Thursday, February 4, 2010

Vornography




Every January the Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP) throw a tasting in my honor at Fort Mason in San Francisco. I'm honored that they do this for me, I don't see myself as worthy of the honor, I'm just a humble blogger who is frequently given accolades, awards, free trips, free wine and inexplicable admiration from an industry that deeply admires sycophants. The theme of this year's ZAP tasting in my honor was "Alder Zin You Can Drink," and, as I do every year, I agreed to allow others in the industry, as well as every day people, to attend. I don't have to do this, but I feel that wine is best when it's shared, and, besides, it's really lonely being the best blogger in the country.

There were fewer wineries this year, which I was not happy about and someone will pay, believe me, but the good news is that it meant I only had 740 wines to taste so I'd have an extra hour to come home and post pretty pictures on my blog. I'd really like to post pictures of kitties, I love kitties, especially in ribbons, but that wouldn't be right so I post trite photos by Andy Katz--get it? Katz? I post pictures of Katz! And you wonder why I win wine blog awards!

I was honored by the 220 or so wineries who chose to pour me wine at ZAP. Part of the enjoyment I get out of this annual event (last year's theme was "We All Live in a Yarrow Submarine") is the time I get to spend with all my many friends that produce Zinfandel all over the state, and even the world! People even come from Italy and South Africa to pour wines for me, hoping for a coveted 9.5 to 10 score, which I only give to 40% of the wines I taste so they are really going against the odds. This year I was honored to spend 11 seconds talking to Joel Peterson, the heroic producer and founder of Ravenswood, 8 seconds tasting with Larry Turley, and a full 15 seconds reveling in the stories of Kent Rosenblum. Did you know he's a veterinarian? When Dr. Rosenblum tells you you're a horse's ass for claiming you can taste and rate 740 wines in a day, you know he knows what he's talking about!

I was also asked to moderate a panel about Zinfandel and Social Media the Friday before the ZAP tasting. I am often asked to sit on panels because I'm the most respected wine blogger in the country and I can answer many questions that prospective bloggers constantly ask. For example, I am often asked what has made my blog so successful. It's not that big a secret. What makes Vornography so successful is that most people can't tell the difference between being prolific and being good. Choose prolific. And, always, they want to know how to get wineries to send them free samples. Here's where my journalism background comes in handy. Puff pieces. Wineries love puff pieces about themselves and I do that better than anyone else blogging today. You can't go wrong writing fluff, being a fluffer, about a winery owner fulfilling a dream. They eat it up, they post it on their website, they tweet about it, and they send me every release of wine they ever produce hoping I'll flatter them again. It's essentially like taking candy from trust fund babies.

Tasting 740 wines in six hours is no big deal, but, obviously I'm not superhuman enough to also take tasting notes. That would be ludicrous and, frankly, arrogant. Besides, no one reads tasting notes, tasting notes are just filler, like the white stuff in Twinkies, it's just there to distract you from what really matters, the delicious cake outsides. And it's all Zinfandel anyway. You already know what Zinfandel tastes like, it tastes kind of like berries. All you need to know is what I think about the wines as reflected in my scores. You already know my taste in wine, you've been faithfully following my blog for more than six years now, and if you're new here, well, take it from all of my regular longtime readers, my scores are valid and meaningful and come from my astonishing seven years of experience tasting wines. You can tell how valid my scores are by all the winery people kissing my butt in the comments section. I list the 740 wines grouped by my vague scores in such a way that it enlightens you as to which Zinfandels are worth your hard-earned money. The ones at the top. They tasted the best. Trust me.



62 comments:

Samantha Dugan said...

Fuck....I'm dying/

Marcia Macomber said...

Oh, man, I really needed that chuckle on such a gloomy day! What a wonderful reminder of why I couldn't get thru ZAP if I tried!

I couldn't manage 74 tastings in six hours let alone ten-fold that. If I were a prolific blogger, charged with rating so many wines that all 'tasted like berries,' I would approach them the same way I tackled those lovely standardized tests we got in school: Just make a pretty pattern in the rankings for each line item, scribbling in the little circle in each row. ...Some of them have to be right! ...Right?

Anonymous said...

I seem to find fewer and fewer Zapalicious wines at the ZAP Circus with each passing year. In fact, I think next year, I will pass on attending.
******
It's a shame so many vintners feel the need to push the envelope that it seems Zinfandel has more elements in common with prune juice than wine.
******
Your Vornographer pal does have a laundry list of 200 wines posted, as though his pronouncement of scores such as 9 out of 10 is somehow valuable to his adoring Vorographic readers. I find this sort of list as useful as if the fellow posted a ranking of his favorite street signs in Dinuba or ice cream flavors at a Baskin-Robbins. In fact, a ranking of Kelly Moore paint colors would be just as valuable, frankly.
******
The ZAP event seems to be confirming that $30 is yesterday's ten-buck Zinfandel and Paso Robles is quickly turning into "Lodi-Central Coast."
******
Old vines may be precious, but when they're planted in the furnace-like confines of Lodi, all I taste is "loathe thy Zinfandel."
******
At 16% alcohol and $40 a bottle, I can now understand why they call this event "ZAP."
Though after the first dozen wines, my list of memorable, high quality bottles was "ZIP." (I did find a handful of wines I liked, but I guess I'm more critical than that Tree fellow blogger.)
******
Anyway, I'm not nearly as Yarrow-minded as some.

ANONYMOUS I

Charlie Olken said...

I can't define Vornography, but I know it when I see it.

Zinfandel has not changed. We have. We (you, not me who has railed against prune juice for years) have finally decided that balance is more important than power or intensity.

At the risk of aggravating everyone else who posts here and embarassing myself, I have to admit that I find a number of Lodi Zins to be well-made, highly useful and priceworthy. I'll drop the topic now.

If you were Alder Yarrow, had a full-time day job, had very little income from blogging, how much time and energy would you put into tasting and writing about hundreds of wines?

I get it that Anon 1 won't go back to ZAP. Fortunately for ZAP, thousands of ordinary wine buyers will.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Puff Daddy, sir...The Hosemaster and myself tasted a number of Lodi Zins and found most to be klinkers .
*****
Zinfandel has changed over the years...many wineries turn out wines of significantly higher alcohol in an effort to get some character into their over-cropped wines. And many are totally unbalanced (ask Sam).
*****
The number of wineries in attendance this year was significantly less than last year and, though I departed shortly before the public tasting opened, it seemed to me there were fewer people lined up than in years past...
******

ANONYMOUS I

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puff Daddy,

It's satire. Alder wants to claim Best Wine Blogger status, preach at seminars, wear the mantle of wine authority, he's earned some.

If it isn't funny, that's another thing.

Samantha Dugan said...

Um, what's happening?! I'm going to step in between you two and say a thing or two, (if it helps to picture me topless then feel free)

Ron,
It is funny, funny as hell and would be no matter who it was aimed at but I fully understand your visceral reaction to tasting 200+ wines in such a short span of time, and then affixing a number to it. It is looney, retarded and does absolutely NO ONE any good...how is that 9 or whatever going to taste to the person that buys that wine based on such a lofty score? So here is my reminder to you...there is nothing saying that they will in fact buy that wine based on The Tree Guys stoopid number. Just like Pizza Hut and Subway win, "Best of" awards in our local rag papers, The Tree Guy wins the Wine blogging awards. The masses like medium Love...it's comfortable, makes them feel like they know just as much as the dude in charge...need I point out who was living in the white house for 8 years?! I know it chaps your hide, (I do have some ointment...just sayin') and I love it when you RAWR about it, just so happens I agree with you but...

Puff Daddy Sir,
Let me first say, I adore you..and I have ointment for you as well but, I have to kind of side with HoseMaster on this one, (just as he did with you on the whole sweet thing). We all have jobs and some of us make $0.00 dollars doing this blogging thing. We do it because we love wine, want to share and vent or rant against what we think is retarded. I know whose blog you would rather read, you aren't going to The Tree Guy to learn anything and seriously, some of those comments are just mind numbing, not that anyone there would notice. Is it an important blog, well sure...it clearly is and it gets the awards to prove it. I don't hate on the guy...biggest reason is I simply don't give a shit, been at this too long and reading that tooth rotting crap just reads like watching the stock market channel, yawn. I am reminded of what a wise man once said to me, "We should take wine seriously, not ourselves" and I think when you read a bunch of points from some blowhard that had a wine in his mouth for like two seconds before affixing a number value to it...well sweetheart, that is not taking wine seriously, that is simply self promotion, "Look how many wines I tasted in this amount of time!"...sigh. Kinf of a wanker move. Look I have been drug through the cellars of Burgundy, 19 appointments a day, tasting nothing but young wines but I assure you...teeth on fire, mouth raw...I took more time and took notes. This? This was like taking shots and is good for no one.

Backing away now...kissing cheeks and rubbing ointment residue into my skin.
Kisses guys
I adore you
Samantha/Sam

Charlie Olken said...

One of the dangers of the Internet is that someone is going to take comments way to seriously and find personal criticism in them. None meant, and if we cannot have different views on things, then what is the point.

The other is that satire is funny, but sometimes can miss the point.

Anon1 can like or not like whatever it is that he likes or does not like, and that is fine with me, and he knows it. I put myself out there on Lodi because I like some Lodi Zins for what they are, including Klinker Brick. He knows that because he reads CGCW and has seen the recent review of Klinker Brick. I know that view is not popular, but it was not a criticism so much as a different view. And by the way, Anon1, as truly funny as he can be, was not making jokes. There was no satire in his comments.

As for my comments on Yarrow, I just do not see how they rubbed anyone the wrong way. That short paragraph absolutely agreed that the guy is tasting at the rate of one wine per minute. He does it that way because he has no other way. And that is what I said. I do it a different way. It is damn near a month's work for me and my tasters to work through a couple of hundred Zins.

So, folks, and yes, my dear Sam, my comments were not argumentative. You want to see argumentative. Go see my comments about Tim Hanni over on Heimoff's blog.

Sorry to have offended.

Thomas said...

Well, I did get the satire, and enjoyed it. If I was asked to score it, I'd give this one line a 10 out of 10:

"...most people can't tell the difference between being prolific and being good. Choose prolific."

Spells out the wine blogging world concisely and accurately, the way the whole satire of the piece hammers home the self-serving nature of blogging.

Ron has exceeded his own talent!

Samantha Dugan said...

Sir Charles,
Don't know if anyone was offended, I was not...I cringed at what I thought, (this is why I would love to meet you cats, see your faces when we talk...) was an implied pat on the back for what those of us that really taste wine for a liiving, think is a colossal joke...and kind of insulting.

I remember being told to use my words carefully and correctly when talking about the sweetness level in wine and here this, "award winning wine blogger" gets to skip the whole pesky, "notes"...you know the ones that take some thought, education and time to develop...and slap a number after a wines name and people act as if he knows something. I just think that kind of post, the one that clearly pissed our HoseMaster off, and frankly the shit that Vandercereal does, well I think it takes away from those of us that have been honing our palates and really learning, (buy tasting, studying and using our words) about wine. Not to mention, if I were a winemaker and someone, "evaluated" my work like that...I would rip his sack off like a paper towel.

This kind of discussion is exactly why I come here and love having you smart dudes over on my stoopid blog, we can all add something, disagree, argue but in the end we all have a very real passion for wine and admiration for one another.

It's morning Charlie, still respect me?
Kisses,
Sam

1WineDude said...

I just want to say that I am deeply disappointed that the film
ZAPPED was not mentioned EVEN ONCE in this post or the ensuing comments.

Anonymous said...

SAM ,

Exactly!

You said it, Toots!

******

If a film critic posted solely an icon or notation of his/her "rating" of a film, with no explanation of the plot, theme, etc., most sensible people would not credit that movie reviewer as being capable or worthy of reading.
Of course, many bloggers (and those who read them) are not "sensible," either...hence the adoration for the work of someone who's "rated" a wine with a snapshot-of-a-taste in a circus such as ZAP.

******

I'm giving The Hosemaster an "11" on a ten point scale (he's got more cojones than a Lodi Zinfandel has alcohol to post such a wonderful item such as Vornography).

******

ANONYMOUS I

Thomas said...

Well, what does Ron, Sam, Charlie, anon, or anyone else expect from part time, self-appointed critics?

This is exactly the kind of situation that makes me crazy, me and others like me, who had the stupid notion that gaining "creds" by studying the subject meant something.

If I had known that all I had to do was to drink wine and then tell everyone else what I thought of the experience (not to mention of the wine) I could have saved myself 25 years and left room in my brain instead of cluttering it up by throwing in knowledge and experience.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hi Gang,

I won't go into a long essay on what I was trying to accomplish with this little piece of nonsense because I wasn't trying to accomplish anything but to make people laugh. It's about as broad a lampoon as I can write and far less offensive than the satirist in me would like.

But, briefly, I had an epiphany one day. I've spent a lot of time belittling Parker and Mondavi and Huckleberry Jackson and Wine Spectator, but now that wine blogs are becoming so critically powerful (in the bloggers' minds) I should spend more time examining them, satirizing them, from Alder to Wark to Heimoff to Dr. Vino and the contemptible Gary V. And so I shall, when I feel like it.

And, friends, I remember but a few weeks ago that dozens of wine bloggers were incensed about wine competitions and how invalid they are because of incompetent judges whose palates are too tired to accurately assess 125 wines in an 8 hour day! Where were those pinheads when Alder assessed 220 Zins in 6 hours? The cowards, and I mean cowards, say nothing because Saint Alder answers to a different standard.

Charlie,

Satire often does miss the point. And sometimes the readers of satire miss the point. I know the points I was trying to make, and I'd partially agree that I missed the mark here and there--that's the price for dashing off a blog rather than writing and rewriting, which I would do if I were getting any sort of pay for this crap. But, that said, my hunch is your words about satire were aimed at Anonymous 1 and the whole Klinker Brick thing. No matter, I utterly agree that we're all here to disagree, about Klinker Brick (someone said that at least the name is truth in advertising) and everything else. And when you're the HoseMaster you learn that when you dish it out you have to be able to take it, so I never take offense. And certainly not at anything you say, Charlie, I respect you far too much for that.

I honestly don't care if Alder wants to rate 220 Zins in a day on his blog--but the absurdity of it, the sheer, precious comedy of it is irresistible. The wineries thanking him is especially heartwarming and pathetic--I would think that would chafe your hide, Charlie. So I dashed this crap off.

Lastly, I think My Gorgeous Samantha's points are well-taken. But, Love, I get that no one is going to buy wine based on Alder's numbers; I've ranted about wine blogs' strictly imaginary influence endlessly. And that he's the top wine blogger is, for me, extremely lucky. Like when the Texan was President, it's a field day for comedy writers. And, of course, I adore you!

Thanks, Thomas, for the impressive score.

1WineDude, I never heard of ZAPPED the movie, but I'm scared.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Ron, too funny! Right on target, too. I only hope that one day I can be so successful as to end up in the cross hairs of your hose mastery.

I used to love looking at Vorn. Hypocrisy on the subject of snobbery, puffery and point proliferation soon cured my Vorn addition.

Or maybe I'm just jealous it takes me a full glass to reach the same appreciation some may achieve in .03 femtoseconds.

Thomas said...

Geez, I had to look up femtoseconds to be sure that it is indeed a word, and a measure of time. I think I'm developing Olkenbrains, a rare but commonly oldsters malady.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

Yeah, I know the feeling. I just kept thinking about how often I've had femtosloppyseconds.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Cabfrancophile,

Thanks for the feedback and the vocabulary lesson. I haven't read your blog, but I'll check it out.

And by the way, hypocrisy, puffery, snobbery and point proliferation is what makes a wine blog! Think of them as Everyman's eBob board.

Now I've got a list of people who WANT me to make fun of them. What am I doing wrong?

Lyle Fass said...

Never commented here but that was effin' hilarious and very on point. But Hosemaster it's the natural evolution of wine people. I went through a phase where I thought I was big shit if I tasted 100 wines in a day and then I realized later on its a waste of time. But it was a neccessary phase I had to go through to get me where I am now. Same with blogging. I had to post 40-60 times a month I thought to be relevant and heard. Now I don't give a rats ass about relevance or getting heard. I write principally for therapeutic reasons (Thanks mom and dad!), so I don't kill people.

I understand the satire and laughed my ass off but let's see where AY is in five years and if he is still in the same place . . . .then he hasn't evolved like the rest of us.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Ron, I'm working hard on the hypocrisy and snobbery. But no wineries are sending me free samples so I can blog up a favorable review with the Our Story page from their website pasted into the entry. I must need more points!

Thomas said...

Lyle,

Are you accusing us of evolution? You know full well that wine bloggers are created. Stop with the Darwinian stuff...

Cabfrancophile just gave me an idea. You know how wine bloggers are now stating at the bottom of their posts whether the wine was free, unsolicited, or (the least ever seen on a blog) bought at retail? We should all put at the bottom of our pots and comments: will write for free wine--please call.

Ron, I'll bet you are reveling in all these comments--all nine of us are out in full force.

Ed Thralls said...

Ratings like 9 of whatever are useless as everyone has already stated above. We need real descriptions of attributes and characteristics like Sadat X in this youtube video I've linked. He thends to rate wines based on "the fucked up factor" -- thanks to Lyle for enlightening me about this wine reviewer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSWzYyt87qk

Maybe you can use some of this material in a future post

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Lyle,

Yes, but you did you list all 100 wines with a score and no other remarks? Do you believe your own press?

And why, I wonder, was I the only one to question the stupidity of his ZAP post? Way too much asskissing in the blogosphere.

I only write for the sheer therapy of it as well. My hits have quadrupled from this post but I don't care and that's not at all why I wrote it. I wrote if for the simply joy of creating, and making myself laugh.

Where will Alder be in five years? Maybe he'll only taste 120 wines at ZAP.

Cabfranco,

See my post about The Million Point Scale.

I've received 10 bottles of wine as samples in 18 months. If you appear to know what you're talking about, and can be critical, no marketing person in the world will send you wine--ask Tom Wark. Kiss butt, Twitter, and post flattering and insipid tasting notes matched with music and the UPS guy will soon hate you.

Thomas,

I don't know. It does sort of speak to something that this post is so popular. Not my talent, I'm sure.

Lyle Fass said...

Ron,

I lie to myself more often than not, so it's a little complicated if I believe my own press. Neurotic NYC self-hating Jew here. By the way the satire was on point. More than often I find with great satire, if people don't get it, you've accomplished you're task.

I never read much of Vorn as it just bored me plain and simple. But I feel for AY as I know where he's at and I hope he'll get over the hump. I remember he posted on FB that Jancis just-emailed him and how fucking awesome he felt about himself. The self-congratulatory facebrag made me wanna puke. With wine blogging, comments, and self-reference are so prevalent it makes me wanna puke. I will admit I don't read any blogs anymore. Just mine and occassionally Asimov. I used to, but just got bored. I mean I am writing frigging' movie reviews on my blog now I am so tired of wine blogging.

Thomas,

Evolution happens. Deal, or shall I send you a first class ticket to a certain museum in Kentucky?

Ed,

Glad I could turn you onto the best wine critic that has ever walked the earth. Send a case to his place!

Marcia Macomber said...

For Sam, Ron, Charlie, Thomas et al:

As the lone (?) non-expert, non-trained palate (still trying, but I'll never get there) reader, I chuckled, shook my head and closed that silly post with the list of Olympic scores without reading but a couple of sentences. Too boring. Too serious. Nothing unique to say.

Wine is supposed to be fun, right? What makes the occasional review here (and at other blogs noted above) more interesting to read is the uniqueness of the voice. I don't think anyone else on the planet writes reviews as unusually as Sam or Ron. You never know what's gonna come next. And that factor makes them memorable...not a laundry list.

Love live satire!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Lyle,

Sadly, there are far far worse wine blogs than Vinography, but most of them have very few readers that aren't simply other pathetic bloggers and their Facebook friends.

So if you're tired of wine blogging, why do it? This is the question I ask myself five times a week. My answer to myself, "I'll find out after I do it a few more times."

Charlie Olken said...

Tom P << I think I'm developing Olkenbrains, >>

I wish you the best. You are one lucky guy, but you will pay the price for it down the road. I have found that the best antidote for Olkenbrains is Wild Turkey.

Ron--

Alder has been criticized numerous times for his tasting pattern, and it did bug me a lot because it lacked any sort of intellectual rigor. But it simply alien to what I do, and I am no longer bothered by it. Life it too short.

I do give Alder great credit for gathering a large audience, by the way. That cannot not free him or anyone else, with big audience or small, from the reach of The Hosemaster.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Darling,

Without satire I wouldn't even try to do a wine blog. My life is basically one long satire.

Charlie,

It's more than that to me. When Vinography passes for quality in wine journalism it denigrates all the years and years of hard work people like you, and Heimoff, and others, have done. That Alder has more of an audience on a daily basis than your brilliant publication is scandalous and disgusting. You are right, life is far too short to get worked up about it. But satire is about bursting the bubbles of the influential and pompous, pointing to the foolishness inherent in the human ego, and it's a formidable weapon even in incompetent hands like mine. And if just a couple of folks see Vinography a little differently then it was worth the 45 minutes it took me to write Vornography.

Arthur said...

...now I know why I have been so reluctant (resistant?) to post anything (that had substance or thought behind it) on my blog since December 1st, 2009....

HMoW - the most feared wine blog on all of the Internetses (not like that Wine-ing 2.0)

Thomas said...

Ron, The bent for my blog has always been to try to impart information rather than advice. For that, I receive few wines to review. The few that I do receive, I've never asked for, because I don't necessarily review wines.

If you ran a winery, would you send wine to people who take the industry or the blogging world to task? You'd have to be an idiot not to understand that sending wine to those who review it is the way to get a review.

As for the reason and value behind blogging. I struggle with that regularly. On the Internet, the great information medium, facts and information have been the first casualties.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

If I worked for a Marketing department of a winery I would only send wine to people who reviewed wines, and favorably. If I owned a winery I would send samples to folks I perhaps felt actually knew something about the product I work so hard to produce. But your point is well-taken. And your blog is informative and very useful to those who actually want to learn about wine.

I once had a landlord who made his fortune in the software business, his company sold Internet security software, say to me, "You know what the Internet is? It's the death of truth."

Lyle Fass said...

Hosemaster,

I blog for therapy only. That's why I keep doing it. Same reason I kill myself at the gym. It's all therapy.

Thomas said...

"You know what the Internet is? It's the death of truth."

Ron, ask your friend if I can use that one.

The best way to spread any form of propaganda is to first institutionalize the vehicle--and control it, too. Secondly, make sure those who use it are ill-informed so that they can't slip in truth inadvertently.

Do I sound cynical? You fuckin' bet I am...but you knew that, Ron. You are one of us.

Ruth said...

RonDonkey...thank you.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

My former landlord is a very successful and wealthy guy, and his remark was the first time I'd heard that thought expressed, this was about two years ago, and its insight immediately struck me. Go ahead, use it, the more people who recognize its truth, the better.

This post has been a real strange ride.

Anyone else wondering if Alder's read it?

Charlie Olken said...

Ron--

I have thought about your comments for a bit, and have these thoughts.

Journalism is replete with folks who have taken shortcuts or offered less than carefully thought out analysis of products. I am guessing that the reason Alder is so popular has very little to do with his "tasting notes". He was early to the game, established a beachhead, a following, managed some business ties that help such as his relationship with Food Buzz.

He was the pre-eminent blogger for a long time. I am guessing also that he is no longer pre-eminent. Folks who have more time and more professional experience have passed him in content, even though none of the others ever attemtpt to review more than a few wines or do not review wines at all.

But, my third guess of the day is this. Given that almost no one else in the wine blogosphere offers such instant analysis, Alder does not get hammered by most of his audience for it. They also do not pay him for it. Sometimes you get what you pay for.

And my fourth and final guess is that Alder knows that equation very well but cannot do much about it at the moment.

But, did you ever think that Vornogaphy would lead to all this. Obviously, you have hit a nerve, and that is the point of satire after all. Well done.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Charlie,

I wouldn't take issue with any of your assumptions. You're an astute observer of this whole wine journalism/wine blogging scene. I write jokes. If anything, this is a miniature case of The Emperor Has No Clothes, and I'm the Fool who points it out.

To be frank, Vornography took off because 1WineDude tweeted about HoseMaster, Alice Feiring posted about Vornography on her Facebook page, and the whole thing just snowballed. It's been a humbling lesson in the power of Social Media for the ol' HoseMaster. How many of those folks who showed up for Vornography return is anybody's guess. It's sort of been like when you work in a restaurant and it's Valentine's Day. Hundreds of folks show up for the occasion, none of whom you've ever seen before and most of whom will never return. But you still have your regulars. Thank God for the regulars.

I think I have the absolute best and smartest regulars, and certainly the funniest. You, Samantha, Anonymous 1, Thomas, Marcia, K. Mahoney, Erin, D J R-S, I love your company. I invite anyone else interested to come be a regular here too.

Charlie Olken said...

Ron--

You and I have talked privately about satire and the demands it makes on the writer.

It is one thing, I think to make fun of Huckleberry, but another to tag the Emporer for his lack of clothes when obviously others are thinking the same thing.

There is no other blog in the winosphere that has the bite of the HMW. That is why we send you so much money every month.

No wait. That is why we don't.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puff Daddy,

Ain't that the point of The Emperor's New Clothes, that everyone knows but everyone's afraid to say anything? Though I hate this analogy now because I can't get the thought of Alder naked out of my head. He really ought to wear pants to ZAP next year.

No, I don't make a nickel off HoseMaster. But I am thinking of charging people to make me stop! That should be lucrative. Maybe I can get Huckleberry to give me his first born blogger, Hardy Huckleberry.

Thomas said...

Ron,

Can we make the fee a dual--if paid to do so, I'll stop, too.

Kind of turns the world upside down, doesn't it. Was a time when I used to get paid to write; yet another problem that the Internet has created. Start ups with a business plan to make writers grovel.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

Hell, I was hoping to make it a package deal with me, Alder, Heimoff and Wark, but you're welcome to join too. But then Charlie would be homeless.

No, wait, we could all just hang around and drive Samantha crazy on her blog! She'd pay us to leave, I'm pretty sure.

This could turn into a real Bonanza. I'll be Little Joe.

Erin McGrath said...

Oh, my god, help!! I wish CAPS LOCK was big enough for a huge HA! But I'll have to stick with just...HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Can you hear me all the way down here??!

Thomas said...

Ron,

We get paid to pull out, and Charlie stops getting paid so that he can start a blog. Simplest solution I've ever devised.

PS: Forget Wark; I hear he's started making ad money up the wazoo...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Erin Love,

About time you showed up! Look what happens when you're late. You end up on the bottom of the pile. Beneath some pretty shady characters.

Thomas,

I wonder why no one wants to advertise on HoseMaster... My wazoo is completely empty.

Samantha Dugan said...

Jesus...44 comments?! Ron My Love, will you still remember me when?

Pay you cats to stay away? I'd just be happy to stop sending you guys those checks that I do just to keep you reading.

Anonymous said...

It looks like some of Alder's readers agree with you. He is getting pummeled for his ratings, as well as his approach.

Fame is fleeting on the Internet. Keep up the sass.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

I don't need the checks any more. May I take my fee in trade?

You know your blog kicks my blog's ass when it comes to readers. And talent. And wit.

However, if you don't interview me for Sans Dosage...

I love you.

Eric V. Orange said...

I'm hooked. I'm reading. I will be back. Keep posting funny shit Ron.

EVO

ANONYMOUS I said...

If the guy who writes the Vornography site is an "Emperor," do we have to address him as "Norton"???
******
I'm guessing, then, we'll have to address Samantha as Her Majesty or Your Highness.
******
Puff Daddy's "four guesses of the day" are spot on...especially the notation of "you get what you pay for." (and that's correct only if you're lucky!)
******
Please don't confuse "journalists" with Alder Yarrow, the scribes at The Wine Spectator and most wine "bloggers." I'll bet Jerry Mead is rolling over in his cask (or casket)...
******

ANONYMOUS I

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Anon 1,

I had a Mead turnover for breakfast! What a coincidence.

I thought it was Parker who was dead. Man, I need to stop reading blogs.

Samantha Dugan said...

If I don't interview you what?! You gonna spank me....

Charlie Olken said...

Sam,

If that is what it takes, I won't interview you either.

Charlie

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Wow, these comments have come a long way. Time to restore a little dignity.....................................................................................Nah. Too late for that.

In answer to your question, Yes.

I Adore You

ANONYMOUS I said...

It's Parker's palate that's DEAD TIRED.

Anonymous I

Samantha Dugan said...

Anon 1,
You said it Toots!

Thomas said...

anon,

Mead indeed would be frothing at the so-called journalists that stalk the Internet these days.

I miss Jerry.

Charlie Olken said...

The idea of Jerry Mead popping up in the conversation of Vornagraphy strikes me as a little odd.

He was, of course, the antithesis of Vornography in his political discourse, which was almost non-stop, but his tasting notes were something else again. Jerry rarely met a wine he did not like or a high score he could not give.

And when the wine establishment finally got all over him about an unending string of 90-95 point scores for wines in his newspaper columns for wines that advertised in his journal, he adopted a two-tier system for inexpensive wines.

It was OK to score an inexpensive wine at 88 because he had a second score for value and it invariably was in the 90s.

When asked about this, he said, my publisher thinks my column is more popular when I give more high scores. So, in some ways, I think Jerry is not a source of good comparison to Vornagraphy when it comes to tasting notes.

But where Jerry shined, and why we loved him so much regardless, was in his commentaries. He was the first and the fastest to rip silly Govt regulations wherever they came from. He stood up for the ordinary wine drinker faster and better than anybody else.

At times, his political views got in the way of his wine commentary, and he was often scolded for that by his peers. But, a funny thing happened. We all came to admire Jerry as a true Libertarian, not a phony conservative masquerading as one, but a man of principal who would, on the one hand, hate liberal intrusions into his life and on the other would also defend a woman's right to choose, have found offense in the Patriot Act.

Yes, I too miss Jerry Mead, not for his wine acumen, which by the way he never claimed, but for his tireless defense of the good things that wine contributes to our life. Think about the ferocity of Tom Wark on the Three-Tier-System and then apply that to any and all extra regulations like the inability of wineries to comment about the health positive aspects of wine drinking while having to carry warning labels, and you have the side of Jerry Mead that made him a prince to his peers.

To me, in a somewhat different but willing to take on the establishment way, the Hosemaster reminds me of Jerry.

To be continued,

Thomas said...

Hosemaster = Jerry: hmmm. Let me think on that.

Nah, different animals. Jerry went straight for the jugular. Had no time (or maybe imagination) for parody or satire.

Hey Charlie, here's one for you. Jerry told me that I was the first and maybe the only writer he ever paid to do a piece for the Wine Trader. Maybe he was also good at stroking writer egos, and it worked ;)

Re, Mead's wine preferences: I always viewed him as a libertarian in that sphere, too. But I also tookbhi9mn to task for even bothering with scoring wine, as I'm sure you would have guessed.

Thomas said...

what the hell were those symbols doing inside "took him to task?"

Kevin Hamel said...

Modern Zinfandel is horribly misunderstood. It is no more meant to be drunk straight out of the bottle than Campbell's soup is meant to eaten straight out of the can. It is meant to be cut by half with water and 500 mg of aspirin. Except for the slight extra cost of the aspirin, this renders a $30.00 wine a mere $15.00 for the 750 ml. And if the entire 1500 ml is consumed, it has the added benefit of inducing extra urination, which helps to cleanse the body...

Charlie Olken said...

Tom--

The notion of you and Jerry has me in stitches. Tom and Jerry. Were you are cartoon or a libation?

You are indeed right about the way Jerry wrote when he was going after something or someone. He did, as you know, have a very good sense of humor, including about himself. That was why he could tell the story about why he gave such high scores. Jerry was into grade inflation before it became a work of art as practiced today. But, yes, his writing style on those occasions had little to do with satire or parody.

He was a self-confessed Libertarian and very proud of it, by the way. And even though his methods of assault were different from HMW's, they share the mantle for being willing to go after things that need going after.

And before you point out the differences in what they went after, I will absolutely agree that Jerry never went after a winery or another writer or anyone who had a buck that Jerry could make.

Still, how many writers can you name who actually go after anything, especially before the Internet gave rise to so many new and untethered voices?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas and Charlie,

I didn't know Jerry Mead personally but I certainly remember the Wine Trader and its "optimistic" scores. Maybe that's why I came up with the Million Point Scale. Imagine what Jerry Mead would have done with that.

My primary purpose is to have fun with the whole wine blogosphere and the wine business. My wife always tells me my posts are filled with too many "inside" jokes, but I argue that a joke is a joke and stands on its own whether it's inside or not. That may be or may not be. But I do love to go after the hypocrisy and sanctimoniousness that offends me, and make people laugh along the way. I hope with me and not at me.

Kevin,

Ah, yes, Zin as grape concentrate, sort of like what the astronauts drink--Wine Tang.

Are you the winemaker Kevin Hamel? I used to buy your wines when I was a sommelier. Either way, welcome to my flying circus.