Friday, January 29, 2010

Notes On a Sellout's Book

HoseMaster of Wine is a lot easier than I make it look. Wine and the business of wine are subjects I've spent my life studying, and the results are clear. I've wasted my life. What I should be writing about, the subject most wine bloggers find endlessly interesting, is myself. And I would, only my life is duller than the finish on a wine from Sterling Vineyards, and my readership is already plummeting off a cliff like a Toyota Camry with its accelerator stuck. (I don't know, why is it that Toyotas suddenly make me nostalgic for kamikazes?) So I won't bore you, all nine of you, with stories of my day, my past, my hopes, my dreams, but I will bore you with a bunch of random thoughts that have been rattling around in my subpar brain.

The recent Gomberg Fredrikson report (isn't a Gomberg made up of frozen gom?) about the California wine industry states that sales of California wine over $15 have nosedived in the past year. Much has been made of this, but, really, isn't the only rational conclusion that people really only drink wine to get drunk? That for all the tortured tasting notes printed in endlessly monotonous wine magazines, for all the "reviews" faithfully posted by the parade of witless wine bloggers (too many to list here, but for the very nadir of witless check out WineHarlots--makes you want to ralph nadir), for all the wine tastings, and food and wine pairings, and pomp and circumstances of the wine trade, all consumers really want is to get drunk. That's the only conclusion that makes sense. They're not drinking less, they're drinking cheaper. So they don't give a crap about numbers or reviews or quality--they need to drink themselves into oblivion. And they don't care where it's from--Argentina, Bulgaria, South Africa, New York, all those places where English is a foreign language--so long as it's cheap and has at least 14% alcohol. All the damn ratings in the world can't sell your $40 Syrah right now--it's a $15 world. 96 point Merlot for $35? Who cares? Trader Joe's has wine for $5.99, and it tastes just fine. Who the hell cares about your wondrous Corvina from a tiny estate in Valpolicella that tastes like sunset at the Algonquin round table (not a pizza restaurant, by the way)? The consumers have loudly and overwhelmingly voted in favor of a cheap drunk. Oh crap, I have to stop reading Tom Wark.

I've always had this theory that wines are more reflective of their winemaker than they are of their terroir. For example, when you meet a typical Australian winemaker you begin to understand why his Shiraz is so loud and forward and high in alcohol. So is he. It's weird how this works. A thoughtful and contemplative winemaker tends to make wines that are subtle and understated and, well, thoughtful, if a wine can be thoughtful. Which it can't. Loud people make loud wines. Fat people make wines that are often overblown. It goes on and on. Just sayin' Oh crap, I have to stop reading Samantha Dugan.

Not that I check it obsessively, like Lady MacBeth washing her hands or Oprah working the
panties out of her crack, but I notice my readership is declining. Is that because I'm not compulsive about Twitter or Facebook? Or is it because everyone is tired of my twaddle? Or is it because I suck? Maybe it's because I insult bloggers so often, and the only people who read blogs are other bloggers. Should I start being nice to other bloggers? Hang around other blogs and post fascinating comments? "Gosh, Steve, Wine Enthusiast is so powerful, and your events are so important! Thank you for reminding us." "1WineDude, man, I'll contribute a dollar if you'll just shut up." "Gary V., how does it feel to be the Millennial's Reverend Ike, only way less pretty?" Or should I just quit?

Why is it that wine blogs make me like wine less and not more?


Marcia Macomber said...

Good Lawd, dear, don't drive off the deep end yet!

Sterling? The only other winery more manipulative of your touring time is Péju! (Did I just say that out lout?!) The finish of their wines...Like Disney's Alice in Wonderland ride: lots of fun for a moment and then 'Hello, Sunshine' back to the real world (unlike It's a Small World - no body, no middle ground -- just an endless finish you're not interested in.

Don't we all need to stop reading Mr. Wark's posts? But we come to the watering hole as if it's the only one for a hundred miles -- even when Tom only wants to talk about his love of the Manhattan...over and over again....we're STILL there.

As for Ms. Dugan, it goes without saying, we won't leave. We're addicted...for very, very different reasons, my dear! (No more "goodbyes," Sam!)

Diminishing readership, my ass! (OK, you probably check the counter.) It's been a crappy, rainy January (and bloody hell, it just started again!) when everyone's depressed seeing their Xmas credit card bills. You'd think they'd all come in for a laugh, but....

Seven readers...nine... You and Sam have a Seven-of-Nine thing going, and I ain't touchin' numerical reference any further here in the comments section...What will happen we you officially get ranked 68 instead of 69? Merde! Coveted numbers will be wrecked, Mon Dieu!

And what's with the regular font changes here in the post?

Marcia Macomber said...

Crap. Hit the Publish before I 'spelt' checked.... 'Loud' not 'lout' and oh, and end-para mark got missed. (Sheesh, what a little glass of Arneis does to one's typing!)...Oh, and that's an 'if' instead of a 'we.' Sorry for the sloppies.

1WineDude said...

I would really like my $1 now, please...

Samantha Dugan said...

You say fat people and loud people and then mention me....ouch, just sayin'.

I am in Dallas visiting my beloved Amy but I just could not stay away. I am madly in love with this crazy blog...if you were to go away it would break my heart, please don't break my heart helps to picture big sad eyes, and a pouty lip.

El Jefe said...

"You can't lose with the stuff you use!" Keep the faith, baby.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Love,

I suffer from horrible existential angst, an incurable disease humans derived from Siamese cats. The slog of doing a blog, and trying to be original and funny, is a bit like being naked knee deep crushing grapes for Port. I don't know why it's like that, but for some reason my butt is stained purple.

My Gorgeous Samantha,

I'd never break your heart intentionally. And I know how you feel. Without Sans Dosage, I'd be seriously stricken with loneliness. So we'll just see...


What are you doing here? Heimoff is down the street. I don't get visits from blog royalty like you. Steve and Alder and Tom and Dr. Vino and Gary V., well, they don't come 'round here and mingle with the wannabes. I mean, hey, this is like George Clooney going on "Jackass." Thanks for dropping by.

El Jefe,

Man, you have to stop Tweeting.

Thomas said...

Hose job,

As you are fully aware, every blogger goes through the doubt routine--and every blogger should, since most can prove their doubts to be true. To do that, they just have to make another blog entry, read it and realize, as you have.

Still, humor is subjective but I'll give yours--reluctantly--an 89.

Hang in there, you'll make the magic 90 one day, maybe after the top wine blogger raters actually develop a sense of humor!

Oh, I know: reading their rating lists almost tells us that they have a sense of humor, but we all know why ratings are the way they are...

Joe Roberts, CSW said...

Man, that's the first and only George Clooney comparison I'm ever gonna get!

Eric V. Orange said...

Too funny. Keep throwing those insults out there. They'll come around. They can't help it.


Anonymous said...

I'm here! That makes 10. Or 9, if I was considered part of that crew.

I hope you're just having an off day, because I don't know what my Google Reader would look like without your posts to cheer it (and me) up.