Oh, to be headed to Walla Walla and the Wine Bloggers Conference! It would be like a dream come true. All of those talented and brilliant bloggers in one room! It sends chills up and down my spine. Something they can only imagine--having a spine. All of those titans of wine in one room, well, it makes me wish for one thing. If only writers' block were as contagious as the Ebola virus...
The Wine Bloggers Conference, better known as Oodles of Poodles (or OOPS, for short) is the annual meeting of Wineabee Bloggers and their handlers. They converge on the unwitting town of Walla Walla this year for speeches, seminars and awards. The agenda shows a lineup of talent rivaling the editorial board of Penny Saver. First up, keynote speaker STEVE! Heimoff, the Justin Bieber of the wine blog world. Expect large crowds and girls tossing panties. Many will toss breakfast. And you can Leave it to Bieber that STEVE! will wax rhapsodic about his favorite subject matter. What a successful blogger STEVE! is. Eventually, STEVE! will speak about "The Future of Wine Writing," which, coincidentally, is the name of his upcoming book. HoseMaster of Wine was given a special sneak peek at the index, which I reprint here in its entirety:
Heimoff, Steve pp 1-235 Parker, Robert debt owed to Steve p. 12, lucky p. 42, obituary p. 49 Wine Enthusiast debt owed to Steve p. 14, obituary p. 36
STEVE! will lecture the Poodles about ethics and how to pretend you have them, as well as the huge influence social media is having on the wine business. He'll speak about the influence of ROI in the way wineries view bloggers, as well as his abiding love for ROI's partner, Siegfried. Be sure to arrive early, and be prepared to spend an extra fifteen minutes when STEVE!'s speech is through for the applause to die down.
And don't forget to sign up early for the Saturday seminar "The Future of Wine Writing" with STEVE!, Tom Wark and Ken Payton. Am I sensing a theme? Could it be "The Future of Wine Writing?" Could it be the same theme as last year's OOPS? And the year before? Maybe. But, let's face it, OOPS has the same problem as wine bloggers--coming up with original ideas. I am so upset I won't be able to sit and listen to this panel discussion! Led by the God of Poodles, Tom Wark (ironic, isn't it, that his surname is the very sound a harelip Poodle makes), the panel will focus on wine writing, which one of them has even been paid to do! Clearly, these three men are experts. It's like going to a panel discussion of sex featuring two eight-year-olds and Warren Beatty. But, remember, Poodles, don't ask Mr. Payton any questions or look directly into his eyes. He will bite you, and his bite has been compared to that of a Komodo dragon, though the Komodo dragons are suing for defamation of character.
The Wall Street Journal's Lettie Teague is the keynote speaker on Saturday! Yes. I'm not kidding. I know! Can you believe it? And she's going to tell us how to find our voices! Just like that. Turns out you don't need talent, you just need a voice. Well, she's living proof of that!
There's just so much to do at OOPS! Yet the main attraction is meeting the other wine bloggers, sniffing the other Poodles. Oh my God, I scrolled through the list of attendees and it took me right back to when I visited the Vietnam War Memorial. It should be a blast shaking the hands of all those famous wine bloggers and sharing your thoughts about your favorite posts. "I loved your post about Rose and that it's the new wine cooler! Great post." "I love how you match wine with old comic books! That's so brilliant. Heidi Barrett wines with Wonder Woman! Wow. And then Fred Franzia with Jughead! Perfect. Rombauer Chardonnay with Baby Huey! Great post." It will certainly be an OOPS to treasure. A roomful of the Legends of Wine Blogging. There hasn't been this much wine knowledge in one room at the same time since the last meeting of Al Qaeda.
Of course, one of the highlights of OOPS will be the awarding of the 2010 Poodle Awards. The presentation of the Poodles is going to be hosted by Alan Kropf from Mutineer Magazine. I love Mutineer Magazine! Whenever I want to find out the latest 2007 news in our wonderful industry, I read the current edition of Mutineer! Mutineer redefines "cutting edge!" It redefines it as dull. It's like Palate Press, but at least you have the consolation of having paid for it. Most of the wine world will be anxiously awaiting the results of the 2010 Poodles. (And the nominees for Best Writing on a Wine Blog are...) There are no higher awards in the world of wine blogs. Unless you count free wine, press junkets and Alder Yarrow's home phone number (1-800-EGOTRIP). The voting is very close this year, and all eleven of the judges will be present for the awards ceremony. Ask them for a peak at their trephination scars! Yes, these people can spot talent like seagulls can spot your forehead, using the exact same technique.
Just remember, no matter who wins the Poodles, you're all winners! Your blogs are widely read and vastly influential--at least with the other 299 people at OOPS. Let me be the first to say, "Great post!"
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."