Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The HoseMaster of Wine™ Wins a Roederer International Wine Writers' Award!


Every now and then, something happens that makes you feel great. An unexpected love letter from someone you have feelings for. Praise from someone for whom you have great respect, and who praises an example of your work for which you too have great fondness. A stray dog walks up to you in a park and curls into your lap. You feel great.

I won a Roederer International Wine Writers’ Award. Imagine that.

Hell, maybe Trump does have a chance. And don’t bet against the Cubs now. It could be that kind of year for Losers.

My category was the Ramos Pinto Online Communicator of the Year Award. I think it’s abundantly clear from my work that I believe the universe has a sense of humor. Irony is not a rare and precious mineral, it is as common as the fetid air we breathe. I laughed out loud when I read the list of previous winners of the Online Communicator Award. Three names in particular gave me some perspective on the prestige of having won—W. Blake Gray, Alice Feiring, Natalie MacLean. Life does have a way of keeping one humble.

I have often remarked here that awards are more about the group handing out the awards than about the recipients. Yet I’m damned pleased to have won, if not outright astonished. The Roederer Award becomes a permanent part of my resumé, and I am honored. Is it tasteless for the winner to demand a recount?

Is it at this point that I praise the others on the short list? Why do I have the feeling that not a single one of them was that thrilled to be on the short list with the HoseMaster of Wine™? No matter. Andrew Jeffords has won six Roederers now. I think that means next time he gets the free buffet and car wash. Mr. Jeffords is a far better writer than I, I think we can all agree on that. I expected him to win, though I hate betting the sure thing. Jane Anson is a wonderful writer as well, and I had the great pleasure of meeting her at the Napa Valley Professional Wine Writers’ Symposium in January. She was my sentimental favorite to win. And win she did, luckily for me, in the Features Writing category. Well-deserved. Andrea Frost also writes a monthly piece for Tim Atkin MW, and, while her style is the sort I love to lampoon, I admire her writing ear, her ability to turn a strikingly original phrase. I don’t know anything about Yolanda Ortiz de Arri, but she has the coolest name. And Alder Yarrow and I go back a long way.

I do believe that it’s important that wine writing be recognized in a serious fashion. The Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards are doing exactly that, and I commend them. Hey, you’re going to make mistakes, but the concept is bulletproof. There are not any other awards that only honor wine writing. (First clown that brings up the Wine Blog Awards, welcome to the Go Fuck Yourself Club®!) Most awards throw in the wine category as an afterthought, a way to bring a few more eyes to their ceremonies and results. Wine writers as Miss Congeniality. In the event Miss America dies, we go to your house for the wake. It’s insulting. So I hope that the folks at the Roederers stay the course, focus solely on wine writing. Any of you who have tried to write about wine on a regular basis know how difficult it is to be thoughtful and original about what is at heart a very narrow subject. Yet it’s a beloved subject to millions of people in the world, and the people who endeavor to make it more accessible and entertaining deserve recognition. My sincerest thanks to the people at Louis Roederer. Yours is the only wine writing award I wanted to win. I never once expected I would.

And a very big thank you to the five judges. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have to think that selecting me as the winner had to feel like taking a risk. My profane and often controversial writing for Tim Atkin MW's site (all the pieces I submitted for review were originally published there) is a long way from the traditional wine writing practiced by the others on the short list. Perhaps that worked in my favor, but, nevertheless, I very much appreciate the support of the judges who had the courage, or the whimsy, to vote for me. It's a distinguished panel of judges, which makes the award that much more meaningful to me. Charles Metcalfe, Tim Atkin MW, Fiona Beckett, Sara Jane Evans MW, Bill Knott--thank you, one and all. I've never had the pleasure of meeting any of you, which also worked in my favor, I'm certain.

Writing is a peculiar compulsion. I’ve written that I do this simply to make people laugh, but that’s not entirely true. I do it primarily for myself. I publish it to make people laugh, but I write to open that door in my mind where the voice now called the HoseMaster dwells. I’m not an interesting person in real life. I’m not well-traveled, I’m not especially brilliant, I’m deeply insecure and often withdrawn. Yet I can find this part of my mind that makes people laugh, that is able to see the farce that is every day life, that is fearless and quick-witted, unafraid to tell truths that others will not, that appeals to intelligent people and attractive women. I’m only that man when I’m here writing in that voice, and that requires I be alone a lot of the time, and lost in my thoughts much of the time otherwise. I live in my head. So often the rest of the world is a disappointment. You don’t want to be me.

I most certainly did not begin HoseMaster of Wine™ in order to become an award-winning wine writer. I had no aspirations when I began, and I still have none. I’m not a journalist. I write about wine, but wine isn’t my subject. Human foible and folly are my subjects, with wine as a mirror. I’m not really sure what it is I communicate online as Online Communicator of the Year. Maybe that wine and the wine business are not above satire any more than any other subject is above it. Maybe that wine isn’t just a terrible financial investment, but it’s also a terrible emotional investment. Maybe that knowing a lot about wine doesn’t make you important, or valuable, or admirable. We all take wine too seriously. Yes, it’s a miracle, but so is pizza. Maybe we should stop lying so much about wine.

I’m very flattered and extremely proud to have won a Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Award. Thank you to all the judges, and to Champagne Roederer and Ramos Pinto, the finest Port producer in the history of Port producers. Suck it, Fonseca.

I’ve been at this for a long stretch now, and the rewards have been immeasurably life-changing and rewarding. Awards recognize past accomplishments, and are fleeting. In the real world, you’re only as good as your recent work. The people I’ve met because of my work are the real reward. They are too numerous to mention, but you all know who you are. A writer writes alone, but lives among those who read his work. Being unread is death to a writer. A voice unheard is no voice at all. Thanks to all those who have heard me.

I know I offend people. I intend offense. Satire is intended to outrage and offend people. I measure my own success by who it is I’ve offended, who I’ve driven to outrage. I judge myself by that list of people, and I am content when everyone on that list is a fool, an idiot, or an asshole. So far, so good. Most have been all three. But satire is more than that. It spits in the face of false authority. It questions the establishment (oh, yes, I grew up in the ’60’s). It makes us laugh while it makes us think, and that is a rare kind of doubleheader. I am not a great satirist, or a comic genius. But if I’ve somehow paved the way for that kind of talent to emerge by being recognized with a Roederer Award, if I've made satire seem more vital to the wine business, then I’ve succeeded beyond my wildest dreams.

Thank You, Louis Roederer International Wine Writers' Awards. I feel great.

32 comments:

Steve Pinzon said...

Congrats, well deserved! And keep up the good work, Steve Pinzon

Jim Caudill said...

You'll always be Ramos Fizz Ron to me....

Goddess of Wine said...

Congratulations, Ron! Well done, and well-deserved. Cheers!

Tom In Real Life said...

Well, that's pretty cool and I'm sure (in your mind at least) unexpected. Congrats Ron!

Wine Country Geographic said...

Oh happy day

Bianca Miraglia said...

So your boss, Tim Atkins, was a judge and you won? Well, that is a surprise. Keep up the great work, Ron. Very clearly well deserved.

mark rader said...

"An unexpected love letter?" In that case: Dearest Ron, I yearn for you tragically. Eternally, Mark.

All kidding aside, heartiest congratulations. Certainly well-deserved, also overdue. Wear this honor proudly. You've certainly earned it.

Francly Speaking said...

And you did it without anyone knowing you had pneumonia? I hope that if you get a discount on Krug you will share with your loyal fans!... Hearty Congratulations....

Rob Romano said...

Keep throwing stones at "glass houses" and you will continue to succeed!

My favorite wine read each week.

Thomas said...

"Being unread is death to a writer."

You have concurrence on that--from someone who knows.

As I saw written recently by a so-called writer: "congradulations".



Laurie Daniel said...

Great news. Congratulations on a well-deserved honor!

Laissez Fare said...

You got that badge up there quickly ;-) Well deserved, Herr. Hose!

Don Carter said...

Bravo! You are certainly my favorite online wine communicator. Keep 'em coming.

Charlie Olken said...

Your common taters are dancing in the streets. It's hell out here dodging the cars, but you're worth it.

susan wu said...

This is the longest yet most captivating acceptance speech. Never occurred to me before that if celebrities hired you as the speech-writer, they'd make themselves look better in public. Bring your lovely wife to cross the pond. A beautiful time and occasion to be in Europe.

Big congrats! I'll open my magnum Roederer champagne to mark the occasion. :)

gbrezic said...

Congratulations on this well-deserved honor and recognition! Glad to see that such an esteemed group as those judges agree with what us common taters already know: "We all take wine too seriously. Yes, it’s a miracle, but so is pizza. Maybe we should stop lying so much about wine." Amen.

Orris Cowgill said...

Louis Roederer International Writer's Award, never heard of it (but that doesn't matter), but for you to spout more sincerity than satire it's got to be good. Congratulations! Keep the crap coming my week would be lacking without an HMW laugh.

Tim Atkin said...

Bravo. Ron!

Tim Atkin said...

And Bianca, just to allay your suspicions, I was not allowed to vote in this category, because two of the people who write for my site were shortlisted. The other four judges voted 3-1 for Ron. The Roederers are fairly and scrupulously judged. And Ron is a deserving winner.

Batmang said...

Congratulations to Ron and his alter ego, the Hosemaster of Wine. We always can use a dose of irony and satire and it's fun to read it in the arena of something that your common taters appear to love, wine. Keep up the good work, Sir. Please.

imkarenp said...

Next up - the Silver Oak wine poetry award!

Fenton said...

Congratulations Ron! I am proud to call you a friend. It is well deserved, no matter what you say. Your writing is more brilliant than you care to admit. I could hate you for either of the sentiments in that sentence, but have to love that the two occur together. Genius and nescience walking down the street holding hands, unaware of their incongruence.

Daniel said...

well done and thank you for keeping humor alive in this overly serious uptight business! we will all drink a toast to you tonight of good enough, probably not natural, but it tastes good because it's open, wine. Cheers!

David Pierson said...

Happy for ya Hose...to me you are easily my fav wine writer, even like your outside wine columns even more... but extremely proud over that???? Like wha??? You should be extremely proud over your writing, not some meaningless award.. Brando realized how ludicrous awards are, said why don't they have the best left hand paper hanger award.. but then my ex finished first in her year and program and didn't want to go to the grad ceremony and I said, you should, you get so few pats on the back in life.. so she did, collected her check, and the grad reception food was so bad, I insisted we leave, went to a nice place and had a great chard and salmon lunch...told her she should tell her oldest daughter she finished first and she said you were right she was proud.. as Sheryl Crow says.. if it makes you happy...

Bob Henry said...

Ron,

Since you earlier wrote that you don't plan to travel across The Pond to personally accept the Roederer Award, might I suggest Tim Atkin MW serve as your stand-in Sacheen Littlefeather in giving the acceptance speech?

(You can start off invoking the memory of another wit: "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member.")

~~ Bob

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,

I'm with Charlie out here dancing in the streets. Of course I'm using my stripper name, Bouzy Rouge so you may not have recognized me. This is a hard earned and very much deserved award for your remarkable talent and dedication to your craft of satire. I've earned nothing to be proud of and yet, I'm beaming, for you. Bravo my sweet soul. Congratulations. You are known for your humor and now rewarded for that and your incredible writing talent. About fucking time.
A million tiny kisses
I love you.
The Most Common of Taters.

Unknown said...

Ron:

Congratulations on a well-deserved award. I understand the award is made of recycled Riedel glassware?

George Ronay

Ziggy said...

What everybody said above.

Oh! and Congratulations!

Ziggy

Paul Moe said...

A well deserved accolade, sir. Now it's time to take the gloves off and tell us what you really think.

Rico said...

Congratulations! Love to read your post. Keep listening to that voice in your head just be careful if you start answering back.

Elaine Chukan Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marcia Macomber said...

Woohoo! I'm tres, tres late, but oh, so happy to pass on my congratulations!!! (Let's see if I can dig out more exclamation points!!) Wonderful award. Hope you keep writing and poking fun at oh, so many things on and on and on.

Well deserved.
Love,
Marcia