Monday, June 7, 2010


Longtime readers will notice that I have removed my surname from the title of my blog. I think it's time. I'm a one-name brand in the wine business if there ever was one, like Liza is on Broadway, or Sting in the music world, or Shamu in the world of water and drowning people. When I call upon the finest wineries in California, many of which you won't have heard of, at least not until I write about them in Wine Enthusiast and make their reputations, I usually just say, "It's STEVE!," and that's enough. They know who that is. I often see myself referred to as just plain Steve in my favorite wine blogs. That's always how 1WineDoody refers to me and he's my bbffILF (best blog friend...well, you know the rest). If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for us. So from now on, I'm just STEVE!

I've just learned that I have won the coveted "Best Writing on a Wine Blog" Award. The awards haven't been announced yet officially, but all the balloting has been done and the judges have made their final decisions, so I think it's safe to say that I'm the winner. I don't think my thank you is the least bit premature. What I'd like to do is thank you, my readers, for voting for me and recognizing what I think is ridiculously apparent. STEVE! is the finest writing on a wine blog. And by that I don't mean the most creative, though I am still chuckling at my whimsical parody of "Les Cages Aux Folles" starring Robert Parker and Marvin Shanken--that was clearly inspired. I just mean the best. However, in all fairness, I don't think it's the fault of the other four nominees that they were up against a writer of my ability and stature. It's just bad luck. I admire the work of all four of my fellow nominees, though I've never read any of their blogs. Paul Gregutt and I both write for Wine Enthusiast and I can vouch for the fact that it's not his fault he's assigned to the borderline appellations of our northern neighbors. It's just simple logic. He didn't write an indispensable wine book like "STEVE'S! Indispensable Wine Book: Interviews I Granted California's Finest Winemakers." And none of the other nominees has written a definitive guide like my "STEVE'S! Definitive Guide to the Russian River: The Appellation I Made Famous." I like Paul, I like what he's done with the wines of Washington State and the abilities God gave him. I think he has a bright future in music. I just want to humbly thank everyone who voted for me for the now prestigious Wine Blog Awards.

For those of you who read my blog and think that all it takes is monumental talent to do what I do, a justifiable opinion to be sure, let me just say that it also takes hard work and dedication. Having the most successful and interesting wine blog isn't a matter of luck. My work days revolve around my paying job as wine critic for Wine Enthusiast. This is a very powerful job. Yes, I've heard the jokes going around about the Wine Enthusiast. Which is better, the circulation of the Wine Enthusiast, or the circulation of Dick Cheney? Well, Cheney ain't dead yet. Not that funny. I spend hours every day tasting the wines and assigning them numbers, using a specially designed Magic 8 Ball. It's only after those ratings are done that I am able to think about my award-winning blog STEVE! How do I talk about the burning subjects in the wine world in a way my readers will be able to understand? Will I be able to work in secret messages to my bbffILF? How do I generate comments?

I'll let you in on a little secret. The last question is an easy one for me. Longtime readers who read STEVE! carefully may have noticed that whenever I have a couple of posts in a row that receive a measly amount of comments, I find a new way to talk about one of three subjects guaranteed to generate participation. I churn out another column on the 100 Point Scale. Or I write a piece about the diminishing influence of Robert Parker. Or I can always post about wine bloggers--that's a surefire way to get comments. The genius lies in making each tired old subject seem fresh. It's like squeezing lemon juice on week-old fish. Once my readers swallow it, eventually they'll spit something out. This information might come in handy for the rest of you bloggers. Absolutely no subject generates comments from wine bloggers like wine blogging--they love to talk about themselves because it's the one subject they know. Well, that and the basic emptiness of existence.

I'll be off to give the keynote address at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla where I'll also be accepting my "Best Writing on a Wine Blog" award. I'm honored. If you had asked me two years ago if wine blogs would have any impact on the wine industry I'd have said, No, I don't think so. What's changed since then?



Steve's Daddy said...

On behalf of STEVE, I would like to thank the HoseMaster for writing the truth for once. After all, STEVE is STEVE, and you aren't. In fact, no one else is STEVE, that is why he is so popular.

Do you think Dr. Vino has the smarts to bring up the 100-Point scale every two weeks? Do you think 1WineDoody could write a blog without his one-liner tasting notes? No, only STEVE can get away without talking about wine. That's because he is STEVE. Is there any evidence that James Laube is anymore alive than Robert Parker? No, and I say again, no. STEVE is alive. He spends every minute being alive. If he isn't tasting wine for the WE or writing his world's best blog, called STEVE, he is off skate boarding with 18-years olds in downtown Oakland and getting tattoos. No matter that he is 69 years old. He is STEVE and he understands the Millenials. That is why they all voted for him. He's STEVE. And thank you very much for this nice bit of BJ journalism that makes STEVE look like himself.

Steve said...

La Cage aux Folles? Which one played Agidor Spartacus, RP?


winebookgirl said...

Been waiting for this one since you mentioned it at Tapas. I laughed out loud twice:
Shamu in the world of water and drowning people


I think he has a bright future in music

Todd Wernstrom said...

You've just proven that everything, in fact, hasn't already been written and simply rehashed. Perhaps that also means that there are truly new recipes waiting to be discovered. Personally, if that's true, I'm hoping for some new roast chicken ideas.

Thomas said...


Thomas said...

What makes this entry accurate is that 9% of the total word count represents the personal pronouns I, me, my, plus the name Steve.

Samantha Dugan said...

You're lucky he has a sense of humor....

Jimmie Schnipke said...

Ron ~

I would love to stay and visit awhile, but I am so busy, I can only hang a few moments. So many wines to taste, and deadlines!!! Did I mention how thin I am spread? I recently had to go to the Louvre and could not even look at anything! Then it was off to the Royal Concertgebouw in the Netherlands for a concert, and I did not listen to a note. Had to give a talk on social media to the World Wine Symposium. I told them I did not know what social media was, but it must be important. Then I had to go to a barrel tasting at the Napa Valley Auction, but I could not taste. Then I had to go home to Oakland and wash my clothes. Did I mention I hate to travel because I always forget my clothes, and I have to constantly by new thongs and socks? And I hate when wine people try to tell me their story, and not do it my way? You would think that these people, who I made, would be more reputable. And why, Ron, do these wholesalers and common people continue to hang on every point that I give or make? I do what Adam says and I stick by it, even if I do not understand it. I really have to run, Ron, I am late for tasting and charity concert. The event is called “Chardonnay & Chanticleer.” I won’t be able to taste as my ears will be so full…


Thomas said...

About 13% Jimmie--good show.

Jimmie Schnipke said...


Thanks, but I am too busy to say much more. My dog, 'terrior', needs a shampoo. I am late for my bikini wax.And all those wines to taste...send my love to the 19th century Finger Lakes. - STEVE

PaulG said...

Hey, I'll take a bright future in music!

AC said...

If Lettie Teague married Ron Washam
and afterward married Steve Heimoff
and then married Alder Yarrow
and finally married Andrew Barrow

She'd be Lettie Teague-Washam-Heimoff-Yarrow-Barrow

I'm just saying...

Katie said...

Ok. I've been writing a wine blog for over a year and this is the FIRST time that I'm asking for some attention. Yeah, that's right. It's time to take notice, people, of how important wine is to parenting and what an essential tool it is to successful play days. BTW, my kid hates soccer and thinks she's part vampire -- nothing says, "What are we drinking," more than that.

Ron Washam said...

Steve's Daddy, Who is Daddy to Us All,

From your comments, I can tell you actually are Steve's Daddy. My condolences.


Parker is the maid. He cleans the toilets and the 100 Point Scales.

Amy Love,

Twice? Wow, a new record. I snorted once, but that's it.

Todd, New Guy,

Welcome. The best way to roast a chicken is to insult his virility. Most cocks will wilt under the criticism. Then make fun of his beak.


Accurate? Wow, high praise. I'll take accurate over funny every day of the week. Though, of course, I'll have to.

My Gorgeous Samantha,

Did STEVE! write you a personal email that he was angry and hurt by my parody? Damn, I guess I should have been nastier.

I love you!


You've nicely captured the fascination STEVE! has with STEVE! His writing style is journalese, but it's the interesting and uncountable ways he has of mentioning his own importance that make for great comedy.

And, let's face it, he's STEVE! Only a handful of Poodles merit any sort of parody. The other thousand or so are too dull, and too obscure, to mock.


I'm sure a plug from STEVE! will be the music career boost you need!

Ron Washam said...


Yeah, but if Lettie Teague married Gordon Getty, then Mario Andretti, followed by Tom Petty and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, she'd be Lettie Getty Andretti Petty Ferlinghetti. And awfully sore.


OK, listen, only because you possess one of my favorite names am I going to allow you to fish for hits on my blog. My Norwich Terrier is named Kate, as is her human Godmother. A better way of going about it is to make astute and witty comments about my posts, chime in with the smart folks who haunt HoseMaster, and then my readers will naturally drift to your blog to see who you are and what you're doing. I came very close to deleting your comment, but decided not to. This time.

Using whatever popularity I have to so blatantly promote yourself is, well, shamefully bloggerlike. I'm starting to get where your kid got the vampire thing from.

So, welcome, Katie. Talk about your issues on your blog, join in with us about our little neuroses here, and you'll be more than welcome back.

AC said...

And then again, Ron, If Su Hua Newton married John Wu and then Harry Waugh -
- she'd be Su Hua Wu Waugh

Thomas said...

Accurate's better than dumb, no?

Katie's alter ego and advertising manager

pgrant8258 said...

::waving hello from the shadows where lurkers lurk::

I once knew a younger Hosemaster. I'm sure he was a Hosemaster because he had business cards that said so. We worked together at a mid 80's L.A. area restaurant where he was the most solid and unflappable waiter I ever had the pleasure to work with, and come to know as a valued friend. He was funny, had a dry wit sharp as a surgeon's scalpel, and was incredibly commonsensical. At times he made too much sense...if that's possible. He taught me some valuable "lessons on life" that I still carry with me and share often with others. His passions were his writing (mostly comedic satire)....his wines....oh, and let's not forget...he had a thing for pretty women. I credit (and blame!) him for introducing me to this wacky and wonderful world of wine (W&WWOW).

This young Hosemaster would spend every available vacation escaping to wine country looking for wineries that would let him come in and just hang out...whether for a few hours or a few days....helping out where he could....learning everything he could about wines and winemaking....and hosing down a lot of floors and winery equipment in the process. Bob Pepi Sr. obviously had an eye for recognizing raw hosehandling talent...eventually named him the winery's first official Hosemaster (maybe because he wouldn't leave??)...and even had business cards made up for him recognizing his new title.

The original cards did not have the condom-shaped embossed circle like his card that inhabited my wallet for years came to sport...but I laugh now at how truly apropo that would have been.

To indulge his creative senses, he would write a monthly wine "newsletter" for our restaurant staff. The newsletters were informative, hilarious....and with a certain lusty streak at times. Somehow he could make something as innocent as a winemaker's adoration of fresh baked "hot cross buns" sound almost....dirty or something. Although he never missed an opportunity in his writings to take pokes at deserving targets, his satiric brilliance was merely one facet of his being. He was also one of the most loving, caring individuals I've had the privilege to call a friend. As was his first wife...she was simply a very rare gem. The last time I got to see either of them was at their wedding.

I discovered your blog a few months ago (I'll tell you that story sometime) and have been lurking and quietly chuckling ever since. It's good to see some things never change....hello again old friend,

peace always,
Pete Russell
P.S...I'm going to watch the movie "Tuvalu" this weekend...I hear it's screwier than a Tom Candiotti knuckleball. Can you suggest a wine to go with it?

Ron Washam said...

Hey Peter!

Wow! Great to hear from you. Man, how long ago was all that? Early 80's, right? Long ago and far away. I always did have the passion for the grape, among other things.

"Tuvalu!" starring my oldest and dearest friend EJ Callahan. It's a classic. Doesn't matter what you drink, just drink a lot of it.

If you ever make it to Sonoma, let me know. It would be fun to get together and reminisce.

Thanks for chiming in, Peter. Keep on lurking.

Morton said...

Talk about sore. What if William Hurt had married Liz Kuntz, then later she had married Joel Aiken, then Hugh Johnson?

Anonymous said...

I can't stop laughing. I just read the post twice.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Erin Love,

Hey, welcome back from your honeymoon! I didn't recognize your name at first when I saw your comment.

Thank you. You know I only do this for the adulation.

Please come by often, and let me know when your blog is back up and running.

Bill Klapp said...

And if Helen Turley divorced John Wetlaufer and then married Thomas Brown of Rivers-Marie, she would be Helen Turley Brown...