“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
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Seven Wine Blogs to Be Avoided at All Costs
Forbes.com, from the magazine for folks who brought down the American economy, recently published a list of seven Must Read Wine Blogs. Naturally, this amounted to a list of the usual suspects. I was reminded of the great Woody Guthrie song, "This Bland is Your Bland, This Bland is My Bland..." But it's what one would expect from a pedestrian and dull publication that no one reads or quotes unless they've come out with their list of the world's wealthiest people, or, as I like to call them, Republicans--a pedestrian and dull list of wine blogs.
Do these seven Must Read Wine Blogs really need the help of Forbes? They've already got thousands of readers monthly. My readership hasn't increased an iota since I started this masturbatory meditation on all things wine. Not that I can tell anyway. I haven't the vaguest idea how to measure readership. I just go by the personal hate mail I receive, and, well, that's about the same. But I'm thinking of spamblocking my family. Wouldn't it have been nice if Forbes.com had shown a little initiative and highlighted seven Wine Blogs that Ought to Be Avoided at All Costs? You know HoseMaster of Wine would have been at the top of that list, though almost everyone already successfully avoids it. But the thought got me to thinking, what are the seven Wine Blogs that Ought to Be Avoided at All Costs? Which would you choose? Here's my list.
I don't know, does the world need wine reviews written by the president of the local chapter of NAMBLA? Sure, priests know about wine, but, really, all the guy likes is the really young stuff. The wines too. The mind boggles at his reviews, though I did think he was pretty perceptive about the Rodney Strong samples the winery sent him. But it is creepy that his favorite winery is Mounts.
I was searching online for information about motivational speaker James Arthur Ray, you know, the guy who killed three people in a sweat lodge in Sedona (which breaks the old record of two set by Suzanne Somers and several beavers), and it turns out he also has a wine blog! Who knew?! It's mostly focused on Madeira. Obviously. I like his take on Madeira, actually. Ray thinks you should drink it till you puke. Then die. But I'd avoid this wine blog, it's just a rehash of Alice Fiering.
OK, at first I thought this was the BrixChix blog, but it's actually a blog written by an Inuit (a tribe closely related to the tribe of wine bloggers, the Iduits). This blog centers around the search for the perfect wine to pair with blubber. While occasionally enlightening, the post about the 27 different words the Inuit have for "shitfaced" is revelatory (wow, Shankenfaced, really?), the relentless descriptions of eating blubber gets a little nauseating. But it turns out the perfect wine to accompany blubber is Kistler Chardonnay. Shocked my blowhole.
You just don't want to go here. Trust me. Sure, it's interesting to hear that Yellow Tail is perfect with earwax, and that when trying to find the perfect wine for toejam it's best to put it on crackers, and that bougars need residual sugar, but, honestly, don't go there. Really, isn't Two Buck Upchuck going a little too far? Is this the democratization of wine reviewing we're looking for? On the other hand, the guy's a better writer than Harvey Steiman.
There's just nothing new here at all. This wine blogger coaches new wine bloggers on the fine art of getting drunk on a budget by printing up cheapass business cards on your home computer so that you can drink for free in tasting rooms all over the country, by soliciting free samples from desperate wineries (he actually provides a list of Sucker Wineries that have marketing consultants who would send free wine to a dung beetle if he had a wine blog), by bluffing your way into industry tastings with your imaginary blog credentials, and by kissing the egotistical butt of every winery owner in Napa Valley. It's a blatant Vinography ripoff.
Oh boy, what do I say about this turkey? The woman who writes this blog, Landa DaLost, is a "natural" woman. From her photograph, it's apparent she's got hair growing in more places than Al Qaeda. And she's not afraid to show it. If you blur your eyes, she looks like a breeding ground for echidnas. Landa only reviews natural wines, of course, and the more organic, the more Biodynamic, the more vegan, the better. And we're talking ripe. Landa, not the wines. But this is just another stupid blog about "natural" wines, and God knows we're all sick to death of that crap.
Wine Library TV
Oh, man, what the hell is this? Some strange little man on a cheap set hopping around like he's leashed to an organ grinder describing wine in ways that can only be described as ludicrous and goofy. Definitely stole my act. Guy should be a wine judge.
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.