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.|
#10 TRADER JOE
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.
#9 MEG A. PURPLE
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.
#8 OSAMA BIN LADEN
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.
#7 AL GORE
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.
#6 RUDOLF STEINER
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.
#5 JOE ROBERTS
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.
#3 JAY MCINERNEY
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.|
#2 SUPREME COURT JUSTICE ANTONIN SCALIA
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.
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.