Thursday, August 6, 2015

Riedel Threatens the HoseMaster of Wine™--Hand Blow Me


It’s about time…

Someone has finally threatened the HoseMaster of Wine™. For this post on Tim Atkin's award-winning site. Me, a lowly, bottom-feeding satirist, threatened by a billionaire glass blower. It’s the stuff of comedy, ladies and gentlemen.

And yet it’s not. The world’s most important Austrian since a guy named Adolf is upset because I wrote a satirical piece about his company. Hey, Georg, it’s what I do! It’s what I’ve been doing here for the past six years. I’ve insulted better people than you. Next time you tour around this great country of ours peddling your glassware to the intellectually challenged, ask a few folks about that damned First Amendment. It’s pretty funny in its own right.

So here’s the letter I received:




When you purchase Riedel or Spiegelau stems for your restaurant, winery or use at home, please bear in mind whom you’re supporting. A bully. A humorless, unpleasant bully. There are perfectly brilliant alternatives. Consider them. Buy them. Your Riedels will be broken soon, aren’t they always?, replace them with another brand.

I’ve been accused, now and then, of being a bully. I’m not. I write satire. Bullies try to intimidate folks they view as beneath them, people they see as weaklings. I’ve spent most of my time here satirizing those who believe they are better than the rest of us. The best people have laughed along with me. And then there is Mr. Riedel. Mr. Riedel apparently believes that my couple of thousand page views will be damaging to his company. He flatters me. I won’t return the compliment.

And I’ve set up a HoseMaster of Wine™ Defense Fund. Yes! You can donate to support the HoseMaster. Hell, if Randall Grahm can do it, why can’t I? I’m every bit as nuts. And all of you can strike a small blow for freedom of expression, for satire, for this guy who’s made you laugh every week for six years. Consider donating.

HoseMaster of Wine™ Defense Fund

Thank you. I appreciate any kind of support you can give me.

Also, if you are able, please post this piece on as many social media sites as you can. I think folks should be able to witness the tactics of Riedel, judge for themselves the sort of people who are profiting from those $100 glasses from which you’re drinking your cult wines. Plaster it all over FaceBook, make it trend on Twitter. Have fun with it.



111 comments:

Thomas said...

As long as what you write is satire or truth, a lawsuit against you in the US is largely futile. Most judges frown on defamation suits. In fact, in law school 101 difficulty in winning such a suit is among the first things taught.

Still, it was bound to happen sooner or later. Welcome to the club. As a writer, I've been there.

AB 1st Somm said...

typical of people who take themselves too seriously, they hide behind the lawyers skirts!
HAIL HOSEMASTER!
We who are about to die salute you!

Rob Romano said...

I vote for satire over anally retentive Austrians any day!

Go get em!

Keep us posted on any developments.

If you go to jail, we common-taters will tunnel-in, not to get you out, but to bring you sweet reds you can use to barter with the prison population!

Unknown said...

Get over yourself Riedel. Everyone who reads wine blogs knows that the HoseMaster is satire. In America, we have something called the First Amendment. You ought to read it. You ought to read some of the opinions regarding satire vs defamation. Before quoting some of them, let me ask you two key questions:
1) Can you prove actual damage as a result of the HoseMaster post?
2) Can you prove that the HoseMaster was motivated by actual malice?

I think not. Here's a bit of case showing how difficult it would be for you to gain anything but ridicule by pursuing this matter:

1) The best-known satire v defamation U.S. legal showdown is Hustler Magazine v. Falwell – a lawsuit immortalized in Oliver Stone’s “The People v. Larry Flynt”.

One minute synopsis of the case: Falwell sued Larry Flynt for publishing a satirical advertisement in Flynt’s nudy gentlemen’s magazine, Hustler. The faux ad implied that Falwell got it on with his own mom in an outhouse. At first, Falwell won; but, the issue made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States. And, in a ground-breaking, unanimous decision, all 7 justices ruled — albeit a few reluctantly — in favor of the pornographer. According to the court, the ad was pure satire/parody protected by the First Amendment.

“With cases involving outrageous parody and satire, the path of least resistance has been to find the ‘speech’ non-defamatory as a matter of law. The rationale used to justify this conclusion is that no reasonable reader could understand the publication as an assertion of fact. The presumption is that satires so outrageous as to preclude belief is incapable of harming reputation” – From Constitutional Law-Satire, Defamation, and the Believability Rule as a Bar To Recovery – Falwell v. Flynt by Kevin M. Smith

Unknown said...

ps: didn't mean to be anonymous. Tis I, Jacqueline Friedrich, who wrote the above post.

John Lahart said...

What a bunch of humorless creeps!
The first rule of PR is don't give a satirist a second chance! Ignore them.
Confession--I own a bunch of Riedel stemware which works pretty well.
If one goes all in on their theory of glasses making wine taste better--one would need to
begin renting storage space (by the way do wine glasses require temperature controlled environment?)
or dedicate an entire room to glasses and decanters.

By the way--I am waiting for their Sommelier series Picpoul glasses!

Dean Tudor said...

As a retired Professor of Journalism at Ryerson University in Canada who has taught Media Law and Ethics, I can safely say that you have done nothing wrong -- at least in Canada.

The problem maybe that the original posting was in the UK where defamatory lawsuits are a way of life. Riedel needs to show loss of income due to your posting, etc.

Carole Meredith said...

Ron, did you pay Riedel to threaten you? Best publicity for The Hosemaster ever!

Karl Kelsey said...

Ron - This is the ultimate compliment. Congrats on reaching a new high.

Reminds one of what Guido Sarducci (a former gossip columnist for the Vatican news) said when asked if he had faced libel suits: "[some have] threatened to sue. Some priests. I don't always print everything [so I can say] 'I could have said this, and I still can! I've always got a story in the hole".

I am certain that you have a story in the hole.

Dean Tudor said...

I posted this on a bunch of Facebook sites. Shall I also tweet?

Dean Tudor said...

I would not be surprised if Riedel's lawyers are monitoring this site for comments.

Jim Caudill said...

You've arrived, and with the proceeds of the defense fund, you can join the Republican race for President, naming Trump your vice-president.

Brian Cheeseborough said...

I would like to donate ALL of the stemware used to toast your victory when this case goes to court. Does anyone have a direct numb er for LIBBY?

Dean Tudor said...

If Ron runs for Prez, then he will never be assassinated...

bungsniffer said...

What an angry little man. Of course, the Riedel family has a reputation to live up to. Threatening a lawsuit against a blogger for an obvious satire piece does nothing to hurt that reputation.

clay h. said...

nothing like a successful company with an underdeveloped sense of humor.

I guess what this shows,
is it can hurt to be hosed.

--was that Nick Lowe or Buddy Holly?

5d416fd4-094b-11e5-ba38-ef4d914d96ca said...

There was zero chance of the original post damaging the Riedel reputation or brand but there is a chance, albeit small, that the legal threat could cause harm. Ironic.

Nigel said...

The lawyer's letter contains grammatical errors. If I were Georg, I'd demand my money back.

Charlie Olken said...

I am trying to figure out where my Riedel stemware is. Other than Overture Reds, which is our tasting glass and good enough to show most wines off for what they are, the few fancy glasses I have are packed away because they are too big for the table and too much trouble to wash.

I have to give Riedel credit for elevating the status and quality of the wine glass, but this fetish that the company has tried to create of a glass for each variety has always seemed to me to be overkill. It is ripe for satirization, and if Mr. Riedel had any idea how many people in the wine biz have laughed at the notion of a glass for every variety, he would need a veritable army to sue them all.

By the way, I was very happy to learn that you will be safe in the U. S. and Canada, but I must advise you to avoid England. The prison wine over there is no laughing matter.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron Love,
We discontinued their glasses about a year ago and after this, even happier and more assured in that decision. Twats.
I love you!

Stephen McConnell said...

Got this letter from someone in the industry once. Makes you feel kinda uneasy. I love my (normal, sane, regular, practical) Riedels and have been a fan for a long time but that dude just plain takes his brand too seriously--and himself. Some of his antics really make me ashamed. Shared FB, TW, IG, Blogspot and G+

Larry the Wine Guy said...

You can write to the lawyers here:

http://www.tashpad.com/CM/Custom/Contact.html

I thanked them for saving me money as I won't be spending any on new wine glasses from Riedel.

David Fish said...

HRH<

Ron, your article regarding Reidel was genius. It was also VERY clearly satirical, and no lawsuit could find any footing.

I don't know who said it, but someone said "Judge them not only by their friends, but by their enemies."...

If you can anger the Great and Mighty Georg, then you are indeed sending strong signals and should be commended.

Keep up the good work!

david

Jeff Siegel said...

It's actually not the First Amendment that protects you, since that's about the government restricting speech. Rather, it's a 1964 ruling called Times v. Sullivan. In it, the Supremes ruled that a public figure can only win a libel suit if it shows reckless disregard for the truth. Obviously, that's not the case here, since Riedel is a public figure and your work is not considered journalism.

Sadly, as we've seen with Champagne Jayne, this is becoming a new tactic for deep pocketed businesses who don't like what people write or how they write about their product.


Don Clemens said...

Already shared on my FB page. And to think that I once considered becoming a lawyer. Glad that I made wine sales and education my career choice.

Doug Parsons said...

You just can't make this stuff up. I've bought my last Riedel. As my cache breaks... And they all will eventually, they will be replaced by other good chalices. I'll never support anyone with no sense of humor!

Alden Skinner said...

Here's the email for Riedel's US PR firm: riedel@nikecomm.com

They should be breaking into hives about now...

Tom In Real Life said...

Wow. Do they really think this is going to end with letter from their lawyer? Obviously they've never met you or read your stuff. My advice? Counter lawsuit. It's obvious you've been traumatized by this whole incident. And let's face it, if they really wanted to shut you up why not just resort to the tried and true method... bribery. A half-dozen of each from the Sommelier line should do the trick. Of course, they'll all be broken in a week.

Bob Henry said...

Ron,

Did Gourmet magazine receive a similar letter after running their debunking article in 2004?

Reach out to the article's writer:

https://www.linkedin.com/pub/daniel-zwerdling/7/b10/783

Hell, he might even wish to turn this into an on-air story on NPR.

~~ Bob

(Does your defense fund accept Bitcoins? You do need to be au courant when it comes to panhandling.)

Unknown said...

I would have continued buying Riedel glassware due to the fact that they have several stems that work well for my needs and my laziness in trying to find better priced alternatives.
With this, however, Riedel is no longer welcome in my home or professional stemware sets.
I stand with the grand Hoser!

Bob Henry said...

Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal “Personal Journal” Section
(May 21, 2009, Page D1ff):

“Bloggers, Beware: What You Write Can Get You Sued”

[Link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124287328648142113.html]

By M.P. McQueen
Staff Reporter

Bloggers are increasingly getting sued or threatened with legal action for everything from defamation to invasion of privacy to copyright infringement. . . . . There have been about $17.4 million in trial awards against bloggers to date, according to the Media Law Resource Center in New York, a nonprofit clearinghouse that tracks free-speech cases.

Many lawsuits are thrown out of court or settled before trial, but not before causing headaches for the accused. Though the likelihood of a plaintiff winning a lawsuit is not high, "you could go bankrupt" just from defending against them, says Miriam Wugmeister, a partner at Morrison & Foerster LLP and a privacy and data-security law expert.

. . .

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beau said...

To hell with Riedel, I'm switching (back to) Solo Cups. It's so Portland. Your piece was hilarious Ron, and I know many here who completely buy into Riedel's bs.

gabriel jagle said...

Congratulations! Once you've been threatened by a lawyer, you've really made it.

Bob and Lexie said...

Poor Georg (without an e). His lawyer claims people don't know it's satire even though everyone knows it's satire, except, I guess, poor Georg (without an e) and his lawyer. No more Riedel (too many e's) in our house. Too many broken glasses. Hey, what a marketing idea: make expensive glass that breaks whenever you touch it so you have to keep buying more. WOW! Those Austrians are clever....Keep writing, Ron.

Dean Tudor said...

Ron, I am now prepared to offer you amnesty in Canada, land of the free. Just come to the border at Niagara Falls New York, cross the Rainbow Bridge on foot, and enter as a pedestrian. I will be waiting for you on the other side with new identity and many passports. I am sure that I can even find a travel jaunt for you to visit each and every one of Ontario's 200 or so wineries, staying overnight at each. Plus, of course, free refugee membership in the Wine Writers' Circle of Canada.

Just stay away from that blonde hair in Ottawa.

40a073d6-3c61-11e5-89db-93c2a0b79a70 said...

Damn, I was hoping you would go to prison and write the defining reviews of Pruno and Prison Hooch. This is clearly an under reported part of our business. Oh well, I am going to go smash my remaining Reidels and get a hold of my Dixie Cup rep.

John Cesano said...

http://johnonwine.com/2015/08/06/the-satirist-and-the-glass-maker/

antociano said...

Love to read all supportive reactions and difficult to add some different than all this great people.

Unknown said...

Sounds like maybe Riedel feels Zalto nipping at their heels.

Unknown said...

Consider yourself honored to have earned an official legal threat. When I wrote about turning the Riedel "O" glass into a mug back in 2007 (http://www.wineskewer.com/2007/riedel.html), all I got was a sharp email from Riedel's PR agency at the time. I thought THEY were joking. I changed nothing, and never heard from them again.

I would expect they will come to their senses soon enough and just drop this. Losing-est battle ever...

Tish

Alan Goldfarb said...

The Lost E everyone, is for Egotist & Egregious. Also, everyone watch the Daily Show tonight: I'm told there's a segment about a Jewish wedding; and they'll break a Riedel Kosher Wine Glazele.

Stillman Brown said...

Bummer that GoFundMe didn't exist when Randall Graham and Robert Parker threatened to sue me - I had to spend my own money to send their NY attorneys 'fuck off and die' letters.
I wish they were the same attorneys that sent you this letter, but that was almost 25 years ago. No doubt they're unhappily retired, a redundancy in that line of work.

I have boxes of Riedels, they made them out of glass
And if I fill the wrong ones, my wines all taste like ass

Pete said...

Jeff Siegel, Times v. Sullivan is a factor, but the more applicable case is Hustler Magazine v. Falwell. And in any case, both decisions were based on protections guaranteed under the First (and the Fourteenth) amendments. From the Hustler ruling:

We conclude that public figures and public officials may not recover for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress by reason of publications such as the one here at issue without showing, in addition, that the publication contains a false statement of fact which was made with "actual malice," i.e., with knowledge that the statement was false or with reckless disregard as to whether or not it was true. This is not merely a "blind application" of the New York Times standard, see Time, Inc. v. Hill, 385 U.S. 374, 390 (1967); it reflects our considered judgment that such a standard is necessary to give adequate "breathing space" to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment. [p57]

Here it is clear that respondent Falwell is a "public figure" for purposes of First Amendment law. [n5] The jury found against respondent on his libel claim when it decided that the Hustler ad parody could not "reasonably be understood as describing actual facts about [respondent] or actual events in which [he] participated." App. to Pet. for Cert. C1. The Court of Appeals interpreted the jury's finding to be that the ad parody "was not reasonably believable," 797 F.2d at 1278, and, in accordance with our custom, we accept this finding. Respondent is thus relegated to his claim for damages awarded by the jury for the intentional infliction of emotional distress by "outrageous" conduct. But, for reasons heretofore stated, this claim cannot, consistently with the First Amendment, form a basis for the award of damages when the conduct in question is the publication of a caricature such as the ad parody involved here. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is accordingly
Reversed.

PaulG said...

I abandoned Riedels quite some time ago. Too fragile, too easily stained, too many different glasses when all I really want is one go-to glass for whites and one for reds. Here are a couple of good options: Luigi Bormioli (http://www.luigibormioli.com) and Gabriel Glas (http://gabriel-glasinternational.com). I have absolutely no financial or other interest in either organization. But I've tasted zillions of wines from hundreds of different glasses. These work well, show wines well, clean up well, and can even be put in the dishwasher (not that I would recommend that). No more Riedels for me.

Unknown said...

Pete, I cited the Falwell case in my post.

Jacqueline Friedrich

Pete said...

Jacqueline - Oops, indeed you did! Apologies for missing that.
Pete

Kbell said...

That's it--I'm selling all of my Riedels and using the profits to fund your defense. Jerks.

CTB Dids said...

Rather than contribute to your legal fund, you should encourage all your readers to write to the lawyer, every letter he receives will incur costs on Riedel, thereby making it very expensive for them to proceed

Lewis Perdue said...

Je Suis Hosemaster And you van be too! Post the original post on your own site! You may not agree with Ron or even like his writing, but you could be next if some humorless/clueless person doesn't like you either.

mwangbickler said...

Congratulations. You've reached the big leagues. Hah!

susan wu said...

I was crazy about everything & anything Austrian - the exquisite pastry & coffee, the sound of music, the dazzling crystals, the blue Danube river and the enchanting Vienna Boys' Choir - and fantasized about the supreme fertility of an Austrian man. The almighty Francis I could make Maria Theresa pregnant 16 times in 20 years!

But I'm so distressed now that I've known he's actually handicapped with Anger Management Deficiency. I know he's been stressed by the high-end glassware decline and resentful of the reality that people don't frequently entertain with crystal stemware at home anymore. Sadly, transferring his own anger to an American blogger (BTW, HouseMaster is not a journalist) is not his saving grace. He could have learnt from Maria Theresa who might be inferior intellectually but superior in securing a favorable PR image.

Time has changed, and he could be happier if he embraced the fact that young high-tech dudes in their twenties became billionaires overnight with their technology creations. Plus, when you're the remora in a "shark & remora" food-chain, you'll need to wait a shark to do very well first before you get your share.

More sadly out of all is to see how some attorneys genuflected toward money-power rather than sticking to their guns.

Doug Frost said...

Ron and all - I think we should each contact Riedel directly to request that they back down. The wine biz is small enough that we could make some impact or at least make them wonder why they didn't get the joke to begin with. Everyone needs to hit the twittersphere and other media to get out the word...

And my congratulations for tweaking the beast...

Doug

Wines for the People said...

I would never dream of asking anyone, let alone the HoseMaster, to bend to a bully, but imagine the possibilities. Yes, the original post would have to come down, but an apology would have to be posted in its place. That apology could quote the entire original post, while offering a line-by-line (or such) explanation of what it is you are "apologizing" for, namely that GR is so big an ass he can't take a joke. Could get two pieces out of one!

Tim Atkin said...

Thanks for all the support, everyone. I've received a similar (but more threatening) letter in the UK.

winey brett said...

Ah, that explains why there is no glass designed for Satire…

Ken At Popehat said...

I'm an attorney, a member of the First Amendment Lawyer Association, and a writer. I write about legal threats and their impact on free speech, as well as related phenomena like the Streisand Effect. I also help threatened bloggers find pro bono legal help.

Feel free to reach out if you need assistance. ken@popehat etc.

Carole Meredith said...

Hey, Lewis Perdue, I just Googled #JeSuisHosemaster to see if anyone had started using it and Google said "Did you mean Jesus hamster?"

Lewis Perdue said...

Hey Carole Meredith, do you suppose that Jesus hamster saves?

Lewis Perdue said...

But seriously, I think using #NoRiedel in tweets would help, as would others posting the piece on their own sites.

John M. Kelly said...

Interesting. These clueless clowns must think somehow Georg is more specialer than that insufferable prick Jerome Corsi, who got his ass handed to him by the court when he tried to sue Esquire and author Mark Warren for Warren's satirical post about Corsi's "birther" book being pulled from shelves days before release - when Obama released a copy of his birth certificate.

Your post on HoseMaster of Wine™ was obviously satire, even to readers who aren't your regular common taters. And as others have noted above, US courts have found over and over that satire is not defamation. You are not likely to ever have to pay these asses a dime, but I hope you can find an attorney among your regular readers who will take on your defense on contingency, and then sue them for legal fees when their suit is thrown out. Case law in the UK, on the other hand, means that Tim faces a more doubtful path.

And BTW - I made a short video to let Georg Riedel know what I think of his dubious products: https://instagram.com/p/6DrANoKNiQ/

Lewis Perdue said...

Annnnnnd ... it would take a while and a little organization, but the entire original piece could be broken into small enough segments to tweet the whole thing (leaving enough room for #NoRiedel in every post). Entire books have been tweeted so there is something of a precedent

MATCOHEN said...

The only way that they will learn is if they know that this will harm their business.
If you want to stop them, everyone should tellt hem that as a result of this, they will never buy their glasses again.
https://riedelusa.net/contacts/index/

Harshal Shah said...

Good luck Ron. Don't cut yourself in the process. And never let 'em see you bleed!

Jack said...

what a glass hole.

Eric V. Orange said...

Holy shit, Hose..SCORE!!!!!
Best thing that could happen.
You'll be weeks responding to all these common-taters.
This has to be a record, no???

EVO

Wines for the People said...

Will do what I can on your end, sir.Thanks for hosting the Hose!

Beentheredonethat! said...

Where can I return for a refund all of my stained, uncleanable, chipped, cracked, broken stemless Riedel stemware?

WineBusProf said...

Ironic that no-one commented on the satirical article dissuading them from buying Riedel's glasses, but the comments received in response to the legal threat have made me question the wisdom of considering such a purchase.... So, I guess we should wish good luck to Riedel's PR team!

David Rossi said...

A ridiculous letter and fortunately it has no chance of success legally. If what you do isn't satire I don't now what is. And now some more jokes about Riedel...

I use their Oklahoma Jelly Jar shape for my grain alcohol. I find it brings out the finest aromas of gasoline and despair.

A lot of people don't know about their Canine line of crystal dog bowls. Dogs find that it helps to concentrate the aromas of their food. Especially after a fatiguing day of sniffing butts.

In Colorado the Hemp series is very popular. It allows the esters and volatile components of bong water to enhance the aromatic expression of.. of.. what was I saying? Dude.

The new Superior series is the most pretentious line of glasses in the world. Hand crafted in France by people that despise you. Let's face it you wouldn't know good wine if you tasted it.

The new Blackout Drunk series is the number one seller on college campuses. It has a built in clip that attaches to the toilet so your hands are freed up to hold the hair out of your face when vomiting.

Who can forget the classic Riedel Pinata Decanter. Fine crystal blown into a traditional donkey shape. Just hang it from a tree at your next dinner, put on a blindfold and whack it with a stick! The wine sprays into the waiting mouths of your guests. Disclaimer: Inhalation of shards of glass may accompany use of the Riedel Pinata and may cause gastrointestinal bleeding, throat lacerations, and potentially death.

I can do this all night.

Riedel- Please send me a letter.

Wines for the People said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Boyd said...

And just as the Riedel line for the Château Splooge-specific glasses was about to roll out! No wonder Georg was pissed!

Tim Atkin said...

Pro bono legal help might prove useful in the UK!

BingBong said...

Satire is part of the spirit of life. However, comparing someone to Hitler, only because he happens to be Austrian, is not satire to me, but plain racism.
I do not compare my US friends to the people who threw the first atomic bomb on other human beings nor to people who exterminated an entire native race in taking their land away. I consider myself above that ;-)

David Pears said...

HoseMan!

I loved the piece on Georg-Boy - but actually, I think some of your other lame posts have been more insulting / funny. I think Riedel has a Heart of (Gl)ass if he feels insulted by your satirical piece. On behalf of the winos of Denmark, I would like to throw out any varietal-specific Riedel-glasses i find, until Georg has apologized and made a glass series for Splooge Estate.

Hey ho for Hosie!

David

Leo said...

Well,
I just copied your post, and pasted it on Riedel´s Facebook page. It would be nice if as much people as possible started calling them out on their FB page.
=)

Bodega Almaroja said...

If Riedel had engaged his brain before ringing his lawyers, he would have seen that this was a good deal for him. He was getting free publicity from you and as we know there, there´s no such thing as bad publicity. Someone might concievably think twice about buying his products, but there will be others who will think that his is an interesting proposition and worth investigating. Now he just looks like an humourless, insecure jerk. The lawyer´s letter has done him far more damage than your article could ever have done. Circumspection is a wonderful thing, and sadly lacking from his actions.

Bob Rossi said...

I can't add much to the comments already here (nor can I even read them all). But I do think that sommeliers should also consider a class action defamation suit against The Hosemaster.
Seriously, though, have to thank Jacqueline Friederich for her info about the Falwell Supreme Court case; I knew there was one, but this saved me the time researching the issue. Also, I read the New Yorker piece about Max Riedel's visit to NY, and in my eyes that was more defamatory than this satire. I do own a set of ordinary Riedel glasses, which I use all the time, but all of this makes me reluctant to ever buy another Riedel glass. Unless, that is, they come out with a Jurancon glass.

Joe Roberts said...

"Riedel" rhymes with "needle." And, apparently, with "a**holes."

I'll be ripping them a new one on 1WD next week. Stay tuned.

Winebroad said...

Fellow "Daily Show" fans know that Jon Stewart has mercilessly mocked Arby's for years ("Arby's: It's like your stomach got punched in the balls.") But rather than threatening to sue him for defamation, do you know what Arby's did? They sponsored his final shows, with an ad featuring a montage of Stewart's funniest Arby's jabs, set to the tune of "Thank You for Being a Friend." THAT, is how it's done, folks!

Charlie Olken said...

Riedel--it's like your wallet got punched in the balls.

You have to wonder where in the corporate chain at Riedel came the decision to make a "federal case" out of a piece of satire. One hopes it was not at the top but in these family-controlled, closely held business, it often is top down--either directly or by company culture.

I always thought that the Riedels had to have a sense of humor. How else could they peddle all those glasses with a straight face? Who could imagine that anyone would invent a stemless wine glass--well, except for the Mason Jar folks who did it a century earlier?

We all hope that this thing backfires on them. It is not just the total failure to understand the Constitution or the total failure to demonstrate an understanding of satire let alone a total failure to have even a smidgeon of perspective about their own overblown enterprise that pisses us all of. It is the bullying nature of their reaction that is so far beyond the pale.

I said it before and I will say it again. There is real good in what Riedel has accomplished in advancing the cause of the wine glass. But this stunt must and is being contested in the court of public opinion, and Riedel is losing.

The artist formerly known as The WineGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Larsen said...

I think my first comment didn't send so will try again. As someone who has been on the wrong end of a frivolous lawsuit, I can tell you that some people will use the legal system as a weapon. Their goal is not to win the lawsuit, just to punish you by dragging you through the process . It's a brutal process, if you don't have the money to hire a good attorney .

David Larsen said...

I think my first comment didn't send so will try again. As someone who has been on the wrong end of a frivolous lawsuit, I can tell you that some people will use the legal system as a weapon. Their goal is not to win the lawsuit, just to punish you by dragging you through the process . It's a brutal process, if you don't have the money to hire a good attorney .

Lewis Perdue said...

David Laraen: yes, you are correct. That's why the fundraiser is there: to make sure this sleazy lawsuit can be fought well. And that the world knows about it. People do not like seeing their money spent on a product sold by someone like Riedel

Unknown said...

Ron,
Sao Anash here. I do some PR. Man, If I were Georg, I'd grow some testicular fortitude, and fire those lawyers and that PR team. They are definitely not working in his best interest.

So, he's a rich guy with deep insecurities and a huge ego. I've met hundreds of rich guys in the wine biz over the years, and I can count on one hand (okay, three fingers) the rich guys I know who don't take themselves too seriously and are well-adjusted. The rest mostly operate from a place of fear of insignificance and a need for power...an exhausting combo for any human being.

Anyway, he may be a rich, arrogant guy, but he's not evil...just surrounded by hacks.

Any good PR person or legal counsel would have told him, "Listen Georg, this guy has lampooned Parker even worse than he lampooned you. He's a satirist. That's what they do. It means you and your wine glasses matter enough for people to pay attention. That's an okay thing. No big deal"

Instead, they and the lawyers so an opportunity to get this guys knickers in a twist and make some bank. It's not fair to the Riedel brand name, and it most certainly is not fair to Ron.

For goodness sake, he's a regular person with a blog where he posts satires.

If you step back, this story really belongs in The Onion.

Stay strong, Ron. Sorry for any stress this may be causing you.

Leigh W Dryden said...

When i first read this piece of Tim's blog it really did not take me very long to work out that as we say here in Australia " that someone was taking the piss " out of this matter. This tongue and cheek repose highlighted how carried away the world of wine has become, how important some people have become all based on their own opinion. To tell you the truth I saw this as some pretty harmless fun but it reminded me that we should not take ourselves to seriously as the world is already full of to many experts.The world of wine is full of so many false prophets who have made millions and a profession of listening to the sound of their own voice- gee whizz. cheers Leigh

MisterWine said...

Unsubscribe me. I'm tired of getting emails.

Stephen Schmitz said...

Good God, I am so so so so so happy today I'm not their PR person.

Also another reason why law offices should have PR people? Someone somewhere should have told them this was a moronic idea.

Alden Skinner said...

Dear "Mister Wine"

Go unsubscribe yourself. You obviously don't get what's going on here.

Don Clemens said...

Agreed!

Bob Henry said...

Is it time for wiser heads to prevail, and call for a "beer summit"?

Georg can supply the glasses.

Henry Louis Gates -- who has experience with these things -- can moderate.

What shouldn't be lost on folks is what happens on the other side of The Pond, and our buddy Tim:

http://www.wine-searcher.com/m/2015/08/riedel-legal-threat-to-hosemaster-no-laughing-matter

If things go badly for Tim, there could be real tears in his beer . . .

Legless in Burgundy said...

I have already promised my support if needed. But in defence of the New Yorker, Maimilian Riedel comes across as a total and utter twat. See you next Tuesday Max!

John M. Kelly said...

"Wiser heads", Bob? Who would those be? Reidel's reaction was demonstrably unwise. In fact I think that by being so precipitous, they may have queered their putative case in the UK. I believe for Reidel to prevail in a defamation suit in the UK, they would have to show monetary damages from publication of the post itself. If they suffer loss of revenue from consumer backlash prompted by their unwise and hasty jump to threaten Atkin, too bad for them.

Dave Williams said...

Dear Master of Hoses,

Running behind in keeping up with your posts, I was alerted to this by my local wine seller.

In addition to the funding startup, may I suggest you put out a line of T-shirts?

Would love to have one with #JeSuisHosemaster on the front and on the back:

#NoRiedel
what a glass hole

or any/all other bon mots that you are so infamously famous for.

I would order a couple of dozen to had out as early Xmas presents, and make sure to wear one to every wine tasting event that I could attend.

Besides, my "Screw It" T-shirt has faded from Bordeaux to Beaujolais Nouveau and will soon have more holes in it than Georg's entire legal team.

Cheers,

Dave (aka Yeah, That One and PolarBear)



Charlie Olken said...

Gathering the Crowd in Defense of The Hosemaster

I have spent much of the weekend worrying about your defense fund and studying crowd-funding efforts to raise money for unusual ventures. In particular, I have studied the effort put forth by Randall Grahm in his attempt to raise the first $150,000 of his final goal of $350,000 as he goes about creating 10,000 new grape varieties.

Sadly, his efforts are falling far short, and my analysis of why that happened has turned to the prizes he has offered for those whose imaginations run parallel to his. For example, he offers $200 off on a meal in London at Clarke’s—nice restaurant that has one of his wines on its list along with a decent smattering of other California bottlings. No one signed up for that one—perhaps because air fare and hotel were not included.

Or consider $20,000 for dinner with Randall and Mario Batalli. Now, that might be fun, but $20,000? Hell, I can get it for you wholesale.

And that has got me to thinking. How are we, the loyal followers and common taters here in Hosemaster land, going to raise the dosh to keep you out of the slammer. Here are some ideas.

For ten dollars, The Hosemaster will promise to keep publishing for another week. Believe me, I am all in on that one. I might even double down.

For fifty dollars, The Hosemaster will not only publish for the next month but will respond to any drivel we post in the comments sections—even when it is Bob Henry quotes or Thomas Pellechio reminding us that he was once in the wine selling biz.

For two-hundred dollars, The Hosemaster will mention you in a paragraph that is otherwise devoted to his favorite wines at Splooge Estate.

For two-hundred fifty dollars, Samantha Dugan will drink a Zinfandel of your choice.

For five-hundred dollars, you can become a character in the MS Mysteries—if they ever reappear.

For a thousand dollars, Larry Anosmia will teach you how to taste Gruner Veltliner.

For two thousand dollars, The Hosemaster will name his next child after you. Warning: I have not checked this one out yet with his lovely wife.

For three thousand dollars, dinner with The Hosemaster. Ron Washam optional.

For five thousand dollars, The Hosemaster will name a grape variety after you.

- - - -

My fellow common taters, we need to unite in support of The Hosemaster in this dark hour lest he become not only the next victim of Georg Riedel but possibly also the next victim of Donald Trump who will blame The Hosemaster for the California drought.

Bob Henry said...

Okay agitator Charlie, I'll take the bait.

"For fifty dollars, The Hosemaster will not only publish for the next month but will respond to any drivel we post in the comments sections—even when it is Bob Henry quotes or Thomas Pellechio reminding us that he was once in the wine selling biz."

I got the month of August.

Thomas, you can cover September.

The comment I'd like to see posted? An update from Tim on his situation in the U.K. -- who could become "collateral damage" if things go badly. (Something I would like weighs on Ron's mind . . .)

~~ Bob


From: GoFundMe
Date: Mon, Aug 10, 2015 at 12:17 AM
Subject: Thank you Bob Henry, successful donation to HoseMaster of Wine Defense Fund
To: Bob Henry

Hi Bob Henry!
Thanks for your $50 donation to
HoseMaster of Wine™ Defense Fund

Bob Henry said...

Once again with clarity . . .

"The comment I'd like to see posted? An update from Tim on his situation in the U.K. -- who could become "collateral damage" if things go badly. (Something I would like to think weighs on Ron's mind . . .)"

Thomas said...

I take exception to being on the low end of the "for $x" scale. But then, Charlie Olkin always spells my last name wrong, so maybe he has someone else in mind.

Did I mention I used to be in the wine sales business?

Thomas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl LaFong said...

Hit me with your best Schott (Zwiesel)

The first fully automated production of blown glass stemware, so you get machine blown instead of hand blown, if that's your idea of a good time. Nothing better than a German with a handy machine.

Really solid glasses that have held up in the dishwasher for years under almost daily use.

Georg Riedel's lawyers are bunch of tools, let them sniff out of the wrong glass.

Cheers

Charlie Olken said...

Who the hell is Pellechio? Sorry, Thomas.

Charlie Olkin

Bob Henry said...

Thomas,

You know what they say in Hollywood:

"All publicity is good publicity -- so long as they spell your name right."

~~ Bob

Thomas said...

Looks like all is forgiven: http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2015/08/riedel-vs-hosemaster-resolved/

bungsniffer said...

While it may be resolved, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth regarding Riedel. I can't support a business that attempts to bully people around the way they did. There had to be a better way to handle the situation than the way they did.

Eric V. Orange said...

Just read this is resolved. Congrats. Your name has been broadcast wider than ever before and you made a bit o cash.

EVO

Eric V. Orange said...

Just read this is resolved. Congrats. Your name has been broadcast wider than ever before and you made a bit o cash.

EVO

Free Run Juice - Damien said...

Ron, you know Riedel do have a sense of humour; they developed a 'Bacchus' glass for English wine for Chrissakes!

Unknown said...


Ron,
Sao Anash here again. Sounds like they may have relented, according to the post on Atkins' blog. Feel free to keep my GoFundMe donation and buy yourself a nice dinner. You deserve it after all this stress.

Bob Henry said...

(Preface: If you are wondering if Ron's silence suggests he has entered the wine witness protection program to avoid a certain Austrian's lawyers -- fear not. He dropped me a note, announcing he was at TexSomm in Texas. He will have a blog entry on Thursday.)

Seconding Sao Anash's comment above, if there are no legal expenses outstanding, use my donation to the cause to snag a bottle of Bedrock Limerick Lane Zin that you waxed poetic about in "HoseMaster of Wine™: Doin' It Horizontal with Limerick Lane." [*]

It is the least I could do.

(My detractors might carp: the VERY least he could do . . .)

[*Morgan Twain-Peterson’s Bedrock version was brilliant. Morgan is a great winemaker of Zin, in my book, one of the best -- even better than his illustrious father. His Limerick Lane Zin had everything -- a beautiful nose, all that luscious, ripe red fruit (raspberry and plum), Zin’s spicebox, amazing vibrancy and delineation, remarkable freshness for a wine of such power, and a very long finish. Oh man, I wish I owned some of it.]

WineKnurd said...

Jesus I don't comment for a few weeks and the world goes to shit! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!

Da'Knurd