Thursday, March 11, 2010

The HoseMaster's Guide to the Wine Blog Awards

It's just about time for nominations to begin for the Wine Blog Awards. Oh, sorry, I was yawning. Tom Wark created the American Wine Blog Awards several years ago and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, not even free wine samples, not even admiring comments ("Great post, WineMussolini, always nice hangin' with you."), that wine bloggers like more than giving themselves awards. Even when they're imaginary awards, awards that celebrate a field unlikely to exist in five years, a field whose high qualifying standard to enter is owning a computer, a field with more bombs than an average acre in Iraq. There are eight awards, at this point, to be handed out, and it's hard to think of a less prestigious trophy. A Daytime Emmy? Mens Figure Skating Miss Congeniality Award? Sex with Paris Hilton? But the awards will be handed out anyway, the winners decided by the votes of the courageous judges, who are asked to read countless wine blogs, a task with all the appeal of reading the Congressional Record in Esperanto, and, of course, primarily by the votes of the people. So, rather than simply letting the judges decide which wine blogs deserve the awards, the awards will basically be determined by how effectively each nominated wine blogger works Twitter and FaceBook, and by how many readers he has. This nicely eliminates quality and originality from having anything to do with the awards. Yet, despite that, I'm certain that the cream will rise to the top. Or the turds.

The Wine Blog Awards are modeled on all the awards the professional wine media give themselves. In recent months many of these awards were handed out. I'd like to give a tip of the HoseMaster's nozzle to Antonio "Tony" Galloni for winning the Wine Name That's the Most Fun to Say Award, just edging out James Suckling. Congratulations to Steve Heimoff for winning the prestigious Alder Yarrow Most Times Mentioning My Own Importance Award. And I'd be remiss for not mentioning Alice Feiring's well-earned Henry James Award for the Most Words Going Nowhere.

For those of you getting ready to nominate your favorite wine blog, it won't be long now, be patient, I know I'm on the edge of my coma, here's a quick look at the categories and what they aim to reward.

Best Wine Blog Graphics and Presentation: This is the Miss America Pageant. Content be damned, which one looks the purtiest? Nominees will be asked a few questions like, "If you could speak to the terrorists, what would you tell them about freedom?" and "If you could invite any four people, dead or alive, to dinner, what would you serve to the dead ones?" Then they'll parade around in evening gowns and the one with the cutest butt will win. This, at least, is the easiest category to judge. You don't have to read the insipid prose. It's like deciding who to hire for the mortician opening at Forest Lawn. Whoever can make the brain dead look the most lifelike.

Best Industry/Business Wine Blog: The Dork Award. Endlessly fascinating discussions about grape prices, the Three Tier Distribution System, and wine marketing schemes. Wine bloggers giving this award makes about as much sense as The Wall Street Journal Wine Club. I know when I want wine advice, I turn to the Wall Street Journal. And when I want the latest on the hip and trendy nightclubs I watch Al Jazeera. I'm guessing, just a wild guess, that one blog won't win both of these first two awards.

Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog: I'm a bit confused about this. Is this an award for who reviews the best wines? Burgundy and First Growth Bordeaux and SuperTuscans and Lodi Zins? Or for who writes the best reviews? And what about pairing the wines with music or haiku or pictures of kitties? How much weight will the judges give to that? What this award comes down to is the Best Impression of Robert Parker Award. Writing about wines in the most convincing killjoy fashion. Taking the amazing joy and sensual pleasure of sharing a wine with a loved one and turning it into the Best of Roget's Thesaurus. Bloggers blather endlessly about just drinking the wines you like, then they spend their time telling you what wines you should like, what those wines taste like down to the very last adjective, and this is clearly admirable. If you're incredibly self-absorbed.

Best Single Subject Wine Blog: OK, wine blogs are about wine. How many subjects is that? If the blog is about spirits, then is it a wine blog? If the blog is about food, is it a wine blog? And as far as I can tell, every blog is about a single subject--the blogger.

Best Winery Blog: I love winery blogs. They're a lot like winery dogs, only more full of crap. This is a category about marketing, not about information or talent. There are some wonderful blogs written by winemakers (take a bow, John Kelly, Randall Grahm), but that's not what this category is for. This category is for validating the usefulness of blogs as marketing tools for wineries. And if wineries use blogs to sell wine, then blogs must have a purpose! Blogs might actually be worth something. OK, wine bloggers, I've got something important to tell you. Wine blogs will be profitable when they learn to sell what TV has been selling us for fifty years--Sex and Death. Those are moneymakers! Anyhow, the Best Winery Blog is the equivalent of advertising's Clio--the most effective use of lying.

Best Writing on a Wine Blog: Now here is an interesting category, and, essentially, it should be the only category. Only who's going to judge it? And who wants to win? With all due respect to the mentally challenged, it's the Gold Medal in the Special Olympics. It's being the fat guy who comes in sixth on "Biggest Loser." It's scoring 300 on the SAT's. It's winning a limbo contest by going under the pole vault bar. It's marrying Larry King. But, and I'm being serious now, if Samantha Dugan doesn't win for Sans Dosage, the judges need to be sent to Gitmo for a lovely spa treatment.

Best New Wine Blog: You're talented, you're interesting, you've got a great voice, you're very well-behaved, now see if you can crank out endless posts for a year and maybe we'll give you an actual award next year.

Best Overall Wine Blog: For those of you new to the blogging game, this is all about being an insider. Which is why the awards exist in the first place. You have to be part of Hollywood to win an Oscar. They ain't giving one to John Waters. So this award has to go to the wine blog that most closely represents what wine blogging is about--volume, volume, volume. What makes WalMart successful? Volume. What makes Costco the wine powerhouse that it is? Volume. What does Celine Dion have that other singers don't? Volume. Quantity not Quality, that's our motto. So if you aspire to win this award, remember, you have choices. You can write well or you can write often, you can spout wisdom or you can spout your inexperienced opinions, you can be original or you can regurgitate what you're fed. If you want to succeed, move up the latter.


Thomas said...

You make me feel so worth-it. I'll never cry again for not winning an award...

K.Mahoney said...

With all of the females on your page, pretty sure you will win for Best Wine Blog Graphics and Presentation. What kind of person would choose a weekly scenic vineyard shot over the HoseMaster beauties? My favorite lately was the girl with the champagne bottle. Still not sure how you find these...

Cheers to Al Jazeera and their chic advice! They always send me to Sake O'Sama. Kamikaze shots on the house.


Charlie Olken said...

As I commented in a much more serious vein over on Sweet Sam's blog, what the hell good are blog categories for "Best Use of Still Photography In The Vineyard", "Most Lucid Comment on Viognier" and "Look At Me, Ma. I'm A Bloggist".

Where the hell are the awards for "Most Likely To Make Me ROFLMAO", "Best Use of Breasts", and, to be serious for a moment, "Best Retelling of The Human Side of Wine"-- an award that I will give today to Sam in the sure knowledge that no bloggist can come close, and most observers of the human condition would have a hard time matching.

Samantha Dugan said...

Okay this is damn funny, so why can't I stop crying? Ron My Love...I begged you not to nominate me and this is skating really fucking close but...I can't help but forgive you. How could I not, I love you very much and as snarky as this post is I can feel every bit of your love for me in it. Not sure what I did to deserve you but if those in charge were to tell me, I'd do it all again...over and over again. Thank you. I adore you. You humble me and I am somewhat speechless.

I am going to address you on my own blog but seeing as you brought me to tears in two places I figured I owed you two. Blubbering Babe, you had me blubbering. I so admire you, look up to you and see you as a fair and balanced face in this have you say such remarkably sweet things about me and my voice, well I am simply wrecked. Thank you too my sweet and there is no award worth more than what I found here. I adore you.

Ron Washam said...


You and Charlie are up for "Best Commenter on Wine Blogs Beneath Them." Good Luck.

K. Love,

You probably don't want to know how I find those pictures. And, hey, very funny line about Sake O'Sama. When are you and I going to hoist a glass together?


I've said it a thousand times. Social Media exists to promote Social Media. Wine Blog Awards are simply an offshoot of that. The same tired old blogs will win. It's rigged with the popular vote part of the balloting, and it's about the vanity of those nominated campaigning tirelessly for themselves to win an award with absolutely no meaning. But no one cares what I think. Especially me.

My Gorgeous Samantha,

OK, two things. I always keep my word to you, and I have not nominated you and will not nominate you.

Charlie, that's your job.

Secondly, I hate the word "snarky." Snark has no wit, and I like to think I strike nerves with wit. But that's quibbling.

When all of this is over, and I do believe wine blogs will basically vanish in five years or so, though mine will be gone much sooner, I will be grateful above all for one thing and one thing only--the friends I've made doing this crap. But at the top of that list is You. Our Love won't end when our blogs do. And being the HoseMaster has only been worth it for that.

Ron Washam said...

Oh, and this is probably the least funny of any post I've ever done.

And, wow, that's a low bar to limbo under.

Arthur said...


That's because "funny" is inversely proportionate to "true".

Samantha Dugan said...

Are you seriously breakin my bawls when I am like a puddle of goo?! Sheesh Baby, you are tough. Okay not snarky, fiercely intellectual and humbling tongue lashing..better?!

Sgt Sassafras. said...

Warren Buffett just bought the
World Squirrel Wine Blog Awards.
Paid us founders well over $5 million. Will now retire...not with a whimper but a bang. Going surfing

Thomas said...


How did you figure out my ploy? Kept commenting until I forced them to come up with a category.

Charlie and I collaborated so that we could argue in the comments section and keep the ball rolling.

I hear, however, that we may not have a chance, as the PR spammers have outnumbered our comments, even without them having said anything.

Hey Sassafras,

Warren bought the Squirrel Awards because he is nuts.

1WineDude said...

You have all let down your guard! I now know how to make you all squirm, including the HM - nominate you for a WBA!

You FOOLS!!!!

[ insert sardonic laughter here ]
[ fade out ]

Ron Washam, HMW said...


To the contrary, satire and truth are inextricably linked. But that's a discussion for some high-minded sort of blog, not my little cesspool.

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Someone had to snap you out of it. And I'm jealous of the attention and affection you received. I get snarky when that happens.

I love you!
Kisses back, My Love


Congrats! You've monetized your blog. Just remember, when you go to a buffet, never eat a munger.


I can't surf the wine blogs without finding either you or Puff Daddy in the comments section. You guys are like Brett and V.A. OK, that's not a nice analogy. But you get the idea. All blogs have faults. And you smell funny. Hmm, better analogy than I thought.


Hey, I was nominated last year. I actually want to be the Meryl Streep of the WBA's. Nominate Thomas. Better yet, nominate Charlie for Best Blogger Without an Actual Blog. Though WineHarlots has that category sewn up.

Samantha Dugan said...

Nominated? I thought you were a finalist last year. Best writing hands down should go to HoseMaster of wine, period.

Ugh, we are all being so sweet, what the hell is going on here?!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Oh yeah, you're right, I meant to say Finalist, but it wasn't in the Best Writing Category. And, thankfully, I didn't win. I'd promised Tom Wark that if I won I'd quit HoseMaster. Why not go out on top? Don't you wish last year's winners had?

I love you!

Arthur said...


I'll give you that, but George Carlin said that a joke requires a degree of exaggeration. The greater the exaggeration, the wilder the laughter - or something like that.

In either case, you said this was the least funny post you've written, and I was trying to point out that it was probably your most truthful and accurate piece - or something like that.

winebookgirl said...

I was expecting you to announce your own competing awards. I was so looking forward to the awards ceremony.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Well, I do have my world-famous Wine Blog Circle Jerk Awards, but I awarded those last December. There are no judges and no voting, the way awards ought to be run. The ceremony involves nudity, though I'm the only one attending.

Jo Diaz said...

You've got to check out the American Squirrel Awards. This is the quintessential way to go...

Thomas said...

I think I won a squirrel award last year--or was it a chipmunk; I can't tell the two apart, especially if the squirrel is red.


You are correct. I'm commenting too much. I think I ought to just spam them, you know, in the comments section just keep posting this:

Or even better:

or even better , better:

I would have used Arthur's last name, but I use only three fingers to type, and cannot manage the consonants the way his requires.

But really, the above blogs are super, witty, smart, erudite, irridescent, irresponsible, and irresistible. Oops,

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hi Jo,

Don't tell me you're lurking around HoseMaster! I thought you were part of the Heimoff Love Fest. Oh well, welcome, welcome, welcome. Come out of the shadows and make yourself known more often.


The squirrel might be red, but your blog isn't read. Sorry, cheap joke.

And you're not commenting too much. Bloggers live for comments, you know that. Notice my brief flurry of new commenters fishing for hits have departed. Good thing, that Nectarwine guy was giving me the creeps.

Dean Tudor said...

Hey -- I won an award for wine parodies:

TRAWNA – (GOSH Wine News Services) – In a stunning upset today, Dean Tudor of GOSH Wine News Services has swept the Barcelona Biennale SPIFFY Awards (Regional Division).

Held every two years, the SPIFFYs celebrate all that is bold and beautiful about false and fake news. [SPIFFY stands for Spoof-Parody-Imitation-Farce-Fabrication (in) YourFace…]. It's sponsored by the SJA (Surrealist Journalists Association) which is based in Barcelona.

Tudor won in the Regional Category (the least known sphere of parodies), with his relentless pursuit of "Cellared in Canada" stories. His spoofs in this area totalled well over two dozen, and have been acknowledged as some of the sharpest, most penetrating false news in recent history, although the issue on which the spoofs are based is real.

The "Cellared in Canada" series would have had a higher prominence and profile, and indeed, would have won big time in the overall "Best of Show" category if CICs were not such a local, immaterial regional issue. Nevertheless, the judges felt it had merit. CIC stories may be found at It is the leading wine satire site on the planet.

In accepting the Award, Tudor had this to say – "This series commenting on the Cellared in Canada wine products could not have happened without my top investigative wine reporter Brett Grimsby, or without my industry sources, Miffed Moles. To them I owe a debt of gratitude. They will share this award when I return to the puny wine colony known as Canada. We will celebrate with some Cellared in Canada Sparkling Wine.

"I would also like to thank several spirited sources known as Little Fat Wino and the Grape Guy – I know they are cringing at the thought of being named or mentioned, but it must be told. Little Fat Wino has been my Engineer and Grape Guy has been my Brakeman – otherwise, I'd have had a train wreck."

Dean Tudor is President and CEO of Gothic Epicures, an empire-building food and wine consultancy specializing in Restructuring and Dragons. His next Restructuring campaign is to re-brand Cellared in Canada wines as "Partially Parked in Canada".

More on the Victory Parade in Trawna when it is announced…

Thomas said...


There are no cheap jokes--only worthless ones.

You planted a weird thought: that I might be commenting on blogs because of the comments and the back and forth rather than to seek hits. How stupid have I been?

I think I'll go take another kind of hit for now--the one that causes me to see squirrels where there are no trees. Hey, it's for medical reasons, man.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Dean,

So your site is the leading wine satire site on the planet? Congratulations!

I know Canada's not on Planet Earth. What planet is it on?


Cheap and worthless, I specialize in both. For real satire, go to Dean's blog. It's what goes for funny in Canada.

K.Mahoney said...

The HoseMaster said I was funny? There should absolutely be a blog award handed out for that.
As for that drink? How about when you get that interview on Samantha Sans Dosage...


winebookgirl said...

Good thing I did not mention that dress I have been wanting to wear to an awards presentation.Guess it will have to wait for the Country Music Awards in Vegas.

Dean Tudor said...

Hey HoseMaster Ron --

The brewskis begin with the real Hosers, the Canadian MacKenzie Brothers...All our humour (spelled with a "u") is derived from The Great White North.

Canada, because of its socially-repressed Federal Government, is now on the planet YourAnus.

At least we can beat your boys in Hockey.

The secret word for today is: imatio

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Dean,

You beat our boys once out of two times. Typical Canadian scorekeeping?

Have no idea what "imatio" means. I think it's like, "Go West, Imatio, Go West."

Or not.


You're on. If we both live long enough.

Dean Tudor said...

It's only the second time that matters, like making love...Beginner's luck and all that.

The secret word for tonight is: hablet.

Secret words are the word verification games played by Blogger et al. Groucho Marx once played hockey for Canada, but he did say that any country that accepted him as a visitor was not worthy of visiting...or something like that.

Thomas said...

I removed my previous post. After looking at it, I decided it was dumb.

The secret word is ressen.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


I deleted it completely. It wasn't that bad, but, hey, you've done better.

Charlie Olken said...

The secret word for tonight is--


And Tweek you, too.

Hey, Tom, if we all had to remove the silly things we said, where would be the blogosphere be? Some blogs would have to be banned altogether.

Samantha Dugan said...

I'm with Charlie...if I had to remove all the lame shit I say I'd have like 12 posts!

Thad W. said...

Ah, the echo chamber that surrounds these awards, if not most of wine blogging these days. I am awaiting a courageous blogger who will respectfully decline a nomination, but alas doubt anyone is willing to do so. Amazing how those nominated will grovel for votes thru many posts soliciting folks to cast their ballot in favor of themselves. Have we lost all dignity as a collective voice for wine consumers?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Thad,

First of all, welcome to the wacky world of HoseMaster of Wine. I hope you use your voice here more often than most of the driveby fools who stop in fishing for hits.

The best thing about wine blogs is that anyone can start one. The worst thing about wine blogs is that anyone can start one. Like wine itself, 98% of it is crap. I was a finalist last year for an AWBA and told Tom Wark I would retire my blog if I won, knowing I wouldn't. That's not the same as rejecting a nomination, but the nomination drives hits and that alone can be a great platform for railing against the endless barking of lonely poodles that is the wine blogosphere.

I would certainly not turn down a nomination or a place as a finalist. It's only blogging, for God's sake, easily the least important, least dignified, least respected part of the wine business, why not revel in the absurdity of it? They'd never give me an actual award. But as a finalist it would be just too much fun to go after the other nominees. It would be like being a comedy writer when Bush was President--easy pickin's.

Don't worry about awards or the dignity of bloggers, Thad. Neither one truly exists.

Thomas said...

If Ron thinks I could do better, than I probably should have left the post up. But it really was a lame attempt at funny.

I console myself that even us pedants of perfection suffer momentary lapses; that's how politicians wind up getting caught in the public toilet, which is where my post should have been placed.

The Ceci Sipper said...

OH my dear crack me up!!! I know I am not so present in the comments on this blog, but man OH man!!! do I freaking love your blog and your take on things! LOVE IT!!!