"Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful."--Molly Ivins
Monday, June 9, 2014
Announcing the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition!
Dear Winery Owner,
I know you’re excited to receive this invitation to enter your wines in the First Annual HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition. My competition is unique, and one in which you’ll certainly want to participate. I’d like to take a brief bit of your time to explain how the competition works, and how it will benefit your obviously desperate winery.
I know that there are countless wine competitions competing for your entry money. Don’t be fooled by them. They are all the same. The same judges just in different venues. It’s like Dog Shows—they get the same judges who know how to fondle balls and pick winners, and they fly them around the country to reproduce the same results. Only, they don’t produce the same results! Why? They just don’t care. Sure, there are critics of wine competitions who say that their palates aren’t as good as advertised, that they’re incapable of judging the same wine the same way every time they taste it, but this isn’t true. In actuality, they just don’t care to give the same results every time; in fact, they try not to. And, frankly, it would be stupid if they did. Look, even if you love someone, not every sexual encounter with that person is a Gold Medal performance, even though they’re the same person with their same genitalia and you’re tasting them blind in front of volunteers. Well, that’s how I do it. Every so often, after the sex is finished, you’re forced to say, “Sorry, Honey, that was a Bronze.” And, frankly, I’m pretty happy to get a Bronze. Often I’m sent back for obvious defects, mostly sulfur issues.
But what if there were a wine competition that didn’t use the same judges as every other wine competition? Know how you keep getting crappy medals for your exorbitant entry fees? It’s not your wine! You know that. You make one of the best wines imaginable, given your crappy grape source and lack of knowledge about the most basic chemistry. It’s those same fifty judges that judge in every goddam wine competition, it’s their fault. Hell, most of them don’t even have real jobs. They have a bio. Oh, yeah, they have a bio. It’s pretty inflated, and they’re having a good time with it. Son of a gun, gonna have big fun, with the bio. Mostly, these judges are the wine business version of vampires. Hold a mirror up to them, and, guess what, there’s nothing to see.
My wine competition is different. I’m the only judge. I think you’ll agree that this is the perfect scenario.
For the competition, I’m putting the judge up at a very fancy hotel, not one of the fleabags judges are usually assigned. At most wine competitions, the worst thing a judge smells is the carpet in his room. Not mine. My judge is pampered, and I think he deserves it. Just read his bio.
Other wine competitions rely on volunteers to serve the wines and clean the glasses, do all the work, keep the competition running smoothly—and those volunteers work for--wait for it--already open bottles of wine! Yes, you read that right. How stupid is that? It’s like working a fashion show for the used panties. No, wait, I’d do that. It’s like working “Biggest Losers” for free for the contestants’ old clothes. It’s one gigantic waist. My competition will have paid “volunteers.” Hooters girls! Everybody’s wine tastes better served by a Hooters girl! I’m guessing there may be a record number of Double Golds, and some might be for the wines. As a winery, you’ll benefit from a judge in a very good mood. Trust me, wine judging volunteers at other competitions, well, let’s just say they give the wines a flabby impression. Perky is better.
Judges in wine competitions get paid very little money for their work. Most wine competitions award their judges a modest “Honorarium.” Basically, a wine competition Honorarium is the equivalent of giving money to a homeless person. You want him to be impressed and grateful, but it’s really just chump change on your part. There are even wine competitions that don’t pay the judges anything! So, for example, when you enter your wine in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, a competition sponsored by the newspaper that employs Jon Bonné anyway, every red cent, minus hotels and travel expenses, goes into the competition’s pocket! Do you want your wine judged by uncompensated, surly, penniless wine judges? Hell, might as well just take it to your local wine shop and have the owner judge it—he’s in the same shoes. Don’t enter those competitions. It can’t be good for you, or your wine. I guarantee you that every last dime of your entry fee for the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition goes directly into the pocket of our award-winning, internationally respected judge. You have my word.
And let’s face it, you’re hungry for a medal, preferably a gold one, for your really rather pedestrian wine. And it won’t be long before a Gold Medal from the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition will be worth its weight in Moscato. But you can’t get a Gold Medal unless you enter! And now’s your chance to get in on the ground floor of what is destined to become the pre-eminent wine competition in the world. Plus, unlike other wine competitions, the more often you enter, the more HoseMaster Points® you’ll accumulate. Points you can later redeem for guaranteed Gold Medals! Yes, it’s innovative, and, yes, it’s way overdue. The more wines you enter, the more HoseMaster Points® you’ll earn! In just a few years, pick a wine, and your Gold Medal is guaranteed! OK, it’s maybe not so innovative, lots of wine competitions basically do this, but admitting it is innovative. You’ll give me that.
As Sponsor and Chief Judge of the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition, I can promise that your wine will be carefully evaluated and awarded an appropriate medal. If you do not receive a medal, rest assured your check bounced. Briefly here are the criteria for each medal, the same criteria most competitions honor:
BRONZE: A wine that has the appropriate varietal aroma, and also smells of entry money.
SILVER: I was gonna say Gold, but no one else did.
GOLD: Better than the other crap in this competition.
DOUBLE GOLD: Now can we go home?
I think you’ll agree that entering the HoseMaster of Wine™ International Wine Competition is the best entry fee you’ll ever throw away. Please remember to fill out the forms carefully, and note that you’ll need to submit five bottles of each wine entered. Two for the competition, and the other three for the awesome party the judges are having with the Hooters girls.
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"
"No one is immune from California sommelier and wine judge Ron Washam's skewering. He polishes that skewer with boundless enthusiasm and acuity." --JancisRobinson.com
"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."
--Reign of Terroir
Robert (Joseph) was/is funny unlike HoseMaster who wasn't/isn't.