"Satire is a form of social control, it's what you do. It's not personal. It's a job."--Garry Trudeau
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Millie Ennial of WineWiped.com
In August of 2009 I published this silly post that was both a send-up of Tom Wark's Bloggerviews (stock interviews Tom did with new wine bloggers--the questions are straight from those interviews, none of them is written by me--here is a link to his Bloggerview with the HoseMaster), and of Millennials. This piece is more than three-and-a-half years old, but when I reread it, it could have been written yesterday. That is, if I hadn't been screwing around all day yesterday. Millie Ennial became a running gag in the Comments section, but here she is in her HoseMaster of Wine debut.
An Homage to Tom Wark
now and then I come across a wine blog that has a totally amazing and
wonderful voice. I may not agree with everything she says, she has a way
of talking too much and about things she doesn't understand, like the
pressure I've been under lately, but Millie Ennial of WineWiped
has a voice, loud and screechy, but a voice. I think she represents the
best intentions of wine bloggers, she writes with passion and sincerity
and knows enough to edit it out.
When did you begin blogging and why?
began in late 1996. There weren't any blogs then, at least not on the
Internet, so I wrote copious wine tasting notes on a roll of toilet
tissue, a la Jack Kerouac. That's where my blog name comes from,
WineWiped. Sadly my old blogs were destroyed in a food poisoning
accident. I started to blog because I have something interesting to say
about wine. And I say it over and over.
In two sentences, describe the focus of your blog.
Obtaining free wine. Obtaining free wine.
What sets your blog apart from the pack?
have no interest in learning about wine, just writing about wine. I
don't believe you have to know a lot about wine to be a wine blogger,
that's just the same tired old elitism that's ruined the wine business
for decades. I mean, really, when you want to learn about wine, about
what wine to choose, are you going to listen to the same old guys who've
been writing about wine for thirty years or are you going to ride the
wave of democratization and listen to a gal who really loves the stuff.
Oh, and I love kitties.
How would you characterize the growth in readership since you began your blog?
grown a lot since the Charmin days. Is this where I lie about how many
hits my blog gets every month? 25,000. Many of them incarcerated.
Do you accept samples for review?
food, urine...whatever. What kind of moron doesn't accept samples? But I
never promise a good review. Why, that wouldn't be ethical! But like
all wine bloggers, I can promise a profoundly inexperienced and ignorant
review, and that works out best for everyone. I don't really have the
background or experience to have tasted widely, and my Charmin notes are
somewhere in a septic tank, where they belong, so I just wing it. And I
love wine. Rarely met one I didn't like. But don't worry, if one comes
along I don't like I sure as hell won't tell anyone. Again, simple
What kind of wine rating/review system do you use, and why?
use the one-ply, two-ply and Ultra-Soft system because I think it
expresses how most people feel about wine. A one-ply wine is fine but a
little rough. Two-ply is very satisfying, putting it between your cheeks
is memorable. And Ultra-Soft, well, those are wines you want to take
extra time with, wines that make you flush with joy.
How do you fit the maintenance of your wine blog into your daily schedule?
don't edit, I don't spellcheck, I don't fact check, I rarely read my
comments and I don't think very long or hard about what I write. So
Have you utilized any particular techniques to successfully market your blog?
post has a provocative title so that it pops up in search engines more
often. This month I've posted, "Naked Cheerleaders," "Latest Celebrity
Sex Tape," and "Grannies with Trannies." The last one got the coveted
In your view, how, if at all, is wine blogging different than traditional wine writing for print?
Wine blogging is more better.
Which other wine blogs do you read regularly?
The list is almost too long! OK, I read Vinography
for the pretty photos and because Alder knows how to get free handouts
better than a legless Indian beggar. And I always check in on 1WineDude because he never uses any big words. And I love to read the blog over at Mutineer Magazine because it takes me back to when I was in grammar school and the unpopular kids had their own newspaper. BiggerThanYourHead
is a must read, I'd say, particularly if you have a sleep disorder or
feel a strong desire to experience waterboarding. I used to read HoseMaster of Wine, but he's become so bitter, like the finish of a one-ply wine, that I don't think anyone thinks he's funny any more.
Do you believe wine blogs have made any marked impact on the wine industry or wine culture?
believe the entire future of the wine industry depends upon us. Print
media is dead--will someone please bury Heimoff after you wipe that
stupid smile off his face? Now that Parker is dead, and that secret,
held tightly by Squires and Schildknecht and all the other wine
Munchkins at The Wine Advocate, is finally getting out, people are going
to go online before they make their wine purchases and read the
recommendations of lonely bloggers before they go to Trader Joe's and
spend their six bucks. Those wineries charging fifty bucks and more for
their wines better wise up and start getting those samples out to
bloggers! We are the wine culture. We are the voice of the consumer. We
know the truth about wine writing--no one can dispute your opinion about
taste so don't sweat the details.
Vacation: Paris or the Caribbean?
Are you hitting on me?
Pet: Dog or cat?
Isn't this a little personal, Tom?
Airplane reading: New Yorker or People?
Do these lines work in whiskey bars?
Car: Prius or BMW?
For God's sake, Tom, stop with the stupid questions! I'm not going to sleep with you.
Chablis or California Chardonnay?
I love the way you asked that. That sort of smoky, peaty tone in your voice...
Describe what you would have at your last meal.
that's so romantic, no one has ever asked me that before. I'd really
like it if you were at my last meal. I'll be the appetizer if you'll be
What is Heaven like?
Oh, God, it's a lot like where your hand is right now.
If you could invite 4 people dead or alive to your fantasy dinner party, who would they be and who would bring the wine?
up and kiss me, Fermentation Boy. I want you to eat my sugar while I
create alcohol and finally release all the CO2 I've been saving for
someone just like you.
What advice would you give to someone considering starting a wine blog?
Do it! Do it, Tom! Do it, do it, do it, do it...done already?
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."
"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."