Sunday, July 31, 2016
The HoseMaster of Wine™ is Short Listed for a Roederer Wine Writers' Award
I’d forgotten that I’d entered my work on Tim Atkin MW’s site for a Roederer International Wine Writers’ Award. Every year that I’ve written for Tim, he has requested that all of his regular contributors make sure to enter the competition. It seems to be a self-nominating process, for the most part. I’m not comfortable with nominating myself for anything, except, perhaps, being an organ donor for a charity barbecue. And, I would always say to Tim, what chance does a scatalogical, raucous, tasteless satirist have in such a prestigious competition? It’s like a narcissistic buffoon trying to get nominated for President of the United States. Are people really that crazy?
I’ve won three Wine Blog Awards, and was nominated, I don’t know, maybe eleven times. I might be the most nominated wine blogger ever. Which is more shameful than not. I never nominated myself. I can say from experience that the Wine Blog Awards have a value equivalent to winning a Cub Scout merit badge. You get to wear it on a sash, but it’s hard to recognize what you actually accomplished, aside from wearing it on a sash. The Wine Blog Awards are inherently cynical and self-aggrandizing, and not worth the paper they are not written on. I’d give them back, but there’s not a fucking thing to give back. It’s like trying to return your order of refried beans with a melodic fart. There’s some satisfaction, to be sure, but it’s more about fragrance than substance.
The Roederers haven’t been around that long. But in a short span of time, they have become perhaps the most important award in wine writing. Granted, that’s a bit like being the most important award in hair styling, but true, nonetheless. In my mind, anyway. The James Beard Awards are prestigious, but there are more categories than the DSM, most of them eerily identical. Plus, I looked at the judges for the Roederers, and I couldn’t help but be impressed. (By the way, for you fellow cynics out there, Tim Atkin was not allowed to judge either me or Andrea Frost because he pays us to be on his site.) When I went to the Wine Blog Awards site, I could not find a list of this year’s judges. It’s as if they’d drawn profane cartoons of the prophet Mohammed and were in hiding. Je suis Cowardly.
But this isn’t a piece about the difference between the two awards. The only difference is one matters, the other is just so much marketing bullshit. Use your nose, it’s easy to tell which is which.
Tim Atkin sent an email on Wednesday informing Andrea Frost and me that we were going to appear on the short list for the Roederer Awards’ Ramos Pinto Online Communicator of the Year Award. I was a little confused. I used to know a busboy named Ramos who drove a Pinto, but that didn’t really make any sense. Why would he give me an award? Then I remembered entering the Roederers' competition. I was flabbergasted. I was sure Tim was screwing with me. I’m still not convinced it isn’t some sort of elaborate hoax to get me to London and humiliate me. Though that assumes there is some value in humiliating a nobody, like casting aspersions on a new Tim Allen movie.
Yet it’s true. I’ve been shortlisted (which always sounds to me like being shortsheeted—some sort of childish prank) for a Roederer Award. For one of the few times in my career as HoseMaster of Wine™, I’m proud.
I am proud, and amazed, because so rarely are satire and comedy awarded a seat at the Big Kids’ table. That my name is on a list with Andrew Jeffords and Jane Anson, two writers for whom I have enormous respect, is important—to me, of course, but far more importantly, to the cause and place of satire in wine writing. I have spent six years writing HoseMaster of Wine™. I try only to make people laugh, and very often squirm. I try to be interesting, fearless, and deranged. A Fool. I’m my own harshest critic. I take a back seat to no one when it comes to hating what I write. Yet that is the nature of a comedy writer. The most difficult thing for me to accept for the past few days has been the notion that perhaps I deserve the Roederer Award nomination. I’m trying to believe I’ve earned it. I’ll get there, but I don’t yet believe it.
The easiest part of this is that I will not win. I don’t care, not even the least bit. In fact, I would be humiliated to be chosen over Jeffords or Anson. My other fellow short listers are talented folks, too, I don’t mean to denigrate them by not addressing them, but Jeffords and Anson are in a league where I am not qualified to play. In that list, I’m the “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” guy. I know that. Yet Satire is there, playing in that league, with me as the Designated Hater. I think it’s something of a lovely miracle.
I’m not that good. I have fun, and I love to write, but I’m not really that good. Nor am I playing at false humility. Were it not for the unwavering support and encouragement of Tim Atkin MW, I wouldn’t even have bothered to apply. His belief in my satire, his willingness to allow me to write what I want without any sort of filter or editing, even at personal financial risk (from the morons at Riedel), is what put me on the wine writing map. While I owe the most to my beautiful wife, and to my long time common taters, I would never have been mentioned alongside such talent without the support of Tim Atkin MW. My sincerest thanks to him. He put his reputation behind me when no one else would. I won't ever forget that.
My mother always wanted me to be a writer. I broke her heart when I became a sommelier instead (oddly, something, in this day and age of sommelier glorification, I would not have pursued). My first thought when I saw Tim’s congratulatory email was of her. That, friends, is all the award I need.