The wine business lost a lot of very important people in 2009. OK, they weren't lost, they died. Why do we always say "lost" when they aren't lost at all? We know exactly where they are. Rotting in Hell with all the other inebriates. OK, let's start over. A lot of very important people in the wine business died in 2009. Many were overlooked by the vast majority of the wine-drinking public, but not here at HoseMaster of Wine. You know, my favorite part of the Academy Awards is the Death Montage--the morgue the merrier! So here's a brief rundown of those in the wine business who were bulked out in 2009.
D.B. Cooper (1932-2009) When you talk to the best winemakers in California and ask them who made the finest barrels, the name that jumps to their lips is usually D.B. Cooper. After a long battle with termites, Cooper could no longer stave off death. Cooper was eulogized by Michael Jordan as "a fellow king of hoops who knew how to perform under fire." Not that Michael Jordan. Cooper turned out perfect barrel after perfect barrel in a world filled with cheap junk foudre. He was our barrique Obama.
Michel Rolland (1947-2009) The wine world lost its most famous consultant in 2009, Michel Rolland. Michel consulted for over 30,000 wineries worldwide, most notably Chateau C'estmoulle-Plonque in Bordeaux and Blankcheckiet Estate in Napa Valley. In his prime, Rolland commanded as much as $25,000 for fifteen minutes of his time, a salary that placed him right up there with Bill Clinton, Heidi Fleiss and Sarah Palin's speech therapist. He was widely condemned for his contributions to the globalization of wine, though astute tasters could tell the differences between his wines by reading the labels. Rolland was responsible for countless 100 point wines, none of which any of you will ever taste, so stop your whining and go back to your crappy 92 point wines and feel miserable--100 point wines are too good for you and you know it. Rolland was killed in a freak hyperbaric chamber accident where he was micro-oxygenated.
Ann O'Smia (1953-2009) Ann O'Smia was one of the country's leading wine critics in her role as chief wine reviewer for the prestigious publication "Wine Extortionist." Ann is credited with creating the subtle form of magazine blackmail that asks wineries to pay to have their labels displayed next to their reviews. When that was a success, Ann cleverly asked that wineries pay "Wine Extortionist" not to publish lousy reviews of their wines. If a winery made horrible wine after horrible wine they were required to place a full-page ad. This practice continues today in every major wine publication--the full-page ad a sure sign that the winery produces crap. Ann's innovations made "Wine Extortionist" the most successful magazine of its era, and Ann its most powerful critic. It was said a bad review in "Wine Spectator" could cost you hundreds of cases of sales, but a bad review in "Wine Extortionist" only 75 bucks; and a great review in "Wine Spectator" cost you the respect of your peers, but a great review in "Wine Extortionist" only 75 bucks. Ann was killed in a rear-end collision with Marvin Shanken--no cars were involved. Ann in her usual tasting mode, wine contortionist.
And, happily, several bloggers died this past year, among them:
Hardy Stew, 45, whose blog about how wine affected his personal life, CirrhosisoftheLover, was the first to combine wine reviews with stories of his struggles with impotence. Though his blog was very popular, he struggled every day with getting it up.
Gary Vainasfuck, 48, of WineLiberryTV, whose illiterate and thoughtless ramblings about wine on his creepy video blog captured the imaginations of pathetic losers everywhere. Gary inspired an entire generation of wine drinkers to believe they too could be wine experts without knowing a single solitary thing about the subject. His death leaves no void.
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."