as “Jerry’s kids,” and performing “You’ll Never Wok Alone” in a bad Korean accent.
Lot 52 Sponsored by Sterling Vineyards
The winning bidder(s) receives six season tickets to Donald Sterling’s private box for the 2014-15 NBA season (no black people need bid). Mr. Sterling will lead guests on a private tour of Staples Center, including a pre-game visit to the Clippers locker room where he’ll repeatedly say, “Look at the size of that one!” Lot includes a private jet to Los Angeles International Airport, a private ride to Staples Center in OJ’s newly-restored white Bronco, accommodations with mixed race hookers in one of Mr. Sterling’s slumlord apartments, and lots and lots of Purell. In the event that the Los Angeles Clippers are sold, or that Mr. Sterling dies, winning bidders get front row seats at the citywide celebration.
Lot 68Sponsored by Apothic
Here’s the chance to make your dream come true! The winner of this exclusive lot gets to be “Embalmer for a Day!” Wonder what it’s like to fill a human’s bloodstream with a mixture of formaldehyde and methanol, just like the makers of Apothic Red? Spend a day at the Napa Valley Mortuary and Wine Bar (the former COPIA), grab a couple of stiff ones, and find out! Who knows, maybe you’ll be embalming somebody rich and famous. Look around you at the other auction tables—how long can it be for most of these rich old farts? Don’t tell anyone, but it turns out if you huff the embalming fluid, it’s just like drinking Colgin from a hot vintage! And, hey, you’ll be in a room full of stiffs—why, it’s like you’re at an editorial meeting at Wine Spectator! This would be fun for the whole family.
Lot 87 Sponsored by Raymond du Soleil Vineyards
Ever wondered what it’s like to be at a private dinner for 60 people at the French Laundry? The winner of this lot will find out when he and five guests are busboys for an evening! The 60 people dining will be there to celebrate Jean-Charles Boisset’s 60th birthday, sponsored by Closet World. Chef Thomas Keller will prepare a special feast for the party guests while managing to find time to personally insult the competence of his auction-winning busboys. Haven’t you always wanted to be treated like insolent children by some of Napa Valley’s most famous cult Cabernet producers? Well, you can either take the time to visit them at their wineries, or you can experience the same treatment as a busboy at America’s greatest restaurant! And if you’re lucky, you might just get a tip. “Hey, kid, buy Scarecrow futures.”
Lot 49Sponsored by Charles Shaw
Dinner with Thomas Pynchon. Chances are he won’t show.
Lot 99Sponsored by Napa Valley Vintners Association
Ten people will travel First Class to France to visit lesser wine regions. Begin in Burgundy, where the minor variety Pinot Noir grows like a weed and smells like a barnyard, whatever that is. We’re from Napa, barns are tasting rooms, right? After that, a trip to the beautiful Loire Valley, where the scenery more than makes up for them making mostly white wine, with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon’s village idiot father, Cabernet Franc, producing wimpy reds. Our trip to lesser regions wouldn’t be complete without stopping in the Northern Rhône, where man first discovered Syrah doesn’t sell unless you call it a fake name, like Hermitage (rhymes with “heritage”). Then it’s Bordeaux to taste some Napa blends, and, finally Champagne, because by then you’ll be tired of wine. As it turns out, there are other regions in the world that produce wine. I know, hard to believe.
Lot 73 Sponsored by the Courts of Masters with Johnsons
The high bidder for this lot will be welcomed as a newly minted Master Sommelier AND official Master of Wine. No need to take any tests or write any dissertations, the titles are both yours to keep. You’ll get the coveted lapel pins, as well as the traditional inflatable Jancis Robinson for your personal enjoyment. Be careful, she’s hard to tell from the real thing! There are only a handful of people in the world who have earned both degrees, though feel free to sell the M.S. for face value and buy yourself a couple bottles of wine. The initials after your name entitle you to unlimited blowhard opinions, free tastings at the world’s finest estates that accept Visa Signature, and the limitless respect of all the Masters of Wine you haven’t heard of. Void where prohibited by humility.
I know you’re excited to receive this invitation to enter your wines in the First Annual HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition. My competition is unique, and one in which you’ll certainly want to participate. I’d like to take a brief bit of your time to explain how the competition works, and how it will benefit your obviously desperate winery.
I know that there are countless wine competitions competing for your entry money. Don’t be fooled by them. They are all the same. The same judges just in different venues. It’s like Dog Shows—they get the same judges who know how to fondle balls and pick winners, and they fly them around the country to reproduce the same results. Only, they don’t produce the same results! Why? They just don’t care. Sure, there are critics of wine competitions who say that their palates aren’t as good as advertised, that they’re incapable of judging the same wine the same way every time they taste it, but this isn’t true. In actuality, they just don’t care to give the same results every time; in fact, they try not to. And, frankly, it would be stupid if they did. Look, even if you love someone, not every sexual encounter with that person is a Gold Medal performance, even though they’re the same person with their same genitalia and you’re tasting them blind in front of volunteers. Well, that’s how I do it. Every so often, after the sex is finished, you’re forced to say, “Sorry, Honey, that was a Bronze.” And, frankly, I’m pretty happy to get a Bronze. Often I’m sent back for obvious defects, mostly sulfur issues.
But what if there were a wine competition that didn’t use the same judges as every other wine competition? Know how you keep getting crappy medals for your exorbitant entry fees? It’s not your wine! You know that. You make one of the best wines imaginable, given your crappy grape source and lack of knowledge about the most basic chemistry. It’s those same fifty judges that judge in every goddam wine competition, it’s their fault. Hell, most of them don’t even have real jobs. They have a bio. Oh, yeah, they have a bio. It’s pretty inflated, and they’re having a good time with it. Son of a gun, gonna have big fun, with the bio. Mostly, these judges are the wine business version of vampires. Hold a mirror up to them, and, guess what, there’s nothing to see.
My wine competition is different. I’m the only judge. I think you’ll agree that this is the perfect scenario.
For the competition, I’m putting the judge up at a very fancy hotel, not one of the fleabags judges are usually assigned. At most wine competitions, the worst thing a judge smells is the carpet in his room. Not mine. My judge is pampered, and I think he deserves it. Just read his bio.
Other wine competitions rely on volunteers to serve the wines and clean the glasses, do all the work, keep the competition running smoothly—and those volunteers work for--wait for it--already open bottles of wine! Yes, you read that right. How stupid is that? It’s like working a fashion show for the used panties. No, wait, I’d do that. It’s like working “Biggest Losers” for free for the contestants’ old clothes. It’s one gigantic waist. My competition will have paid “volunteers.” Hooters girls! Everybody’s wine tastes better served by a Hooters girl! I’m guessing there may be a record number of Double Golds, and some might be for the wines. As a winery, you’ll benefit from a judge in a very good mood. Trust me, wine judging volunteers at other competitions, well, let’s just say they give the wines a flabby impression. Perky is better.
Judges in wine competitions get paid very little money for their work. Most wine competitions award their judges a modest “Honorarium.” Basically, a wine competition Honorarium is the equivalent of giving money to a homeless person. You want him to be impressed and grateful, but it’s really just chump change on your part. There are even wine competitions that don’t pay the judges anything! So, for example, when you enter your wine in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, a competition sponsored by the newspaper that employs Jon Bonné anyway, every red cent, minus hotels and travel expenses, goes into the competition’s pocket! Do you want your wine judged by uncompensated, surly, penniless wine judges? Hell, might as well just take it to your local wine shop and have the owner judge it—he’s in the same shoes. Don’t enter those competitions. It can’t be good for you, or your wine. I guarantee you that every last dime of your entry fee for the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition goes directly into the pocket of our award-winning, internationally respected judge. You have my word.
And let’s face it, you’re hungry for a medal, preferably a gold one, for your really rather pedestrian wine. And it won’t be long before a Gold Medal from the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition will be worth its weight in Moscato. But you can’t get a Gold Medal unless you enter! And now’s your chance to get in on the ground floor of what is destined to become the pre-eminent wine competition in the world. Plus, unlike other wine competitions, the more often you enter, the more HoseMaster Points® you’ll accumulate. Points you can later redeem for guaranteed Gold Medals! Yes, it’s innovative, and, yes, it’s way overdue. The more wines you enter, the more HoseMaster Points® you’ll earn! In just a few years, pick a wine, and your Gold Medal is guaranteed! OK, it’s maybe not so innovative, lots of wine competitions basically do this, but admitting it is innovative. You’ll give me that.
As Sponsor and Chief Judge of the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition, I can promise that your wine will be carefully evaluated and awarded an appropriate medal. If you do not receive a medal, rest assured your check bounced. Briefly here are the criteria for each medal, the same criteria most competitions honor:
BRONZE: A wine that has the appropriate varietal aroma, and also smells of entry money.
SILVER: I was gonna say Gold, but no one else did.
GOLD: Better than the other crap in this competition.
DOUBLE GOLD: Now can we go home?
I think you’ll agree that entering the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition is the best entry fee you’ll ever throw away. Please remember to fill out the forms carefully, and note that you’ll need to submit five bottles of each wine entered. Two for the competition, and the other three for the awesome party the judges are having with the Hooters girls.
Everyone knows that wine has its own language. When listening to enthusiasts talk about wine, often only a few of the words seem recognizable, like listening to Klingons. Should you try to contribute to the conversation, chances are you will make a jackass of yourself and be submitted to the enthusiasts’ scorn. Always remember, wine lovers dislike the opinions of those who simply drink wine for enjoyment. Your views have no meaning and should be kept to yourself until you’re capable of understanding the language of wine, the importance of wine, and the impossibility of life without wine. Drinking wine simply as an enhancement to your meal, or for personal enjoyment, is for simpleminded assholes, troubled drifters, and Republicans. These are unpleasant categories to be assigned, believe me. Luckily, in this chapter of The HoseMaster’s Comprehensive Guide to Wine™, you’ll learn the proper use of the basic language of wine. Soon, you’ll be elevated from a homeless, troubled, asshole Republican to a wine expert! You’ll be able to drop the “Republican” part.
You can be forgiven for thinking “terroir” was Harry Waugh’s older brother Terry, who certainly now smells of the soil, but you’d be horribly wrong. Terroir is a French word, used by wine connoisseurs, that has no meaning, and is interchangeable with the words “I have no fucking idea what I’m talking about.” For example, a wine lover might say, “This Chinon certainly shows fabulous terroir.” Now that you have the insider information, you know that he’s just remarked, “This Chinon certainly shows I have no fucking idea what I’m talking about.” Many people will imply that terroir is an expression that takes into consideration where the wine was grown, what soil it was grown in, the microclimate, the regional characteristics of the wine, the techniques used to produce the wine, and even the influence of the winemaker—as though there could be one word to express all that and have it make sense. Yeah, right. Well, there is one word for all that, and that word is bullshit. So, as another example, you read a winery marketing brochure and it reads, “Our winemaker’s goal is to express our vineyard’s unique terroir.” Every lazy winery says this, as though other wineries are trying to express some other vineyard's terroir. This is why most wine marketing people are charter members of the Go Fuck Yourself Club™. An advanced student of wine language understands this sentence to read, “Our bullshit winery script’s goal is to express our vineyard’s I have no fucking idea what I’m talking about.” Now you know that when you have no fucking idea what you’re talking about when it comes to a wine, yet you want to sound knowledgeable and educated about said wine, simply adopt your faux French accent and say confidently, “Wow, smell that terroir!” If someone asks you to define “terroir,” do what wine experts do, look at them disdainfully, shake your head, and walk away.
When you hear a wine enthusiast say that a particular wine is “Burgundian,” usually a Pinot Noir, what he means is that he is completely unfamiliar with Burgundy, and, thus, hasn’t the slightest inkling what Pinot Noir is all about, or what the fucking hell he’s talking about. Saying a Pinot Noir from somewhere other than Burgundy is “Burgundian” is like describing a urinal cake as a piece of “pee hockey equipment.” You’re aiming at the wrong target. What the wine lover means to say is that the Pinot Noir he’s encountered seems mysteriously underripe, infected with a barnyard aroma, and yet costs a lot of money, and he associates all of those things with Burgundy. So he’s an idiot, but the best way to communicate with him is to say, “Didn’t I meet you at the ‘In Pursuit of Balance’ tasting?”
You will often be confronted with a wine expert who says, “This wine needs food.” Essentially, this is the equivalent of saying, “This shoe probably needs another one to be useful.” You’ll find as you learn the language of wine that the best response to what a wine connoisseur says is often a simple, “Duh.” The statement, “This wine needs food,” begs the question, are there wines that are better without food? The answer is, Yes, any wine is when you just want to get shitfaced for fun. When a wine lover remarks that a wine is definitely a “food wine,” what that means is he’s trying to convince you that the crappy wine of his you just put in your mouth will taste better with the proper food, even though you and he both know it won’t. It’s a very stupid thing to say about a wine, and often expressed out of desperation for something seemingly intelligent to say about a wine, much like tasting a new vintage of a wine and declaring, “This wine tastes young.” Yeah, Sherlock, and it also needs food and has great terroir.
There is no agreed upon definition of Natural Wine, just as there is no agreed upon definition of Normal Sex. Once upon a time, Normal Sex was defined as sex between one man and one woman. That is to say, boring. Now Normal Sex might include several people, people of all three sexes, farm animals, and/or sock puppets. Throw anything in there and it’s now considered Normal Sex by somebody. It’s very nonjudgmental. Natural Wine is the opposite. Wine used to be all inclusive. Wine, as every beginner and non-wine-speaking person knew, was simply ripe grape juice fermented by yeast under the control of man in order to create a complex alcoholic beverage to grace the dinner table and make our wretched lives a bit better. The use of the phrase “Natural Wine” is very judgmental and non-inclusive, and is used to imply superiority to other wines, and more importantly, the superiority of the palates and morals of those who promote them. A wine is considered “Natural” when it has been exposed to as little human intervention as possible. “Natural Wine,” then, is wine’s answer to the Rwandan genocide or Ukraine, clear examples of how very little intervention leads to the desired results.
What's the old saying about opinions? They're like STD's, everybody's got one. Well, after a recent post by Jamie Goode on his weirdly popular blog, in which Mr. Goode courageously stated his radical-as-a-turnip opinions, I got to thinking about some of my own unfiltered, unrefined opinions about the world of wine. I'm certain most of you will agree my opinions are brilliant, well-founded, and original. The rest of you are simpletons. But you'll have to jump over to Tim Atkin's award-winning site to read them.
Feel free to leave comments over at Tim's, or, if you are unable to write in English, feel free to leave your jibber jabber here where I can translate it without making you look foolish. As if.
After 19 years as a Sommelier in Los Angeles, twice named Sommelier of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers' Association, I moved to Sonoma County to explore the other aspects of the wine business. I've spent, OK wasted, 35 years learning about and teaching about and swallowing wine. I am also a judge at the Sonoma Harvest Fair, San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and the San Francisco International Wine Competition--so I can spit like a rabid llama. I know more about wine than David Sedaris and I'm funnier than James Laube. Stay tuned for an informed but jaded view of everything wine and everything else.
What the Critics Are Saying About HoseMaster of Wine
"If you want a great hoot and howl moment or two...go read the HoseMaster's year-end reflections...that guy is without a doubt the funniest SOB in the blog-world...and thank him for having the brains and balls to target his laser of laughter on anybody...HoseMaster for President...HoseMaster for Blogger of the Year...although he would be the first to say the bar is so damn low for that award, he should win it every year..." --Robert Parker
"...With sometimes crude analogies and occasional droppings of f-bombs, Washam cleverly uses satire to expose the underbelly of the wine business. It's often hilarious stuff as long as you're not the one being lampooned. Washam takes no prisoners in skewering all that is silly, stupid, frustrating and pretentious about wine, and his favorite targets are other bloggers and writers. No one is immune."
--Linda Murphy in "Vineyard and Winery Management"
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity." --JancisRobinson.com
"As serious as the world of wine is, it does allow time for humor. Each Monday and Thursday, Ron Washam customarily posts a commentary on his needling wine blog HoseMaster of Wine. Washam, a former sommelier and comedy writer – he might say they are closely related – is the most opinionated, humorous and ribald observer in the wine world. His body of work is irreverent and remorseless. It’s almost always satire and parody, though he occasionally drifts into straight commentary, sometimes even with tasting notes. This past year, one of his posts was named the best of the year in the Wine Blog Awards. His success has spawned several imitations, which in their awkwardness show just how difficult satire is."
--Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/21/6089630/dunne-on-wine-wine-blogs-and-bloggers.html#storylink=cpy
"Please let this guy write the scripts for Saturday Night Live which has gotten so lame...his newest "wisdom" is worth an Emmy....I wonder if he is the genius behind all those Hitler/Parker,etc. clips? No one else is remotely as funny or as talented.And the wine world sure needs someone to poke fun at all the nonsense and phoney/baloney unsufferable crap out there."
"Washam uses his own blog, HoseMaster of Wine, to skewer the industry in general and wine blogs in particular. If your mouse scoots to your browser's close box while reading a wine blog, Washam may be the blogger for you."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"Ron Washam, former sommelier, is easily the most bitingly funny blogger/wine writer that we have ever come across. He is an equal opportunity crusader who pillories big wineries and amateur bloggers alike, as well as everything and everyone in between...One needs a sense of humor and a tolerance for earthiness to enjoy reading The Hosemaster. We must have both because this guy deserves a wider audience, in our humble opinion." --Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
"In my opinion, and that of many others, his blog is one of the best. And in terms of satirical or parodic wine blogs, it has no peer. Ron’s alert eye catches every pretense and skewers it with laugh out loud mercilessness."
"This site should carry a warning label. It's sort of a Dave Barry/George Carlin approach to wine. The Hosemaster (real name Ron Washam) skewers fellow bloggers and industry savants with glee, while offering hilarious wine guides such as his Honest Guide to Grapes..."
--Paul Gregutt, Seattle Times
"Washam is a skilled wine judge (I have judged with him) who is willing to judge wine double blind, in public. To my knowledge, Parker does not do this and never has. So Ron's credentials are in place, and so is his sense of the absurd."
--Dan Berger, VintageExperiences
"...I consider Ron a very talented writer and I’ve long been an admirer of his scathing wit..."
"And if any free sites think they can conquer the world, there’s always the Hosemaster to take ‘em down a notch."
--Tyler Colman "Dr. Vino"
"Those of you who know Ron either love or hate him, because he throws jabs like a punch drunk boxer, and we’re all in the firing line. He’ll throw them if he hates you, and he’ll throw them if he loves you. He’s a satirist of exceptional quality."
--Jo Diaz "Juicy Tales by Jo Diaz"
"I must say you are an idiot. I've never liked you. I have no idea why people find you funny."
--Reign of Terroir
Robert (Joseph) was/is funny unlike HoseMaster who wasn't/isn't.