Monday, June 8, 2009

HoseMaster of Wine's Beginning Ethics for Bloggers

Remember when wine blogs used to talk about wine? Wow, those were the good ol' days. Now every time I read wine blogs, roughly as often as Mike Tyson teaches elocution, they're about ethics. You know, Ethics, from the Latin for "how much can I get away with and still seem honest." Ethics are a lot like testicles--you either have them or you don't, you can't grow them, and if you do have them talking about them is hairy.
Mike Tyson's ethics, right

However, I believe I can contribute significantly to the Blogger Ethics debate. What I'd really like to do is end it, but, hell, then we'd have to go back to talking about actual wine. And, boy, have I had some crappy wine lately that I'd like to talk about. Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc, holy crap, what is that made from? It tastes like 85% Sauvignon Blanc blended with 15% Visine; though I could be wrong and it's actually Visine Musque. But I digress.

Much of the Blogger Ethics debate seems to revolve around accepting freebies from wineries or wine marketers and then reviewing the wines of those wineries. Those freebies can include free wine, free meals, free housing, sexual favors, a free credit report, a wine being named for you (I just blew my proposed Geyser Peak 2009 "Hosemaster Cuvee" Visine Musque bottling), tickets to sporting events, American Tourister luggage, and penile implants. (OK, I accepted the latter, but was unaware it was for my forehead. Stop calling me the Unicorn of Wine. Oh well, at least it's a handy place to rest my sunglasses.) A lot of respected wine writers have published long treatises on their blogs that spell out what they do and don't accept from wineries, though all of those treatises boil down quickly to, "Na-na-nah-na-na, I get free stuff and you don't... But, I swear to God, it's all on the up and up! Hey, NBA officials accept gifts from players, right?" Of course, the caveat is that so long as you cop to the freebies, that honesty therefore translates to how honest you are about the quality of the wines you tasted on that generous winery's behalf. "OK, I accepted a car from LeBron, but that's not why I never call fouls on him. Honest." No one believes that crap.

So here's my contribution to the Blogger Ethics debate (which is much like debating the integrity of Congress and Special Interest lobbyists, or, perhaps more accurately, like debating which "Star Trek" movie is the best--you know it's all imaginary, but it's fun anyway). Simply follow these very simple
HoseMaster of Wine Beginning Ethics for Bloggers. Then one day you too will be as admired and as ethical as your humble HoseMaster of Wine.

Accept anything a gullible winery or wine marketer is willing to give you. You've earned it, dammit, you have 15 Unique Hits on your blog every month. And you didn't print up those lame business cards on your computer for nothing. You're somebody!

Transparency is for Supreme Court nominees, steroid users and panties. Of course you take free stuff from wineries. Just keep it to yourself instead of bragging about it all the time. Yeah, yeah, the UPS guy has a hernia from all the wine shipped to your pathetic wine country hovel, Alder, but I sure as hell don't want to hear about it.

It's only wine, I'm not a freakin' doctor! As far as I'm aware, Hippocrates never wrote an oath for wine critics. So I add a few points to my imaginary and meaningless score, it's not like I prescribed the wrong medicine. Who cares?!

Conflict of interest is a contradiction in terms. My only interest is me. Where's the conflict?

By following these simple guidelines your ethical troubles will be resolved and you can go on blogging about wine as if nothing had happened. And, honestly, nothing has.


Samantha Dugan said...

Just this morning I was checking a few blogs and I actually said out loud, "Jesus, everyone is fighting again, it's freaking wine people...get over yourself!" Here's an idea, why don't we all pull our noses out of each other's asses and get back to writing about wine and the people that make them instead of writing about fellow bloggers or critics.

I don't care where or how someone got the wine, (and it seems to me those that do, are behaving a bit like the kid at the birthday party that got the better prize) I care about what is in the bottle, about the estate where it was made and maybe what foods it might go with...if you got a lap dance to write about it, good for you but I don't f-ing care, I mean wine and pleasure go hand and hand right?

I just wonder how many people liked a 95 point wine less now because they "discovered" that the ratings dude got a free dinner from the winery...we todd it. I'm with you on this one Ron...oh, and go Lakers!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Gorgeous,

The more folks talk about ethics the less I trust them, which is, in a roundabout way, how the testicles analogy works. (An intelligent woman like you wouldn't trust a guy who is always talking about his genitalia.) Your actions speak to your ethics, not your words. Even Parker gets this.

Your Lakers got stone-cold lucky last night not losing on the final play in regulation. But I suspect that their good luck is a direct result of your good Karma and that Lee missed the layup because he was thinking about you. At least that's what he said at the post game interview. I think he said he "should have gone for the Sam dunk." I could be wrong.

Samantha Dugan said...

Did we scare everyone off with our love fest?! Oh and by the way, thanks for the comment about my Lulu post, (thought I would slather more love on) it was fun to write, and remember. So one question....donde the bloggers commenting on this thread? Please tell me that people are not taking themselves that seriously. "Have another glass of wine people. Belly up to the bar"

So I knew the second Lee missed that layup the game was over....just why do you think I was wearing my very see through, tight, tank top with a pink tie, just ever so slightly, tied around my neck? (evil smirk) Life long Lakers fan do what needs to be done.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Beautiful Sam,

For one thing, only eleven people read my blog, so I never expect much in the way of comments. And, for another thing, most of them are over at Heimoff trying to sound important and creating valuable fodder for future HoseMaster pieces. Appropriate, after all, since it's almost Fodder's Day.

Can I come watch Game 3 at your house!!!?? Really, Sam, my Darling, I was wearing the exact same outfit! What are the odds?

May our Love Fest live forever.

Alder Yarrow said...

Boy do I wish I had a wine country hovel...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Alder,

Oops, I wasn't referring to you. I was referring to that other award-winning wine blogger, Alder Kingsmen. He's a good egg.

Ashley Lauren said...

You should consider using a picture of a vineyard as background to your blog layout or perhaps even a glass sparkling with something that looks like a Merlot in it. Be different.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Dear Ashley,

I missed you! I thought you had forsaken me.

I'll get on that background thing just as soon as I finish designing my business cards...


Charlie Olken said...


You're right. Alder does show up when you call his name. I'm just jealous anyhow. I don't even have a blob yet. It's like Bill Maher says. "oh, I just kid him".

And this ethics thing. I was cool with it until someone published a picture of Jay Miller sitting at a table of 500 wines being poured by a winemaker. On the whole, credibility is won by how accurate one is, but you have to admit that there are things out there that strain credulity. Me, I have hernia from my strained credulity.


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Charlie, aka Puff Daddy,

You need a truss for your strained credulity, but these days you can't truss anyone.