What if wine competitions had 4236 judges and 50 wine entries? If a wine received a Double Gold (meaning every judge awarded it a Gold Medal), would douchebags still declare the results worthless? If 4231 judges decided a wine was Gold, and one self-important judge decided it was Bronze, who would be right? If none of the 50 wines entered won a Gold Medal, would any of the judges be invited back the next year? Even the winemakers? What if all 50 wines were the same wine? And what if it received ten Golds, fourteen Silvers, eight Bronzes, and the rest didn’t receive any awards? Which medals would it use in its advertising? What if the winery put all three medals, a Gold, a Silver, and a Bronze, on the award-winning wine bottles? Would three times as many stupid consumers buy it?
What if the Master Sommelier exam had four parts, and the final part was a personality test? Can you name one who still would have passed?
What if Pierce’s Disease was spread to vineyards by winemakers with nipple rings? Would there be any healthy Ribolla Gialla vineyards? And what if the women winemakers with nipple rings also spread it? Would wineries be spraying for nipple rings? I know I might.
What if when yeast fermented grape juice, it created alcohol and released N2O? Would you drink Champagne before serious dental work? Would cellar workers suffer even more from brain damage? Would Champagne tastings be filled with people laughing uncontrollably and wetting their pants? How would that be different? Would every wedding toast make people laugh for a change? Would everybody in Reims fall down a lot? Äy bet they would.
What if someone trained a dog to smell the presence of MegaPurple in wine? How many Napa Cabernets would pass the sniff test? And how many would blame “that bitch” for low scores, not even meaning the dog? And what if the dog got excited and indicated a Natural Wine had MegaPurple added? How would you know it was MegaPurple and not that the Natural Wine smelled like dog butt? How would the dog know?
What if wineries were forced by the United States government to add a warning label that reads “Contains Esters?” Would people think every wine was kosher? Would morons complain that, “Esters give me headaches.”? Would the wine experts with blunt force head trauma who patronize every wine shop in America declare, “You know, when I was in France, none of the wines had esters.”
What if wine clubs required intelligence tests? Would there be any?
What if famous, highly collectible wineries decided to produce their own fraudulent wine bottles for auctions? Wouldn’t that be smart? Cash in on the stupidity of auction buyers from countries that start with “Ch.” Not Chad. They could print up extra labels, buy some juice on the bulk market, slap it in some magnums, and make a killing. Who would know? For eight bucks, they can get Acker Merrill to sell it. Perfect provenance, immaculate condition, and bingo, the wines are just like Falun Gong members—stuck forever somewhere in a Chinese cellar. And, really, aren’t many of them already making fraudulent wines? They just don’t bother to use fake labels.
What if corks were made from the bark of willow trees instead of oaks? Then after you got really drunk, you could just boil the cork and make some aspirin for your hangover. This is genius, so, remember, I thought of it first. I don’t think there’s such a thing as an Advil tree.
What if, instead of ancient Egyptian kings, large format bottles were named for war criminals? “Hey, I just bought a Hitler of ’09 Lafite!” “Yeah, well, I’m drinking my Pol Pot of ’75 Caymus Special Selection tonight.” “I can top that—I’ve got a Rumsfeld of ’85 La Tâche.” Perhaps magnums would be referred to as, “A bottle in the hand is worth two in the Bush.”
What if you made wine in space? Would wine writers describe its mouthfeel as weightless? Would it be a Zero Gravity flow winery? If you made an orange wine, would you name it Tang? If you made sparkling wine and popped the cork, would you be able to hear it? Would they make a movie that had a tagline, “In space, no one can hear you disgorge?” Would it have to be about wine, or could it be about bodily functions?
What if they had named the movie about four narcissistic bozos trying to pass the Master Sommelier exam for the effect it had on people who viewed it, would it have been called “UniSOMM?”
What if tomorrow everyone stopped reading wine blogs? How would we know?
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."