Thursday, February 9, 2012

The HoseMaster's 2012 Top Ten Most Influential People in the Wine Business*

Oh, I love a good list. Craig’s... Schindler’s…Franz. And making the list yourself gives you a feeling of power and expertise, even if you have neither. I was making a list of things I wanted to accomplish in 2012 and my number one entry was, “Make more lists.” Number two was, “Walk with a limp.” Recently, a nobody in the wine business published a list of the 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry. This is much like Kevin Costner making a list of the 100 Best Actors. Or Newt Gingrich listing the 100 Greatest Speakers of the House. Well, he was the 58th and still isn’t in the top 100. Now, Wreckers of the Home, he’s right there at the top. So, in the spirit of the undeserving and ignorant preparing lists, here is the 2012 HoseMaster’s Top Ten Influential People in the Wine Business*.

I'll kick you in your TJ nuts.
When you think cheap wine and nuts, who comes to mind? OK, Fred Franzia, but I mean actual nuts. Yup, Trader Joe. And it all revolves around a keen business strategy. Make ‘em buy six lousy bottles of wine for the price of one lousy Napa Cabernet. It’s genius. And, sure, there are great bottles of wine at Trader Joe’s just like, occasionally, you see a Yugo that still runs. Real influence is the ability to sell any old leftover plonk with hyperbole and a cute 19th Century lithograph.

The ingenious Meg is part of your every day drinking life. Her eponymous concoction, created in her own kitchen accidentally as she tried to make a Paula Deen recipe for Mocha Almond Insulin, is a common ingredient in red wines the world over. Miraculously, no winemaker has ever used it! It’s the wine world’s Viagra--your go-to when you know you’re going to be fucked. And, like HoseMaster of Wine, it’s virtually tasteless! Hard to imagine wine has been influenced by anyone more than Meg A. Purple.

There was a time, boys and girls, lost in the fiery past, when ordinary folk could travel to wine country and return home with a six-pack of wine they carried onto the plane and stored under their seat. But Osama bin Laden, you know him best from “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” changed all that. Osama was also influential in other ways. We owe the trend in winery caves to his vision as well. Winemakers learned a cave is the best place to hide from “drones,” an industry term for stingless, worthless bloggers who live off the labor of others. Bin Laden is also the namesake of the prestigious Beard Awards.

The inventor of the Internet, Al Gore made possible the rise of the most important people in the wine business today—wine bloggers. Their tireless and brilliant work has brought genuine hope to the producers of truly ordinary wine. Consumers turn to trusted wine bloggers for the latest tips on wines so delicious and sought-after that free samples were mailed to bloggers. Thanks to Gore’s invention, anyone can publish wine reviews and opinions, though, thankfully, wine blogs have smaller audiences than the great Sade impersonator, Sade. The Internet has changed the way we think about wine. Once shrouded in mystery, it’s now shrouded in ignorance. A huge improvement. It’s always been ignorance that sells the most wine! Look for Gore’s invention to spur sales to all-time highs.

Mistakenly believed to be dead by many people, Steiner recently emerged from the gigantic cow horn he’d been buried in 50 years ago and is actively consulting for many wineries and vineyards. He has renounced biodynamics, calling it “not half as valid as mind reading, Ouija boards, or Wine Star awards—all of which are hooey.” Steiner is now preaching his newest farming philosophy, SonofagungonnahavebigfunontheBio. Embraced by all the brilliant cutting edge winemakers of the world, Steiner’s new teachings, nicknamed BFBio, have winemakers all over the world burying crawfish in their vineyards. “All the great vineyards have ancient sea beds for soils—start planning for the future!” Also, vineyards are planted according to intricately worked out phases of a teenager. For example, the self abuse phase is seen as the best time to plant seed. Steiner and his various diatribes are wine’s answer to Ted Kaczynski. Now that’s influence.

There’s never any real reason to put 1WineDoody on any influential wine person list, but, well, it’s tradition. Like christening a ship with a bottle of Champagne. That is, a total waste.

#4 KANYE WEST, et. al. Y’all
Kanye, and many other HipHop artists, fueled the current surge in Moscato d’Asti sales by using it in their lyrics. Before Moscato, it was Cristal that they sold by the boatload. Man, these HipHop dudes are more into bubbles than Michael Jackson ever was. Rumor has it that the next big HipHop wine rage is contained in these lyrics:

Girl the way you booty move got me mezmer-iced
Make my eyes go every which way, like a fuckin’ gecko
I’m a find a way to get what in yo pants
You gon drop ‘em to the floor beggin’ for my Prosecco.

Expect sales of the Italian bubbly after shave to skyrocket. That, friends, is influence.

Yeah, I know, it made me laugh too. People who get their wine advice from The Wall Street Journal are the same people taking debate lessons from Rick Perry.

Fight fair, Justices, Trader Joe would want it that way.
It was Justice Scalia’s vote in the 2005 case of Granholm v. Heald that changed direct shipping laws in the US in favor of small wineries. I’m no Supreme Court scholar, but it seemed the rare instance of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas falling on opposing sides. Man, I wish I had a joke here. But isn’t it nice that even a Supreme Court Justice is willing to bail on his principles for a bottle of Kosta Browne? Hey, maybe it Kosta Scalia a Browne friend. OK, I’m tired of this list and I’m getting punchy. There just aren’t that many influential people in the wine business, though nearly everyone thinks they are.

#1 GOD
God makes the list because, well, He invented the original Top Ten list, from which all other subsequent lists are derived. And without lists, the endless parade of facile and pointless and downright narcissistic lists that litter the wine arena—Wine of the Year Lists, Best New Wineries Lists, Winemakers to Watch Lists, Where to Send Samples Lists--nearly every wine publication might cease to exist. If only. Wine is proof that God dislikes us and wants us to suffer fools gladly.

*After Me


Samantha Dugan said...

Dammit!Snubbed again. Starting to feel like Heimoff over here.

Thomas said...

What, no Adrian Messenger?
(sic, just in case it should be Messinger.)

Marcia Macomber said...

I was waiting for you to say getting wine advice from teh WSJ is like getting financial advice from the WSJ. (Sigh.)

Enjoy the sunshine, O HoseMaster, Sir!

Beau said...

That was good..really good.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Samantha My Love,

You don't feel like STEVE! to me. And, damn, you just missed it, coming in at #12, right after Chronic Negress.


You always try to out-obscure me with references. You've succeeded here.


You know, that just might be the better joke. You've been reading me too long, Babe, time for some intervention.

John M. Kelly said...

Damn - there's some lists I am very glad NOT to be on. Well, I'd be OK with sharing a list with God. And Sam. But not you or CN. And, Thomas nobody wants to be on Adrian Messenger's list.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


I'm crushed that you don't want to be on a list with me. How about a list of nominees for a Poodle?! And I'm surprised you don't want to be on this prestigious list.

But, maybe I'm dense, but who the hell is CN?

Unlisted Daddy said...

OOH !!

CN. Finished eleventh on the influential list just ahead of Sam.

I am a bit surprised you did not mention Andre T. He is to wine fame what Reagan is to Republicans who don't know what they stand for. I'm a follower of Andre. I'm a Reagan Republican.

The thing about Andre is, that while he has not outlived Rudolf Scheissinhorn, he has outlived RP.

The secret word for today is "smenita" which is something that if you have it, you have 75% of dementia.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puff Daddy,

Of course! CN is Chronic Negress. Man, how dumb am I? No wonder John doesn't want to be on a list with me. Though I wouldn't want to be on a list that would have me for a member. A small member.

Andre T. was a giant. I loved Andre the Giant, my favorite wrestler.

This whole schtick was inspired by the sorry spectacle of those included on that meaningless list of 100 Top Influential Wine People in the US Wine Industry going out of their way to thank the clown who compiled it and posting a link to it on their blogs. I thought that was hilarious. Though I shouldn't have been amazed. No one feels more underappreciated than those who deserve to be underappreciated.

Maybe you'll make the list next year, Charlie! Right before John. Who will be right before Colonel Mustard.

Anonymous said...

No digs on the people that sell Master Sommelier diplomas? For shame.

KWilk said...

HoseMaster of Wine Founder Ron Washam's 4 reasons to Join His Wine Blog:
4. His alerts are highly unlikely to be found in your Google Reader's RSS feed section.
3. All poodle and pomp posts. No mass produced plonk here.
2. Fantastic lulz delivered right to your door. He's not Santa Claus, but his beard could fool you.
1. He ships all over the country. Except Paso Robles... your loss. Join the blog now!

Kathy said...

I took your advice and stopped reading blogs.
Then I was searching for something about "wine business" and there you were (which goes to show that "wine business" doesn't bring up much useful information...).
I won't take your advice again. So glad to be back.

John M. Kelly said...

Kathy - Ron's advice is not to be taken lightly. Or as you have discovered, perhaps not at all.

I just can't stand typing CN's handle. It makes me feel all sticky and woozy, and vaguely racist. Though I'm sure she doesn't feel that way about it.

Charlie, you well deserve to precede me in all things, followed by Colonel Mustard, in the library, with a lead pipe. ;-)

But the top five reasons I don't need no stinkin' lists are...
(Ron, I've put a link to this post on my blog thanking you for not including me on this list.)

Thomas said...


Match point. I can go home now...

Reference Wiki, so don't believe any of it, but I did see the film while hallucinating in a local movie theater in Brooklyn, which amazes me that I can remember it:

The List of Adrian Messenger is a 1963 black and white crime thriller about a retired British intelligence officer (George C. Scott) investigating a series of apparently unrelated deaths. It is directed by acclaimed film director John Huston. The film is based on the 1961 novel of the same title by Philip MacDonald.

Thomas said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that I made it onto a list:

Number one on the top ten listless!

Ron Washam, HMW said...


That would assume that Master Sommelier peddlers have influence, not something I was willing to assume. For lots of potshots at MS, read my "The M.S. Conspiracy," though not on a full stomach.


I'm not a joiner, so I never urge anyone to join this, or any other blog. I prefer unsettled loners.


HEY, welcome back! Always a good idea to ignore my advice. That's my advice. OOOH, I'm like a zen master.


I hear you when it comes to CN. You'd think, if she had any sense, she'd have called her blog, Acute Negress. And thanks for the link. Nice to have a local one, mostly I get Canadian links.


That's a film I've never seen, along with hundreds of thousands of others. But I've heard the name somehow. Sort of like "Titanic."

Tony Lombardi said...

Great stuff Ron!
Hope you're well.



Eric V. Orange said...

Hose, I too scoffed at the "Top 100" list and laughed at the loaded comments, but that's prolly only 'cause I wasn't on it.

I'm close to "bookmarking" your site again, having removed it twice before when you abandoned us. You are like a capacitor, building a load for big discharge. If that's the case will you be going dormant again soon?


Ron Washam, HMW said...


For such a sick mind, I'm actually well. Thanks. Looks like that Google Alert is working! Hey, send me free samples! I'll rate them very high on my Million Point Scale.

Thanks for chiming in!


Nice "load" metaphor. If I had any idea how long I'd be doing this again, I'd tell you. I came back with a better attitude, I'm about six posts ahead most of the time, and I'm having fun. So, go ahead, man, bookmark my ass. Third time's a charm. Your followers deserve the HoseMaster.

SUAMW said...


I would have gone with Eutypa when thinking of something that builds up a big load before discharging...

PaulG said...

I do wish you had been included in that Top 100 list. Then you would have seen the quandary it posed for those who quite unexpectedly found their names on it. What to do? Ignore it? Abuse it? Denounce it? Naaaa. The mere fact that someone – however obscure and unimportant – actually said "Good dog!" gets any writer's tail wagging.

Meanwhile, you are in top form once again. "The Internet has changed the way we think about wine. Once shrouded in mystery, it’s now shrouded in ignorance." I tip my sycophant's hat to you!

1winedude said...

I should be number #11 on your top 10, otherwise... great to see you back in form! :)

david Rossi said...

I'm running out and buying crawfish!

Ron Washam said...


In some alternate universe where I appeared on a Top 100 list, I think I'd ignore it, considering the source. But it does make for wonderful comedic fodder.

What the Internet is good at, aside from shopping and porn, is the distribution and promotion of ignorance. Wine, at least, is relatively harmless.

And, thanks, for your kind words and support.


Sure, you go and thank that Yahoo from the other list, but not a thanks to the ol' HoseMaster?! I don't get no respect.

Every time there's a top blogger or wine biz list, you're on it. I hate to jinx that chain letter. Funny how I'm NEVER mentioned. Let's keep it that way.

Mr. Rossi,

Oh, please tell me you're related to Steve Rossi of Allen and Rossi! Sometimes life just works.

Thomas said...

"Oh, please tell me you're related to Steve Rossi of Allen and Rossi! Sometimes life just works."

I had the same thought; then, since this is a somewhat wine-connected blog, and that means alcohol, he might just be the other half of Martini and R----.

Lovely captcha that fits this blog perfectly: intelec in, you ain't no intelec Hosy.

Anonymous said...

Anyone in the wine trade that knocks Traders Joe's knows no history of the company or where they came from. TJ's was bringing in containers of great little wines from France, Italy and many parts of the world that other people were clueless about 30 years ago because they wanted to get good wines at a fair price. Trader Joe's probably got more people drinking wine from more parts of the world than any one of dozens of uber snob importers, and at a much fairer price. Pacvine

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Though that's even more anonymous than Anonymous.

I moved to Sonoma from South Pasadena. I lived a baseball throw from the original headquarters of Trader Joe's. Beyond that, I even knew Joe Coulombe, as I know the domestic wine buyer for TJ's now, Mike Lawrence. When Joe began Trader Joe's, you're right, he brought in wonderful wines. I still have some half bottles of '71 Yquem with the $10.99 price tag from Trader Joe's still on them. I suspect I know much more about the history of the company than you, but I don't know.

I take random, satiric shots at everyone in the wine biz. Yeah, you think I'm an idiot. No argument here. But the glory days of Trader Joe's import wine program are at least 15 years behind us. So they get a pass on someone making fun of what are absolutely lousy imported wines in their stores? Because of Joe, who sold the company to a German corporation a long time ago? OK, you're entitled to your opinion.

As I'm entitled to my uninformed opinion.

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me how people make sweeping assumptions and then spout off without really knowing the validity of their assumptions; but then, I am also astonished at the low level sense of irony, humor and fun in so many.

Don Rickles,

(who was separated at birth from the unfunny hosemaster and takes no credit for this man's apparent lunacy)

Marlene said...

After the guy who flogs Cristal said in a rather obvious way that he did not want rappers, hip hoppers, etc
(read ghettoistas) drinking his precious sludge, the urban characters started drinking Moscato. Lot's cheaper too!

Wine Novice1 said...

Darn! One of these days...:-)

David Rossi said...

Nope. No relation. Sorry. Just the winemaker at Fulcrum Wines. Cheers.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Damn! Oh well, thanks for having the guts to join in here and not do it anonymously. I can't say I've had your Fulcrum wines, but they must be good if you like my blog.

Andrew said...

Glad to see you back keeping everyone in the wine world in check!

Kyle W. said...

Hosemusher, it is obvious that you aren't on any of these top 100 lists because it's been three days since you posted this and you haven't posted a new one. Until you start pumping out your "content" on a daily (or twice that) basis, you will never become a real force in the wine world. Just think of all of the free mediocre wine you could be getting!

Ron Washam, HMW said...


I don't think anyone wants a daily post from me. I know I don't. Even "The Daily Show" isn't daily. And I certainly don't want to be on any list that would list me.

Thanks for chiming in, though.

Andrea said...

OMG--I'm haven't laughed out loud at work in forever. Osama bin Laden? Al Gore? You are freaking brilliant. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!