When you're a dick it's all about knowing where your head is supposed to be, and mine was several inches up the wrong wine cave--my own. I was supposed to be trying to help the beautiful Veronica get into the M.S. Society but instead I'd been initiated into the Skull and Boners Club. I'd had this case but a few hours and already there was a midget, the cops and a dead body involved. But at least I knew the M.S. Society had an opening now. I'd never seen Lorna's.
I decided that before I tried to get Veronica into the M.S. exam, I needed to find out more about her, and more about the Master Sommelier organization. Something about the whole thing was eating at me. Or so I thought. Turned out I'd picked up some ticks. Ticks on dicks. What am I, fucking Dr. Seuss? One thing I was sure about, Veronica wasn't from Healdsburg. She was talent brought in from somewhere else, talent that seems to have been meant to lure me into this morass. And, from my point of view, the morass the better. I needed to find out just who my client was, where she was from, who her "friends" were.
I strolled around the corner from Les Mars to Willi's to have a glass of wine to calm my nerves. I'd been married, so I was used to it, but it still wasn't easy to see a beautiful woman in a bed just laying there not moving. I pulled up a stool at Willi's and ordered a tall, cold one in honor of Veronica. The bartender gave me a glass of La Crema Chardonnay. Ugh. Just wasn't my day. It smelled of pears, maybe peaches, and definitely hypocrisy.
I kept thinking about that whack on the head I'd been given. I had a knot on my skull about the size of Dan Berger's brain--so, walnut-sized--that kept throbbing like Steve Heimoff at the Mr. Universe pageant. Fugly, that midget with a message, didn't give it to me, so who did? Veronica's friends? The M.S. goons? A pissed-off Les Mars maid? Or was there someone who'd been staying with Lorna? An angry ex-boyfriend? Whose best friend was a midget. Something wasn't adding up. Why was Heimoff at a Mr. Universe pageant? Trying for that 100 point score? "Hello."
Now what? I was lost in reverie, which is just north of Geyserville, in other words, nowhere, but it seemed someone was addressing me. Probably "Return to Sender."
It was Veronica. She acted a little surprised to see me. She was looking at me like she expected me to be in jail, which is how most women look at me. But I'd never been behind bars, except the ones covering my eyes in all those Internet photos. Her gaze didn't exactly make me feel comfortable, but I didn't let on. I was too busy staring at Veronica's breasts and wondering if they had names. The word "Jeroboam" kept jumping into my head. How many splits in a Jeroboam? In her case, one glistening split.
"What are you doing here, Hosemaster?" she asked me in an innocent tone of voice reminiscent of Sarah Palin talking about death panels as if they were were her panty shields.
"Recuperating from a nasty blow to my Melon."
"Well, it could have been worse."
"How's that?" I bit.
"Your Melon could have been mistaken for your Pinot Blanc and then where would you be?"
"I don't know," I said, "Clone College?" I was making an incredibly stupid joke that I wasn't sure even the midget would get, one of my probable brain damage jokes, but I was impressed that Veronica was aware that much of the Pinot Blanc planted in California had turned out to be Melon. Maybe she could actually pass the M.S. exam if I could get her an interview. But why did she want to? She could clearly make a lot more money than a sommelier. As Lorna might have, come to think of it.
"Buy a girl lunch?"
"Sure," I said, " you're the one paying for my time."
"Well," Veronica said, "I like a guy willing to play with his clock. What should I order?"
"Have what I've been having all day," I suggested.
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.
I'm living proof that alcohol kills brain cells.
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
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity."
"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
"...that guy Hosemaster has real talent...if you ask me sign him up for Comedy Central...he's the funniest guy since Adam Carolla's hilarious book...IN 50 YEARS WE WILL ALL BE CHICKS..."
"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."