Sunday, November 12, 2017

Blind Book Review: Jon Bonné's "The New Wine Rules"

I wanted to read Jon Bonné’s latest wine book, “The New Wine Rules,” but I have a new rule myself. I don’t read books about wine rules. Books about wine rules, which every famous wine writer seems to feel is his or her duty to write, though the books are universally dreadful and particularly predictable, always come down to one conclusion. When it comes to wine, throw out the rules. Rules are for suckers. The apparent contradiction never discourages them from writing the book. It’s like a politician saying every politician is corrupt, vote for me. And like an idiot, you vote for him, and then you go out and buy another book about wine rules. P.T. Barnum was only half right. Yes, there’s a sucker born every minute, but, also, every sucker is reborn every minute, too.

It takes a lot of time to not read a new wine book. But I want to be as fair as I can to the author, so I'm willing to invest virtually no time at all to the review. This is exactly how wine is reviewed by the likes of Jon Bonné, and every other wine critic. To read the rest of my thoughtful and timely review, you'll have to jump to Tim Atkin's place. And even if, ironically, you don't want to read my review in order to judge whether it's funny or not, go there as well. And, please, feel free not to leave a comment so that we know what you think.



  1. Ron,
    I considered commenting on your post without reading it. But have to tell you that I enjoyed reading it more than not reading it.

  2. This reminds me of a story that was told to me by Gore Vidal, when I had the opportunity to have him as a guest on my show.
    He was on a book tour fo his latest book, at the time. While he was waiting in the Green Room to go Live on a Seattle network affiliate, he picked up a book on the table, left by another author.

    Gore's experience was that NO ONE ever read more than the synopsis on the cover of the book prior to an interview, so when he was called to go on, he was not surprised that the host (prior to going live), said, "Glad you're here, Mr. Vidal--I have to confess I haven't had time to read your new book, so you can take the lead in the interview." Gore replied, "No worries, here's the cover (the one he had picked up from the Green Room -- not HIS book), you can use it as a cheat sheet." The host thanked him and proceeded to interview Gore, asking questions from the other author's book cover. Gore said to me, "I did my best to answer each question".

    Bravo, Ron for calling it like it is --- love, love your writing!
    Stacie Hunt

  3. I hope Tim keeps you employed for a long time. One HM a month is better than none, and this review of Jon Bonnet's new book finds so much not worth repeating that it just cries out to be unrepeated. Thank you for keeping most of it to yourself.

  4. David,
    I think if you don't read my piece a second time, you'll reach maximum enjoyment! Always great to hear from you.

    I think it's apparent that TV hosts often don't read the books of the authors they have on their shows, and good for Vidal for having some fun with it. Can't say I'm a big fan of Vidal's novels. Is there a worse novel by a serious writer than "Myra Breckenridge?"

    Thanks for you kind words, Stacie. Hope our paths cross again soon.

    Puff Daddy,
    Tim says I can write for him for as long as I like, and since he pays me, I don't mind a bit. Though I think this piece shows my rust after dealing with the wildfires and tragedies here in Sonoma. I had another piece in mind, a letter about the wildfires from Prick Family Vineyard, but it was a bit too close to home. I still might publish it, but I thought I'd spare Tim the reactions.

    I've often said, the HoseMaster is nothing if not unquotable.