“…any food product that feels compelled to tell you it’s natural in all likelihood is not.”—-Michael Pollan
Thursday, December 19, 2013
The Year in the Wine Family 2013
Merry Christmas to Our Family and Friends,
2013 was a busy year for the Wine family. There’s so much news I’m not sure I can fit it all in to this one Christmas letter! But I’ll sure try. It’s just hard to know where to begin.
I’m sure most of you have heard by now that Uncle Bob sold his business. Everybody in the Wine family was pretty relieved. Uncle Bob sold it to three guys from Singapore, I think, though no one in the family has actually met them. Which is probably good, because we’d have a hard time keeping a straight face. Good ol’ Uncle Bob, he completely hornswaggled the “businessmen.” On the 100 Point Scale, they took it up the chocolate Highway 99. They paid big bucks for what is basically just his old rag business. Most of Uncle Bob’s employees at the rag business stayed on, which is good, because they’re otherwise nearly unemployable. They all seem to think that the way you cover up it being a rag is to flower it all up with indecipherable gibberish. An old moth-eaten rag is still an old moth-eaten rag—no matter how hard you try to disguise it, people can still see right through it. But it’s not Uncle Bob’s problem any more, although he’s still going to consult. The whole Wine family can hardly wait until Uncle Bob retires for good, though what the hell Uncle Marvin will do without Uncle Bob to follow and mimic is going to be hard to watch. Marvin’s never done anything original or useful, despite his success. He’s the Ryan Seacrest of the Wine family. His rag business is just like Uncle Bob’s, only Uncle Marvin figured out to take advertising. That was pretty smart. Get the people who appear in his rag to give him money, only say the money wasn’t to become a rag favorite. They just like the rag so much, they tithe. Well, it is the season for tithings of comfort and joy. Comfort and joy. Oh Oh, tithings of comfort and joy…
Sadly, Uncle Bob’s favorite employee, Cousin Antonio, left the rag business and disappeared. No one has heard from him in months. We would like to thank the Antinori family for putting Cousin Antonio’s picture on the sides of their Chianti Classico cases below the headline, “Have You Seen This Clown?” Hey, it worked for Berlusconi. Uncle Bob and Cousin Antonio had a big falling out after Uncle Bob sold his business. I guess Cousin Antonio thought he was being groomed to take over from Uncle Bob. But, instead, Lisa Perrotti-Brown nosed her way in to the position. I may have put the hyphen in that last sentence in the wrong place.
If you see Cousin Antonio, tell him the Wine family misses him. And if his brother Rudy can plead insanity, so can he.
Not all the news in a family can be good. And at Christmas, we should also remember the less fortunate members of our Wine family. Those behind bars. Not bartenders, idiot, I mean jail. I’m talking, of course, about Rudy. Poor Rudy. He’s been incarcerated for selling very expensive bottles of wine that were fake. Did they taste fake? Apparently not. Uncle Burghound liked them, at least that’s what he said before he took off looking for Cousin Antonio and also vanished. If anyone can find Antonio, it’s Uncle Burghound. He smelled a pair of Antonio’s sackcloth underpants to get the scent.
It wasn’t very nice of Rudy to fool Uncle Burghound with his fake wines. That’s not how we like to conduct ourselves as part of the Wine family. Yes, sell expensive fake wines to outsiders, that’s what ratings are for. But don’t drag family into it. Well, Rudy’s on trial now. He made a fatal miscalculation. It’s one thing to amass a large fortune with criminal behavior, to have become “too big to fail,” but it’s another thing altogether to take advantage of those poor unfortunate filthy rich criminals by making them look stupid and taking some of their ill-gotten gains. Those folks will see that Rudy spends the time they deserve in jail for them. Though word was Rudy was thinking of pleading insanity. Well, frankly, nearly everyone in the Wine family has a screwtop loose, so he’s got a chance. But you’d think that if you can’t taste the difference between the “real” wine and the Rudy wine, there is no difference. That you’re only angry because you look stupid. They say 80% of the wines in Rudy’s cellar were fakes. How did they know? The labels and the foils and the corks were suspicious, stuff that makes up the wine’s appearance. Yup, those are fakes, you can tell by the outsides. Just like the rich dildos who bought them at auction.
*Well, it seems Cousin Rudy was convicted on all counts. Now he'll be making fake license plates in New York. Raise a glass to poor Cousin Rudy this holiday season--fraudulent wine would be best. Say, The Prisoner, or Apothic.
Let’s talk about good news again! Did you see the great Wine family movie, “SOMM?” Gosh, I hope so. We’re so proud of all the Master Sommeliers in our Wine family. Even if they won’t shut up about being Master Sommeliers. Oh, I guess I was the same way when I was a Cub Scout, dreaming about growing up and becoming a Boy Scout. Master Sommeliers are like Cub Scouts to the Masters of Wine Boy Scouts. When you’re a Cub Scout, you can only dream of being old enough to one day enjoy being part of the big Circle Jerk of being a Master of Wine. Anyway, “SOMM” followed a bunch of M.S. candidates as they studied for their exams. It was an awesome look at the little part of our Wine family normally hidden from the public. Kind of like an alcoholic leper colony. With Uncle Fred Dame as Father Damien. Hey, what do you get when you let the leper stir the soup? Finger food! Wow, the soup and the joke in poor taste.
Oh, I just know I’m going to leave important news from 2013 out. So much to talk about. Uncle Paul Gregutt got booted out of his Seattle Times wine critic job for making his own wine. Critics aren’t supposed to know about making what they critique. That’s just silly. Why, would a music critic write music or play an instrument? Sure, if he wanted to get fired! Uncle Paul should have known better. He should have become the music critic! No one would confuse his playing for music. But wine is obviously wine. Sorry, Uncle Paul, this one’s on you.
Some guy, not part of the Wine family, invented a device to extract wine from a bottle without opening it! It’s called a Coravin. It’s an amazing addition to our family. It penetrates, extracts liquid, and withdraws with just a spurt of inert gas. Cool. Sounds like sex with Great Uncle Miljenko.
From our Wine family to yours, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
For the entire Wine family, HoseMaster of Wine™
This will be my last piece for 2013. I'm going to take a holiday break, but HoseMaster will return, God willing and the creek don't rise, January 6th, 2014. Maybe. Thanks to everyone who checks in to HoseMaster of Wine™ on a regular basis. I've had a wonderful time this year thanks to all of your support and kind words. Merry Christmas! And let's see if we can't have a few more laughs in 2014.
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
"...With sometimes crude analogies and occasional droppings of f-bombs, Washam cleverly uses satire to expose the underbelly of the wine business. It's often hilarious stuff as long as you're not the one being lampooned. Washam takes no prisoners in skewering all that is silly, stupid, frustrating and pretentious about wine, and his favorite targets are other bloggers and writers. No one is immune."
--Linda Murphy in "Vineyard and Winery Management"
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"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
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--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
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"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."
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Robert (Joseph) was/is funny unlike HoseMaster who wasn't/isn't.