Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Le Petomane of Wine


I asked a friend at a small winery to allow me to read a typical note from a wine blogger asking for samples. He receives several solicitations every month, even more right before Christmas. Here is the letter he gave me.



To Whom It May Concern,

I know that it's going to be a little hard for you to believe that you're actually hearing from me. No one ever expected Ed McMahon to send them a letter from Publisher's Clearing House
either. And few women ever expected to get to sleep with Warren Beatty, though none of the thousands who did complained, even if they did have to put Vaseline in their eyes to make him look younger. It's just not every day you have contact with a celebrity. But I assure you it's true. I really am contacting you for samples of your wonderful wines. I know how much excitement this will cause you, and I certainly know that what's running through your mind now is the amount of sales a review from my wine blog, LePetomaneofWine, will generate, but I urge you to calm down, take a deep breath, good, now think about hiring some extra help for your shipping department before the surge.

As you undoubtedly have heard from other winery owners in your appellation, wine blogs are now the most important source for reviews and sales. Sure, once upon a time it was the media, but those days are long past. Wine lovers have caught on to the fact that 40% of the wineries Parker critiques are fictional, not to mention 100% of the numbers. And, of course, Parker is dead and his recent reviews were generated randomly by machines formerly used for tabulating Florida elections. Wine Spectator only makes money giving restaurants awards for their fictional wine lists in much the same manner every kid on the soccer team gets a trophy no matter how spastic they are. No one believes Wine Spectator numbers any more, anyway--not when you've got professional wine bloggers reviewing the very same crap! Do I even have to mention Wine and Spirits Magazine? Have their reviews ever sold wine? Have you ever met anybody, anywhere who subscribes to Wine and Spirits? If your leg had their circulation you'd have to have it amputated. No, my friend, more and more the wine buying public is turning to wine blogs, and my blog, in particular, for their wine buying advice. But you already knew this, and that's why your hand is shaking right now, as you read this, knowing that this is your chance. I know, I know, it's hard for me to believe too.

Mind you, I didn't ask for this sort of power and responsibility. I began my wine blog six months ago on a whim. Well, to be honest, so many people have urged me to write about wine, so many of my friends and family turn to me for wine advice knowing that I've learned a lot in the past six years I've been an avid wine drinker, I only felt it was fair to let everyone in on my expertise. When you think about it, it makes perfect sense. It saves them time and money. Honestly, we should apply the same logic to the Health Care Debate. Next time you need surgery, get it from a second year medical student--hell, they know plenty, certainly more than you, what could go wrong? See what I mean? Training and knowledge are vastly overrated. It's opinions that matter. Best of all, it's guaranteed positive opinions that matter! And, here's a bonus, on the off chance that I don't like your wine you can always say I wasn't really qualified to judge it--try saying that about Sunset Magazine! OK, bad example.

You may be wondering just what kind of audience, and how large an audience, my blog, LePetomaneofWine, attracts. Since I began my blog six months ago my numbers have increased tenfold from just my parents reading it! And if you look at my Facebook page you'll see that I have more than 300 friends, many of them part of the local prison population. I am a prolific user of Twitter, and after I taste your wine samples you will see the Twittersphere come alive with comments I post like, "Want a great Syrah tonight, check out my blog!" Wait! What was that noise? Oh, sorry, it's the sound of cash registers ringing--always happens when I Tweet. And what does all this cost you? The price of two bottles of each of your wines (one to review, one to sell on Craigslist) and shipping! I know, it seems too good to be true.

You must know that ignoring wine blogs is foolish. Everyone in the wine business knows this by now. Read any wine blog! It's right there in print--wine blogs are the most influential force in the wine business today. It's on the Internet, and you can't say it on the Internet if it's not true. Except on Facebook, which is all about lying. Why waste your time courting critics, risking the chance that someone will detect the many flaws in your wine? I'm not going to notice. The only flaw I notice in any wine is the price tag. Why waste all that time and money traveling to wine shops? They have no influence! Wine shops are just like gas stations, people go there to fill up, not get advice on how to drive! One mention on my blog and those wine shop buyers will be phoning you begging for wine! Don't be the one winery left behind by the Social Media revolution! And don't settle for any second-rate wine blogs either. OK, they're all second-rate, don't settle for any third-rate wine blogs.

I eagerly anticipate your case of samples. Please note that I do not guarantee I will review your wines on LePetomaneofWine. But you can trust that I will drink them.

Sincerely
Le Petomane



49 comments:

DailyPour said...

Does "Le Petomane" taste wine through his .... you know....?

Joe Roberts, CSW said...

Great. Now I need to find another template for those letters.

Steve said...

Oh man, I can only hope that the stuff in the middle section that sounded really familiar was indeed in reference to something I wrote this week. Being skewered, even anonymously and subtly, would be an honor.

abc said...

Wait, that looks just like an email I got the other day asking for a copy of the latest Clive Coates.

Arthur said...

People who religiously watch "ER", "House", "Mystery Diagnosis", "Medical Incredible", "Dr. G. Medical Examiner", "Monsters Inside of Me", "I shouldn't have lived", "Real stories of trauma ER" or "Scrubs" (the most, all-around, realistic medical show on TV) know tons more than even a THIRD year med student. When I have a difficult, confounding, intractable case, I call up the president of the local fan club of one of those shows and refer my patients there. I'd like to be able to say what their success rates are, but most referrals are, unfortunately, "lost to follow- up" but we all know that "experience" (doing something for an extended period of time) is the same as having skill, knowledge, competence and expertise.

Samantha Dugan said...

I knew I was doing it wrong. No wonder I never get sent samples.

John M. Kelly said...

Hosemaster - I have yet to hear from Le Petomane and lord knows - I want to! I have a hundred cases or so of 2009 Rosé I need to move, so if I send two bottles to every wine blogger, I'm absolutely sure to get a fantastic aggregate score from all of them, and the wine will all be gone so I won't have to actually sell any! And when all two or three people who read that stuff call to order I can say it's sold out, and they will tell all six of their friends how rare and in-demand my wines are, and we'll be set for life!

Arthur - I can see the tabloid headline: "Wisdom Of Crowds Cured My Cancer!" Where can I sell that story online? Drudge Report? "It's all true!"

drinknectar said...

Hey, I resemble that remark (pick one).

Arthur said...

John:
Try Jenny McCarthy's foundation....
Or who ever is affiliated with Suzanne Sommers...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Funsters,

No, this is a real letter, I swear. I don't write this good. And don't be too quick to poo-poo Le Petomane's tasting skills.

Oh, man, this is going to get ugly.

Arthur,

The only good patient is a dead patient. Isn't that the Hippocratic Oath?

John,

Hey, thanks for chiming in! Jamantha is going to be so jealous.

You know, with any luck, every idiot winery in California will hire a blogger as their Social Media Director and then they won't be able to solicit samples. Of course, more wine bloggers will appear in their places because Nature abhors a vacuum, and most bloggers suck.

Amy,

The Internet has created a culture of people who want everything for free. But I will give a nice review to that Clive Coates book, I promise.

Dude,

In your picture you resemble Le Petomane. He could really play his axe too.

Arthur said...

Ron: Only if you did not contribute to their current condition in any way....

ANONYMOUS I said...

Great post, Hosemaster, sir!
*****
I'd be surprised if this letter was, in fact, real. Most bloggers don't know their ass from their elbow.
*****
I suspect the letter was really written by some blogger who was merely farting around using the pseudonym of Petomane.
*****
I've seen the Petomane web site and found many postings stink to high heaven, whilst on others, he wasn't just whistling Dixie!
*****

ANONYMOUS I

Puff (no not that "puff") Daddy said...

Did you know that the real Le Petomane could play the Marseillaise through his use of certain gasses?

Of course, if he were to write tasting notes out his ass, he would not be the first winewriter to do so. I believe we have evidence of that in the MS Conspiracy. I mean, if one can pass corks, one can easily pass tasting notes.

Thomas said...

Glad most know the name and the fame of Le Petomane, or the foul joke (not to mention the Judds Hill video) would have been lost to the airwaves.

While reading, I could not get the image of two particular bloggers out of my head. How cynical of me ;)

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

What two blooggers (double o's intentional) are you speaking of?

By the way, everyone, I got lots of positive feedback from wineries about this post. It's funny how they praise blooggers in public but in private have much scorn for them.

Charlie,

Le Petomane is one of my all-time favorite performers. Man, I wish I could have seen his act. Now all we have is Vaynerchuk, who also expels a mixture of mysterious gasses.

Thomas said...

Ron,

Best for me not to say--don't need the hate mail that you already get for both of us.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas,

Hate mail from wine blooggers is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

Samantha Dugan said...

C'mon Thomas...least give us a hint!

Thomas said...

Ron,

Hate mail makes me cry--because it's writers usually can't right, have bad grammer and cant spel.

Charlie Olken said...

Well, Mr. P,. mail from folks who can't write and can't spell is just what the hate mail section of this blog is all about.

Come on, guy, fess up.

Does the word for this post have anything to do with the topic at hand? It is SMELYWRI

Thomas said...

So, you are all gossips, huh!

What's the information worth to you???

Can't secure a dime writing online; maybe I can raise money calling others out.

Samantha Dugan said...

Thomas,
Now if that were true Our HoseMaster must be rollin' in dough...

Charlie Olken said...

OK,Tom, you wuss. Just give us the initials.

Samantha Dugan said...

C'mon Thomas....Ron will give you a peak at his head gear.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

I guess I'm the only one around here willing to name names.

If anyone cares any more, I actually got the inspiration for this post from Paul Gregutt's blog where he mentioned an anonymous small winery that contacted him wondering what to do with all the requests for samples it was receiving from blooggers. Paul was took kind to say ignore them.

OK, Thomas, were the two blogs WineWhore and WineHarlots?

Arthur said...

Before we get too full of ourselves deriding the bloggers, I'd like to ask everyone here to do some math and figure out just how much money is needed to purchase at retail all the wines a publication reviews. Look at the outlay when you buy only one bottle and when you buy two.

I know for a fact that Spectator (and probably others) hit up wineries (directly and indirectly) to submit samples. It may be seen by some as twisting wineries's arms to "play ball" but while I don't think they do a good job of it (philosophical point of contention on my part) wine publications with wine reviews/critiques as a steady part of their content are in the business of consumer goods evaluation (in principle, see my preceding point of contention). They are not in the business of supporting retail wine establishments. Business being business, margins matter.

Anonymous said...

Arthur, please tell us that you are just kidding.

Samantha Dugan said...

Aw, Arthur...now why you wanna go poop on our playground party?! Don't go all "Hall Monitor" on us now. Comparing bloggers to The Spectator or The Advocate or the brilliantly written Connoisseurs' Guide, (Um, yes Charlie, those would be my lips planted on your ass) is just silly....and I say that as a blogger, (and a retailer by the way, let's keep us in business okay?). No one is paying for our silly musings or reviews. The very idea that someone that writes, (and I say that with a " ") about Bogle Chardonnay while they like knit and watch Harry Potter are mentioned in the same breath as specialists kind of chaps my hide too. The fact that wineries see fit to send these people samples is down right laughable in some cases.

There are some very passionate cats out there...thumping away, tasting, writing and putting those samples to good use but...there is a shitload of folks that don't know shit, act like they are the shit and some of us don't mind giving them...well, shit.

Now quit it darlin' or the boys are going to send me to give you a wedgie.
Kisses
Sam

Arthur said...

Anon.
Just pointing out a fact.
Sam:
For a wedgie, the wearing of underwear is required.

Thomas said...

OK, Thomas, were the two blogs WineWhore and WineHarlots?

Ron, I've read only one of those, and yes it is one of the two that I thought about.

Arthur,

I'm ashamed of you. Sam's point is THE point, as was Ron's point: free wine going to freeloaders without a clue...that's the point. And some bloggers make a point of pointing it out--the wineries that send them wine ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Samantha Dugan said...

And we have 30! Fuck now I'm in to go for forty...anyone else thinking it is wicked funny that there are 30 comments on a post...on a wine blog no less, that is featuring the name of a cat that was famous for farting on command?! I have the giggles...like real bad.

I just keep thinking about the poor bastard that looks at this and says, "Oh 30 comments, this must be valuable"....(giggling) okay I need to eat, this Pstis, (Yeah Charlie my lips on your backside smell of licorice) is making me loopy.

Arthur said...

OK OK OK already!
Yes,I get Ron's point. And I agree with it.
Yes, wineries sending samples to know-nothings with a google account are getting what they pay for.
Forget I brought it up.
Back to my Guigal and El Pollo Loco....

Charlie Olken said...

Arthur--

Do you drink Gatos Locos with you El Pollo Loco?

And is that why you wrote that lovely post--too much loco for one night?

I love ya, bro, but, come on, it is bad enough that I have to have Pastis on my ass. And now this.

Oh, and by the way. I taste about $100K or more of juice every year. Believe me, I like the independence of buying the wine I taste, but that number is why I now accept samples when the wineries decide to send them. It was a lot easier to be in the wine review business when BV Pri Res was $8.

Arthur said...

Charlie,
The Guigal and El Pollo Loco is a convergence of two necessities (three, actually - if the learning experience counts). I'll actually be writing about this the week after next.
Don't knock Pastis.
How do you break even?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puff Daddy,

Oh come on, the pastis the past. And anise on Uranus seems to fit the theme of the post.

And, it must have helped the price that Georges de Latour was best man at your wedding.

Arthur,

You're supposed to drink Guigal with La Turquey, not chicken.

Arthur said...

Ron
The Guigal serves a less-than-lofty purpose tonight.

If anyone has a better pairing for EPL, please join in the discussion here: http://tinyurl.com/ygyl98w

Charlie Olken said...

http://tinyurl.com/ygyl98w ??

What the hell is a tinyurl?

Is it a cheap knockoff a porcelain yurl?

Arthur said...

Charlie if you's gonna play on the Internetz, yous gotts to get wit it.
tinyurl is a web address shortening 'service'. So :

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Los-Angeles-CA/redwinebuzzcom/296114810060?ref=mf

becomes:

http://tinyurl.com/ygyl98w

Eric V. Orange said...

Hey, if anyone wants to send me wine, i will mention it somewhere.

EVO

Ron Washam said...

Charlie,

Don't listen to these guys. A tiny url is what Le Petomane released when he was playing his 'instrument' adagio.

Eric,

Geez, at least write a letter. Wineries aren't THAT stupid. Well, not all of them are, anyway.

Arthur said...

Business cards.

You gotta have business cards.

Charlie Olken said...

Arthur--

As to your question, how do you break even, the answer is simple.

Some people are independently wealthy; I am independently stupid. I can't count. My wife does the books. Who knows?

Eric V. Orange said...

Okay, how's this;
22,000 fans on Facebook.
5000 followers on Twitter.
114,000 subscribers to The Juice, that goes out each week.

Anyone need an address?

EVO

Eric V. Orange said...

I’m sure with the stunning popularity of this blog, there are cases of wine being air-freighted my way already, so I need to make clear…

I’m a drinker, not a reviewer.

There will be no..”subtle hints of earth, butternut and spice” from me, but rather,
Wow! That was damn good shit. (or nothing at all, if it’s crap)

Just want to get that out there before the flood starts.

EVO

Thomas said...

I can see the Juice newsletter headlines: Eric Orange drowned today--in free shit without getting a chance to even taste the dekuge.

Thomas said...

of course, it's a deluge and I have gat dingers!

Puff Daddy said...

Judging by the absence of further responses to this blog entry, it is probably safe to say that it ran out of gas.

Bada-bing. Bada-boom.

Samantha Dugan said...

Charlie,
You couldn't warn the woman with her lips on your ass before dropping that stinker?!

Pastis Puffer said...

Ah, the sweet smell of Pastis hanging around my derriere. Le Petomane never had it so good.