"It's difficult to soar with eagles when you walk with turkeys."--Jack Rollins
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I'm Off to A Big S.H.I.T. Event
I'm off to Northern Italy for the "Where did Teroldego?" event put on by the Sustainable Heroes of Italian Teroldego. This is a new organization to me. Frankly, I don't know S.H.I.T. However, in my capacity as one of the finest wine bloggers on the planet I am invited to countless wine festivals and events all over the world. It's not easy to choose which events to attend. But I have come up with a solution. I attend the ones that pay the most money for me to show up. No, they don't give me cash. But it costs them quite a bit to cover my airfare, hotel, gambling addiction, propensity for hookers (though I do prefer the cheapest ones, if only to educate my olfactory buds) and laundry. You'd think this would guarantee my praise of their wines. You'd be right. Except if I go and there's an actual wine expert there, then I just parrot his opinions. I mean, come on, let's face it, no one's heard of Teroldego. I thought it was the island next to Trinidad. Turns out I won't need my snorkel. Except for the cheap hookers.
Yes, I am going on a junket, though they told me I was taking a plane. Aren't junkets those slow Chinese boats? No? Oh. I'm going on the S.H.I.T press junket, though I'm about as much a member of the press as Octomom is a member of the human race. I looked it up, like I had to for Teroldego, and the word "junket" comes from the Old English for a reed basket that was used to carry fish. So now I know why I was invited along with all the other bloggers. I'm a widemouth basshole.
The S.H.I.T. producers are anxious for their wines to gain further exposure. So they asked around about who the most influential writers are on the Internet. None of them were the least bit interested, so they asked a bunch of bloggers to visit them and taste and write about their wines. They'd already booked the hotel anyway. It will be a crash course in Teroldego for us, and a good dose of American ignorance for them. I'm excited to learn all about this mysterious grape. I'll be one grape closer to joining the Wine Century Club! It's long been my goal to taste more grape varieties made into wine than I have IQ points, and now that I'm up to 45, I'm but 7 grapes away from my goal! And if there's a Teroldego Gris, which you'd think there would have to be, I'll be even closer.
This wine journalism thing is really cool. I went out and got a WSET credential (Wine Studyin' and Elevator Training), a CSW (Certified Sycophant in Wine), and passed my First Level of the M.S. Exam (Fun With Corks--How to Look Like A Walrus), so I qualified to have my own blog filled with opinions and facts I made up on the spot. Now here's the really cool part. Turns out you don't have to go to school to get a journalism degree! Who knew? No, it turns out that if you type, you're a journalist. This explains a lot. Like Alice Feiring and Tim Fish (hey, no wonder he gets so many junkets, he's a fucking Fish!) and Leslie Sbrocco. So, look at me, I'm a wine journalist. I'm going to Northern Italy. Which is right next to Trinidad, I'm pretty sure.
Look for my daily reports about my trip. You'll be able to live vicariously through my crappy photography and tales of fascinating seminars I'll be nursing my hangovers through. I know one thing. Those Teroldego guys better not be using a lot of oak on their wines. If there's one thing I know, it's too many wines in the world use too much oak, and I'm not afraid to point it out. That's just me, I have one opinion and I never get tired of it. Just because you've produced a wine from your family's vineyards for seven generations, that doesn't mean I can't teach you a thing or two. I'm not just going to roll over and say nice things about your Teroldegos because you invited me on a press fish basket. No, I'm going to be critical, I'm going to educate you about wine bloggers. We're not to be trifled with. We don't get rich writing a wine blog. We do it for passion, we do it for our twenty-five regular readers, we do it because our voices need to be heard. We do it as a way of learning more and more about our favorite subject--ourselves. We do it to learn about wine, there is so much I don't know. For example, I don't know S.H.I.T.
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
"...With sometimes crude analogies and occasional droppings of f-bombs, Washam cleverly uses satire to expose the underbelly of the wine business. It's often hilarious stuff as long as you're not the one being lampooned. Washam takes no prisoners in skewering all that is silly, stupid, frustrating and pretentious about wine, and his favorite targets are other bloggers and writers. No one is immune."
--Linda Murphy in "Vineyard and Winery Management"
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity." --JancisRobinson.com
"As serious as the world of wine is, it does allow time for humor. Each Monday and Thursday, Ron Washam customarily posts a commentary on his needling wine blog HoseMaster of Wine. Washam, a former sommelier and comedy writer – he might say they are closely related – is the most opinionated, humorous and ribald observer in the wine world. His body of work is irreverent and remorseless. It’s almost always satire and parody, though he occasionally drifts into straight commentary, sometimes even with tasting notes. This past year, one of his posts was named the best of the year in the Wine Blog Awards. His success has spawned several imitations, which in their awkwardness show just how difficult satire is."
--Mike Dunne, Sacramento Bee
Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/21/6089630/dunne-on-wine-wine-blogs-and-bloggers.html#storylink=cpy
"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
"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."