Monday, April 25, 2016

The Master of Natural Wine Certification (MNW)

You’ve been waiting patiently for it, and now it has finally arrived. A wine credential you can be proud of. A wine credential for a new era in wine. The only wine credential that will matter in 2020. And you can be one of the very first to qualify to be a Master of Natural Wine!

Let’s face it, most wine credentials aren’t worth a thing anymore. Yes, there was a time when having those letters after your name had meaning in the wine business. It was important to be an MW. It gave you a certain gravitas in the biz, inspired admiration and wonder. Nowadays, everyone you meet has a CSW, a WSET, an MS, or an MW. Kids are trading them online like so many Pokemons. Those countless credentials are basically the celebrity sex tape of the wine business—a way to show you’re important because people want to see how you were screwed. Some people even go so far as to get TWO credentials, a kind of wine biz double penetration. No one sees those credentials as relevant anymore. Meeting someone with a wine credential is a lot like meeting someone who’s still a travel agent. Really, you think, people still want to be one of them? They survive on nostalgia, like vinyl records and missionary sex. Many people have donated their wine credential letters to their local homeless shelter where they are handed out to winos who can use them to get free passes into industry wine tastings. It’s very hard to tell the hobos from the local wine buyers at most tastings these days, though the bums tend to be more polite and have more buying power.

Into the fray over worthless wine credentials steps Master of Natural Wine. The M.N.W. program is the first of its kind, and destined to become the only truly important wine credential. Society is only now facing the frightening truths of climate change. Consumers are spending more time and more money on products that have very low impact on the environment, that are healthier and better for the planet. Or at least make those claims. No one really cares if the claims are true, and no one really investigates either. A wine has to be “natural” only insomuch as the consumer believes it’s “natural.” And that’s where we come in. As an MNW, you’re an arbiter of what’s natural in winemaking, you’re a gatekeeper, you’re an authority! We give you the tools to be able to promote natural wines, and do so with a straight face! No other program can do that.

Here’s what a few of our recent candidates, newly minted MNWs, have to say about our program:

“I used to hate Natural Wines, but it wasn’t until I sat for the MNW exam that I understood why. The days when wine was about pleasure, about sensuality, about joy, are over. Wine isn’t about that anymore. Wine always reflects life in the current culture; and in the current culture, life is just one, long, incomprehensible chemistry test. I proudly proclaim my MNW as proof that I’ve failed that exam.”—Noah de Sulfites MNW

“Natural Wines are far superior to other wines exactly as Master Sommeliers are far superior to other people—because they say so! Now that I’m officially an MNW, it’s safe to say I’m superior to everyone in the wine business. And that’s why I got into the wine business! Thank you, Court of MNWs. Only you could provide me with a piece of paper that so adequately replaces actual knowledge!”—Les Intervention MNW

“The MNW program is the manure you bury in the cow horn.”—Viola Dynamics MNW

We know that many wine lovers are skeptical about Natural Wines. Once you become a Master of Natural Wine, however, you’ll have learned that skepticism has no place in the world of Natural Wine. An MNW is uniquely qualified to take what producers, wine writers and importers claim at face value. The winemaker says that her wines are made with only minimal intervention, you have the clout and the credentials to believe her. You don’t need specifics! You’re a goddam MNW! Who cares what her definition of “minimal” is? It’s not important. Just like when we use drones against radical Muslims we don’t care about the “minimal” civilian casualties. We’re just doing what needs to be done. If the winemaker says it’s Natural Wine, and you, the MNW, say it’s Natural Wine, guess what? It’s Natural Wine. Imagine how many doors that will open for you in trendy San Francisco restaurants, or upscale Millennial wine bars, or wine educator positions at Constellation! An MNW doesn’t just say you’re a Master of Natural Wine. It also says you’re an unassailable authority. In the wine business, letters after your name don’t simply mean that you know what you’re talking about. More importantly, they mean no one else does. Imagine how much that’s worth!

You’re probably wondering how much it might cost you to earn your Master of Natural Wine. Well, let’s put it this way. More than it cost us, because we made it up! If you’d have thought of it, you could have had one for free, then charged everyone else for the right to tack your imaginary degree onto the end of their name! This is how wine credentials work. Making one up is the easy part. Getting others to think they have value is where it gets tricky. We think we have a winner with the Master of Natural Wine. We’re going to clean up! Hey, why should shady importers and unethical wineries make all the money from Natural Wines? Ask yourself that. Then apply to be an MNW candidate today, and grab a hunk of all that stupid money naive wine drinkers are willing to spend! Remember, if you don’t, someone else will.


  1. Oh, Ron, this is so exciting, I could just...spit!

  2. Hey Ron. How about a Master of Unnatural wine , you know the drivel the 95% of us drink, is produced and we quaff down with delight much to the chagrin of the MW, MSW and the leggy Sommelier short skirt lot. Not to mention the over enthusiastic, vocabulary challenged writers/critics and those of Satire, can't forget them.

  3. I want my MNW! Then I can finally call "barnyard" the manure it really is.
    Can you come up with a title that we can use before our name, i.e. people with a PhD that want to be called "Dr." but aren't actual doctors?
    "Manureist"? "Wine Naturalist"?
    "Gallo sales rep?"

  4. Brilliant as usual. Only the truth provides someone like you fodder for a weekly rant.

  5. Crude oil is "natural" (I only drink the good stuff not the motor oil with al those man made additives). 100% biodynamic--from naturally decomposed dinosaurs. Talk about terroir--I prefer new world stuff (Texas crude). The whole natural wine thing is insidious--the implication is anything not declared natural by a pedigreed entity is…well…un-natural. It is dishonest marketing mostly by well intentioned people who believe how a wine is made is more important than how it tastes. First it was "over extraction" (you know, too much of a good thing…), then it was alcohol (another too much issue….) by the way how come never too much ACIDITY? (acid reflux is a health hazard). Now it is everything is too manipulated. I think we have explained the boom in craft beer and cocktails!

  6. I am pissed off!
    You have diminished my just attained degree in natural winemaking, rendering it a waste of several minutes of conniving and designing N.W. woolen blinders.
    Damn, so close for me to be the first, numero uno--I coulda been a contender in the wine biz!
    I even had Robin Thicke in mind for "Blurred Wines".

  7. Damn - your posts are always better than mine.

  8. This is brilliant. Some of these commenting common taters may be kidding about signing them up for the MNW certification. I am not. I want that certification. I want an actual certificate suitable for framing signed by Ron Washam. I want business cards with an embossed MNW logo. I want my name put up on an MNW website which will provide confirmation of my "credentials" as a certified expert on Natural Wine. (I prefer to to capitalize the phrase Natural Wine because it proves that it is a real thing.) And I will pay real money for this package of MNW benefits. One or two hundred bucks does not seem unreasonable. For the price of two bottles of "really great" chardonnay, I could impress my friends and colleagues and make fun of them at the same time. This idea is brilliant. Come on Hose, make it happen. I am sure I am not the only one willing to pay for this.

  9. Hey Common Taters,
    It just seemed to me that in a more and more specialized world of wine, a Master of Natural Wine would fly. We could also have Master of Orange Wine, Master of Vegan Wine, and Master of Non-Alcoholic Wine. They're all made up anyway. Modern day Barber Colleges. Or Bartender Academies.

    This piece began with just the simple phrase, "Master of Natural Wine" leaping to my mind. As usual, I just began to type. It's not a particularly inspired idea, and not a particularly inspired post. It morphed into making fun of wine initials while at the same time making fun of natural wine--two abstract and indefinable concepts that people love to cling to. Most of the fun of writing lies in the unexpected directions your mind takes you as you allow it to create. I had no idea where this post was going--and though that shows rather painfully, it was sort of a fun ride.

    1. I want to be Master of Orange Wine. Please,can I?


  10. I see this being big, but only once the hipsters dope-assafy it as the "Mas Nat". Good hashtag that #masnat

    Wine on VI

  11. @Ron
    You need to set up an actual site with a basic multiple-choice "test" that let's people earn their Facebook M.N.W. stickers. That's about how worthwhile it'd be anyway! I just checked, is available ;) You could easily do this and charge for it. You'd make a boatload off of idiots thinking that this is all it takes. And you could easily be totally up front and honest. And they'd still pay for it.

    Loved the names of the quotes.

    I'd definitely take the framed, signed certificate. It'd give me some cred with my friends in the wine business! :P

  12. Oh great this will be the perfect adjunct to my church ministry with the Universal Life Church certificate!

  13. Is the M.N.W. granted through Donald Trump University?

    (Aside to John Lahart: You should switch over to . . .

    . . . considered the Sauternes of hydrocarbons. 100% natureal, with no added sulfites!

    Riedel has already devised a tasting vessel: the repurposed "Black Black Glass":

    Four times the cost of a barrel of oil. Now that is "sweet"!)

  14. First Beer Sommeliers (a.k.a. Master Cicerone®).

    Then Water Sommeliers.

    Next Soda Pop Sommeliers.

    Now this.

    These folks truly are fuckin' with my grift.

  15. Alas, I just want to eat Common Tater (Tots).

  16. Just Subscribed. What An Entrance!!!

  17. Redefines the NWA swagger:

    Naturalists Wit Attitudes

    (Hoser has already locked up the merchandising rights to T-shirts and baseball caps.)

  18. C'mon, all we need is a ACBD behind our names, certified bullshit detector.
    I love you!

  19. Um, well shit. I blame that "A" on my jet lag....sleep deprivation retardation.

  20. “The MNW program is the manure you bury in the cow horn.”—Viola Dynamics MNW
    The quotes alone are worth the price of entry! (However late to the game I may be...) How about MCW? Master of Communion Wine - bet there's plenty of guffaws to be had there...

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  22. How can I be a Master in Natural Wine? When is starting the Certification ? How much time does it takes ?