Monday, February 27, 2012

Our Vanishing Wine Bloggers

Wine Bloggers Conference
Perhaps you’ve turned your back so you don’t have to watch. Maybe you are secretly in favor of this travesty. Or you’re a skeptic, a denier, like those pinheads who think climate change isn’t real even though the polar ice caps are disappearing faster than free samples of Viagra at the Napa Vintners Hall of Fame induction ceremony. But it’s getting bad, people, and it’s about time we acknowledge the situation before it’s too late. The wine bloggers are disappearing. If something isn’t done, and soon, the last wine blogger will vanish in OUR LIFETIME! What was once a proud subspecies of human (homo narcissus) will forever be gone from the Internet, leaving behind only their signature sniveling and greasy remains. The facts are disheartening.

Once there were thousands of wine bloggers posting countless wine reviews—though the reviews were widely acknowledged to be about as useful as Muslim sommeliers, if slightly harder to translate. (Example from 1WineDude: “The 2009 Chateau Margaux is the Big Lebowski of First Growths and reminded me that polyps are just like Growths only with an exposure that depends on which way you’re facing when you drop your pants. A-.” Penning-Roswell, eat your heart out.) Now there are but a few who publish reviews regularly, the majority having died off when wineries suddenly realized sending samples to bloggers was the exact equivalent of simply driving a forklift through the same cases of wine. Now where does one turn for savvy wine recommendations? We should have seen this coming.

Comments have dwindled to a precious few. Comments are the batteries in wine bloggers’ personal vibrators. Without those batteries, they are forlorn, their longings unsatisfied, their need for love reduced to the stroking of their own warm and engorged posts alone, their solipsistic voices echoing hollowly in the vast, empty cyberspace. Is it any wonder that without comments our wine bloggers are dying? You have only to check the latest posts on all the most popular blogs to see that many are starving. And even those wine bloggers who still receive a healthy number of comments are startled by the emptiness of those comments, the virtual absence of power. (Example from Fermentation: “                     .“) Most comments these days are but tired old batteries that only rev vibrators up to a 3. Wine bloggers are dying of loneliness, and chapped posts.

Wine blogs are the Oakland A’s of Social Media. If you’re a wine blogger, you may as well just resign yourself to last place. Social Media has moved on to FaceBook and Twitter, where emptiness of thought is joyously celebrated, and modern day Zombies are created by the millions. How can wine bloggers compete in our modern cyberworld? 140 characters, most of which are blank spaces—and I’m talking about wine blogs, not Twitter. The illusion that you have hundreds of friends—how can wine bloggers live in a world like that when their blog stats show that they only have 80 unique hits a day, and most of those are Google image searches for “wine douchebag?” The answer simply is that they cannot survive. We are watching an extinction the equivalent of the Passenger Pigeon, the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, and Vac-U-Vins   It may be too late to stop it.

What will our world be like without wine bloggers? I know, it’s almost too hard to think about. But stop and consider. Already most of our finest wine bloggers are near death, their last gasps already audible in each and every post.

STEVE!: “I’ve already written two of the classic texts in American wine literature and yet I’m still unappreciated. I give and I give and I give, yet I’m never listed on any Top 100 lists—not Influential People in Wine, not Cry for Help Tattoos, not Most Likely to Name Drop Incessantly. What more do I have left to give?” I’m speechless.

Dr. Vino: “Impossible Pairings—My Wine Blog and Original Thoughts” Bravo!

Vornography: “Essence of Wine Blog—Why do I smell vomit?” You’re standing in it.

Sermontation: “It was at a local bar last night that I suddenly realized I have nothing left to say about the wine business. This does not surprise me and it shouldn’t surprise you. We have finally left the Golden Age of Wine Writing behind and are entering the much anticipated Dark Ages of Wine Writing. I think this is good. Golden Ages aren’t supposed to last forever, no more than a great Chardonnay can last more than a couple of hours after being opened. We will look back at these past few years with great fondness and awe, even as the last wine blog, Fermentation, inevitably goes out. We were given the chance to read the brilliance of wine bloggers while it was being freshly excreted, words that will be read by every future generation of wine lovers. Generations that will despise us because we let the wine bloggers die. Except the HoseMaster, for his demise, we will be revered.” Good night, old friend. Rest in Peace.

Is it too late to save the wine bloggers? It may be too late to save them in their natural habitat. But we can capture the last of them and put them on display. Future generations will marvel at them, their odd habits and strange language will surely delight them. And they will wonder at what once was. A strange and sad race who walked among us, sullied and unattractive, convinced of their own worth despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, soldiers of the grape, slaves to their own vanity, whistling and typing in the dark. 


Andy Perdue said...

Ron, the irony is that the HoseMaster will be the last wine blogger.

Samantha Dugan said...

And here I thought the comments were dwindling because everyone was intimidated by our brilliance. Sigh...depressing. Maybe we could start a foundation or something, if for no one else for STEVE! Poor guy, he really is the Susan Lucci of wine bloggers.

Mockingbird said...


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Andy,

Really? Me? I retire far too often for that to happen.

Samantha, My Love,

Isn't it just that everyone is bored with wine blogs? There used to be quite the circus here on HoseMaster, but Charlie, Thomas, Anonymous 1 and others are rarely sighted--like unicorns. I don't find this sad, really. More like inevitable. People stop by and read, but they move on quickly. It's the modern age of social media--people now have the attention spans of frankfurters, and think communication is about Twitter and FaceBook, which are sort of modern day versions of Morse code.

Wine blogs are boring for the most part. As you and I have talked about, there isn't anything new to say about wine. Nothing. All that's left is to talk about wine in an interesting, engaging, educated way. Maybe I should try that.

I love you!

Andy Perdue said...


I predict that the last Wine Bloggers Conference will be at your place. In fact, it will be held in your bathroom as you squeeze out one last, er, post.

Thomas said...


Don't do that to me--make me laugh uncontrollably, that is.


Who's Susan Lucci--not.


The timeliness of this post is unbelievable. It arrived minutes after my first and only Google Adsense check arrived ($2.41--no kidding), and I haven't made a blog entry on vinofictions (plug) since December 2011.

Was it payment for shutting up? Who knows?

One reason blogs might be losing their status is these damned Google captchas are getting more difficult to identify, and more intrusive.

Samantha Dugan said...

Yeah, maybe it should be, "STEVE! is the Heimoff of wine bloggers"

Anonymous said...

Hosemaster, Sir!

Actually, I am still here, if a bit quiet...thanks for noticing my lack of participation.
Having attended a number of "trade tastings" lately, I can assure you that there is no lack of bloggers posing as actual wine industry participants. They used to claim some affiliation with a restaurant ("Oh, I dine at House of Noodles all the time and they said it was okay to attend this tasting on their behalf," or such...) One fellow shows up at events saying he sells pension and retirement packages to winemakers and thus, he is a wine industry member. I suppose this means the guy who sold Helen Turley those boots is a wine business insider, doesn't it?

The good news about all of this blogging business is that the amount of graffiti spray-painted on city walls and highway overpasses is down, though many equate blogging as being in the same vein.

The level of enological blogging expertise is coming close to that of so-called "journalists." But part of this issue is many journalists aren't using the spittoon when tasting and they're, apparently, a bit hung-over when writing their articles.
(We've read articles where vintners are credited with making varieties of wine they actually do not produce...the producer is said to be in a particular region and they are not...etc. Shoddy writing and a lack of proof-reading...which means many "journalists" are capable of being bloggers--and many of them are!)


Thomas said...

"There used to be quite the circus here on HoseMaster, but Charlie, Thomas, Anonymous 1 and others are rarely sighted--like unicorns."

I just caught this: good grief, miss a post or two and you are branded a unicorn. Of course, after having taken four Lupron injections, being a unicorn seems like a nice thing to become...

Sorry, Mr. cylindricalmaster: I have a book to write--all other tasks are incidental, if not procrastinatingly wonderful. And now I will ask to be changed the two illegible captchas to something a human being can read.

Beau said...

What's going to happen when the wine conversation is played out? bloggers will be gone, the print media will wither (poor STEVE!), and the Hosemaster will be all alone.

W. Blake Gray said...

Ron, somebody who knows you recently spent a few minutes trying to tell me that in person you are actually not the total jerk you are online.

I countered that I had never seen you write a nice thing about anyone, and that I also never see you add any actual information to the online discussion of wine.

Say what you want about the bloggers you despise, they often present original information, and debates on their sites are sometimes about issues, rather than the sophomoric bullying you provide.

You are supposedly a veteran sommelier. Can you tell us something interesting about wine? Can you praise someone or something? Or is this kind of emptyheaded negativity all you have to say?

Dean Tudor said...

No matter how cynical I get, I can never keep up.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Mr. Gray,

You left out, "And you're not funny either." Though I suppose "sophomoric bullying" might cover that.

I may not be as good a satirist as you are a journalist, not a particularly high bar to get over, but my job, as I see it, isn't to add to the conversation, or flatter other bloggers, but to comment on the wine business and the wine blog world. Does anyone care what I think? Perhaps not, but I love the strange craft of parody and satire, and I thoroughly enjoy the sort of hate mail you've supplied. It's how I know I'm doing something right. How lovely of you to stand up for wine bloggers. I'm sure they'll rest easier tonight.

And you might also consider that the HoseMaster is a voice. I created it, I write it, I use it, but it isn't me. You can despise that voice, insult it, never read it again, none of that would matter even the tiniest bit. None of any of this, including your scholarly blog, genuinely matters. I don't read your blog, you don't have to read mine. Though it might make you laugh now and then; but, heaven knows, the wine business doesn't need laughter. It needs bloggers.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Jeez, man, I was just joshing. I know that you're busy writing another interesting book. Gosh, I hope it contributes to the wine conversation!


I vary my foolishness, excuse me, sophomoric bullying, here from extremely cynical to extremely stupid to extremely weird, just to keep myself from getting too bored. I'm surprised no one understood that this was my idea of Hope.

W. Blake Gray said...

Ron: I'm glad that what I wrote gave someone, you, some pleasure.

Try it sometime.

Marcia Macomber said...

Another unicorn checking in, HoseMaster, Sir! Had your post open all day, and this is the first I've been able to read it. So nice to have some proper Monday Satire to end the day.

Seems all the old gang (practically) has dragged in to be duly checked off in attendance. Perhaps some are still recovering from the conference. (But this doesn't seem to have slowed down Ms. Dugan at all.)

The Sermontation got the belly laughs going from the earlier snickers. Good thing there were no beverages in use. Otherwise they would have been sprayed across the keyboard. (Ewww!)

Word verif: Statioc tlyr (Is that some weird bird in the Arctic?)

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Love,

Ah, but did I give you any pleasure? If not, please go directly to The Gray Report where pleasure is King.

Lousy Grapes said...

Who knew Gray was such a whiney baby sissy pants?

Samantha Dugan said...

Okay, so I've bitten my tongue nearly in half but it seems that the fucker still has enough wiggle left to say a thing or two.

Mr. Gray,
The person that tried to convince you that Ron is a separate entity from the HoseMaster was spot on. Hell, if you were to meet him I'm sure you too would walk away with an understanding that Ron is a very sweet man that has this brilliant ability to see, and articulate through his fierce sense of humor, all the things that many of us know but are too chicken shit to admit or say. He writes this blog to make people laugh, some get it, other....clearly don't.

As a blogger that just spent a week traversing the bumpy waters of the "journalistic" set, with this man that took a week off of work to be there, at my side, supporting me and every second making me feel like I earned and deserved to be included with those professional wine writers I can tell you from the deepest part of my heart and comprehension, Ron Washam and The HoseMaster are in fact two very different things.

Can't think of many things more pleasurable than laughter, it surely isn't yet another "article" on alcohol percentages or fucking Robert Parker. If there is a reason wine blogging is sailing down the shitter that's it. Lack of imagination and a desperate aching for something refreshing, and honest. Hence the reason so many of us come here. To laugh at this business and those that are so self inflated as to think that our voices are going to make a difference.

Ron, I know you are going to send me a, "Mind your business" email about this but there was not a chance in hell I was going to let this just sail by without me adding my two cents. You were my hero four years ago when I first read you and now, as I've grown to know the real you, You sir are my hero still. I thank you for all that you do and for the man that you are.

Mockingbird said...

Maybe Ron should take the gig live and do a stand-up routine (as the Hosemaster, of cours) at the next Wine Bloggers Conference.

Blogging Fool Daddy said...

I just lost an entire post to the capcha goblins.

You sure do have Sam fooled. Some of us know better.

You are the grinch who stole the grapes.

Joe said...

hee hee hee. few things more lovely in the world than exposing those who take themselves too seriously.

Thomas said...


These days, I'm never sure when you are kidding me, as I know you take great pleasure in getting at someone so secure, so confident, so much the blogger of choice--or once was.

In any case--or I'll take a case of 1.5 litre bottles, thanks--my response to your unicorn could not possibly have made you think that I was serious. No, no man; there isn't a gray in my name or in my personality.

When the master of hoseirony misconstrues the master of sarcastrophy, what to do?

Once again, I am forced into trying to decipher Google's latest joke on the world--looks like spiroun mengthes. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

Was I just mocked?

Hmmmm. Stand back. I've got something very important to say about all this.

Tom Wark....

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Samantha, My Love,

I'm touched that you feel the need to defend me, as I expected you would, but there's no need. I don't mind Mr. Gray going after me. And I'm far from defenseless. I'm sure that there are many people who have read HoseMaster who completely agree with his remarks. I run into them all the time at wine events. It comes with the territory. To his credit, Mr. Gray didn't post Anonymously, just as I don't. I applaud that sort of openness, even if he believes what our mothers used to say, "If you can't say anything nice..."


Standup is an art form I am particularly lousy at. And I value my life too much to appear at a Wine Bloggers Conference. That is, why would I waste it?


Here, on HoseMaster, I am always kidding.


The only one I've got fooled is myself. But I sure wish I'd been able to read your Google-destroyed post. To be honest, I feel like STEVE! Running a post about bloggers is the sure way to get a lot of comments. Pandering--a blogger's way of life.


Mocked? Heavens, no. Try to see the HoseMaster as a Tribute Band. A pale imitation of an original.

Thomas said...

Once again, I have been had.

Does that make me a had been?

If the Hosemaster does do stand up at the next Bloggers Conference, I might spring for a seat--close to the podium, as my throwing arm ain't what it used to be.

Andy Perdue said...


Ron needs no defending. In fact, he needs commending because he reeled in yet another self-important, self-loathing, self-serving pseudo-journalist.

Got him hook, line and red-rimmed glasses, proving yet again that the purpose of the HoseMaster is to inject some yucks into our otherwise-humorless profession.

I learned that important lesson many years ago from my mentor Sgt. Hulka.

I am, once again, amused by the irony of Mr. Gray seeing the world strictly in shades of black and white.

Samantha Dugan said...

Oh trust me, I know Ron doesn't need my help or defending, in fact I was sure I was going to get my very own hate mail this morning when he read my comment and was even kind of glad my internet was out for a bit.

The HoseMaster hurls shit out there and is bound to ruffle a few feathers, I not only get that I actually love it, part of the reason I've been a fan for so long. That voice deserves much of the squawking but to go after or insult Ron as a person...well you will hear from me then. Even though I know it makes him cringe.

That HoseMaster asshole is on his own but Washam, well I've got his back.

Oh and does anyone else fucking hate this new comment format?! Ugh.

Connoissers' Guide Daddy said...


At the risk of losing yet another good bit of writing to the captcha gremlins, I have to disagree with you.

The Hosemaster needs lots of defending from people with no sense of humor. I know and like Gray Blake, or whatever his name is, but he can be thin-skinned at times and that is too bad.

But, when folks, even nice ones like Blake and Ken at Reign Of Terroir, get upset at comedy, then comedy itself, as well as the comedian, need defending lest we allow the too serious in our lives to take control.

The Hosemaster does not mind being acerbic, and we do not mind laughing with him. Some of us have even disagreed with him once or twice about his targets, but we do have to admit that his targets are usually speared in ways that most of us laugh most of the time.

As for me, well, I tried comedy over on my blog and got called a troll for being intentionally controversial in lampooing some of the low alcohol lunacy. In that case, however, I might have deserved it since so few understood that the point of the piece was to make fun of something silly I had read.

Anyone can try to be funny. Not many of us can keep up with the Hosemaster, which is why we all gather around his hearth whenever he decides to build the fire.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


What's genuinely hilarious is being scolded by the likes of Mr. Gray. I didn't parody or even mention him. He left a positive comment on "Parkenstein," then decided I had to be educated about Poodles and my own emptyheaded negativity.

As a guy who has done this sort of crap all his life, I'm accustomed to his kind of finger-wagging. Mr. Gray no doubt feels proud of himself for telling me off. Therein lies the comedy.


It's rare that I'm insulted by a person with no sense of humor. It's usually someone who decides that he gets to determine which comedic targets are appropriate. His sensibility is offended, whether he has a sense of humor or not, so he believes deep down in his heart that he is doing everyone a favor by pointing out that what I'm doing is tasteless and negative and, even worse, not funny. It's almost sweet, in a way.

"Protect us from criticism and sarcasm! Our motives are pure and our message is important! Speak reverently or don't speak at all!" It's the message of all forms of tyrants.

Thomas said...


I love it when you get holier than thou. If I hadn't gotten to meet you, I'd mistakenly think you are sweet.


PS: Sam, I'm with you on the new comment format, mostly because the new doubled up captcha crap is truly annoying. It has me wondering how many illegible sequences we'll be required to figure out when 2013 rolls in and Google discovers that the present number is no longer secure.

Jimmy Schnipke said...

Mister Master

Sally Jessy Gray just does not get it. Most of us don't know how badly we need to laugh. The funniest part of all of this, it only took me forty years in this business to figure that out.

Fred Swan said...

Ron, you've gone to far this time and will be proved wrong!

The A's should finish 3rd, not last.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


The A's might finish above the Mariners, I suppose, but only with the help of the newly born-again Manny Ramirez. God help him. But I wouldn't bet on it. They're already projected to finish in 5th place in 2013 behind the Houston Astros.

Dave Larsen said...

Ron, I see you have 34 comments so far with less than half from your immediate family. Could it be that reports of you imminent death have been greatly exaggerated?

Anonymous said...

The Wine World is populated by a sizable percentage of dolts, so the question at this point should be: What does Gray Matter?


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Dave,

Every wine blogger knows that if you want a lot of comments write about wine bloggers. It's pandering, pure and simple. Have no fear, my next post will be back to the usual 3 comments.

Reports of my demise are to be fully believed. Everything I write from now on is posthumous. Just like Parker.

Anonymous 1,

Hmmmm... A brain fucker?

Christophe Hedges said...

38 comments so far. Not bad. How many did Blake get on his blog.

You bloggers are so funny.

In the end, blogging is a way for wine writers to prove their abilities without major publication. They all want to be like Pobert Rarcker. He makes good money, drinks tons of wine, and expenses all his meals...maybe.

Samantha Dugan said...

Blake has a blog?!
That makes 39....who's coming in for 40?

Art said...

Twitter/FaceBook = "modern day versions of Morse Code." That's interesting; that's engaging; that's insightful; that's actually brilliant. And that's why we will revisit the HoseMaster until the very (bitter) end -- not to learn about wine, not to laugh with him and at ourselves, but to learn about CULTURE! And where else can you get that?

John M. Kelly said...

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm suffering from Social Media Fatigue. Maybe it is not just me, and the general lack of comments on wine blogs suggests it might not be just me. But seriously, I just come here to see how Ron has vented for me (make what you will of that, HMW).

BTW - you guys on the Blogger platform - this captcha code stuff is crap. Moderate your comments.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Man, it's been a while since I last tasted your family's wines. Always loved them, especially for the reasonable prices. Thanks for chiming in.

As to bloggers, I'll stand by my motto at the top of my blog. "Wine blogs are the attention barking of lonely poodles." Wine has a mysterious aura of class and sophistication, and lots of people want that aura to rub off on them. This includes winery owners, not just wine bloggers. I find joy in trying to bring it all down a notch.


I'm nothing if not quotable, but "brilliant?" Nah, I'm just odd. But thanks for the kind words.


That was my point entirely. Without comments, blogs die. I hope. Social Media destroy attention spans. Why comment when it's more important to move on to the next piece of social media crap? Social media aren't about engagement, they're about disengagement and narcissism. Which is why I love it here!

Art said...

Not you, Ron . . . the HoseMaster! I know what YOU are.

PaulG said...

Señor Hose! Mi casa e su blanca page. An ode to you:

You must not kiss a frog,
A blog is just a blog,
The Dude is just a guy!
The fundamental jokes apply
As blogs go bye...
And when two bloggers spew,
They still think what they do
Must really signify.
On you we shall all rely
As blogs go bye...

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Of all the wine blogs on all the platforms in all the world, you walk into mine...

Anonymous said...

"Long time listener, first time caller"

Mr. Gray might have a few valid points...

"Say what you want about the bloggers you despise, they often present original information"

If you count "we make stuff up" then this must certainly be true, no?

and how about

debates on their sites are sometimes about issues

This is provably true. Now, "sometimes" might be a bit of puffery, but you can't really challenge it. "Sometimes" meteors cause mass extinctions on Earth.

Thanks for all you do. I've lurked since the tail end (so to speak) of the NSFW era, and you were sorely missed during the Dark Ages of HWM-less blog reading.

Great post, as always. ;)


By the way, I'm pretty sure that the Italian for Hosemaster is La Hosa Nostra.

Anonymous said...

Who knew you bloggers had so much time to respond to this kind of stuff? Thoroughly enjoyable..

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey M.F.,

OK, so if you're going to finally come out of the lurker closet, make it a more regular thing. Not many of you around from the NSFW days of HoseMaster. Hell, I miss doing those Google image searches.

You've wonderfully dissected Mr Gray's points. Like we once dissected frogs in high school, only less guts are found. OK, I'm tired.

Yet Another Anonymous,

Wine bloggers have plenty of time. They spend almost no time writing posts or answering comments. May as well waste time on HoseMaster. I know I do.

Phil said...

wow, I am so glad I don't actually have to write about wine and get to grow and make the stuff instead.. You guys seem to be grasping desperately at straws of self-importance.

If you all spent more time among the vines and at the crushpad, you might actually be relevant in todays wineworld. Good luck with that.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Actually, a whole bunch of these folks do make wine. But don't take us, and wine, so seriously.

And it's odd to accuse us of acting self-importantly and then in the next paragraph speak of how amazingly relevant what you do is.

However, "emptyheaded negativity" is always welcome here.

Samantha Dugan said...

Me thinks Phil might be a sheep in Arthur's clothing...

Anonymous said...

I just gotta say...Blake Gray has not posted an original, interesting, or well-written thought on his blog on years. Who pays him to do that? Oh that's right...NOBODY!

Susan McVEe

Thomas said...

53: let's go for broke.

Has it occurred to anyone that Google captchas may be behind the death of blog comments?

I mean, why the hell do they ask me if I want to identify with my Google account and then go ahead and un-recognize me when I comment?
Itr's been my contention for years that people who know all the 10101010 strings haven't a clue about reality.

Eric V. Orange said...


You've hit the comment JACKPOT.

Steady boy, easy.....


Anonymous said...

You have quite a sense of humor, sort of Stephen Colbert, yes? You'll like this...How do you know someone is an MW? They tell you.

Samantha Dugan said...

Yes! I was just saying that to Ron last week, he of course scoffed at me but it's kind of a bunch of hoops to jump through and I can't help but think that some people just don't bother.

Mitch Bakich said...

This had me belly laughing. Great piece of writing, Hosemaster. Now, can you put on a Red Beanie and read it in a Cousteau accent?

Anonymous said...

I thought you were kidding about comments being important on blogs but then you repeated it like you really believe it. Not so. Many people read wine blogs like magazines, they email and even send snail mail. Most interaction happens on Twitter, LinkedIn groups and FB, even for super stars. PS: Really like the picture with the WBC caption.

Anonymous said...

You could have just stopped at the caption.

- Strappo

Jo Diaz said...

I remember the day you said you were done blogging, and I said, "yeah... right."

Stephen Coates said...

I come across the pomposity of the kid bullied in school who is now "sitting for the MS" nearly everyday. They espouse that all American wine is shite because it lacks terroir or acid or has too much alcohol. There are enough rat bastards in the world, that we in the wine world do not need to add.
Our vocation of choice brings joy to peoples lives; birthdays, anniversaries, Holidays, Tuesdays. Does wine need to be so over-thought and over-wrought that it can't just be fun anymore? If that's the case I'm moving to beer. Every brewer I meet has a smile and a hearty laugh. That's a better life. Celebrate it!

Creatures said...

As someone who does not blog and reads wine bloggers, I found your post hilarious. Thank you!

Mockingbird said...

Stephen Coates:

You can't pay your mortgage, loans, rent or kids' college tuition with "fun".
Brewers know this - which is why they are brewers,and why they are laughing....

Thomas said...


Why discuss such deep matters with Ron? A mere MS doesn't know squat.

Find yourself a MS; then, you'll have all the answers, including the one that deciphers chavehe nidecohk--I swear, one more of these and I am through commenting.

What number have we reached?

Thomas said...

Of course, I screwed up and meant to say, find yourself a MW, and now I've added yet another cpmment to the count:
ustrativ etituni

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thomas and Samantha,

Yeah, let's blame Google for the dearth of comments on wine blogs, not the emptiness and unoriginality of the contents. I'm for that.


I can't say that I do remember that, but I'm sure it's true. I really returned because of the Parker/Jay Miller scandal, and then decided I had more to say. Have no fear, I'll probably vanish again soon and then everyone can enjoy the hilarious hijinks over at 1WineDoody, Dubya Blake Gray, and the other various WineWench/Whore/Harlot/Bimbo/Slut/Anklegrabber/MS blogs. Though, Jo, you didn't say whether you're happy I'm back...

Stephen Coates said...


People who can't have fun in the wine business and still make money aren't doing it right. It's just grape juice. If anyone needs advice for their career or politicals, religion, relationships, I here to help. I'm a giver!

Mockingbird said...


I can see where, from your perspective, it's all fun when you don't have to grow it, make it, get it labelled and get a distributor to pick it up.
It's easy to have fun when you sell the products of other people's work - especially when there are more of those people than you have room for in your portfolio....

Thomas said...

OK Stephen Coates, own up. You are a plant.

Who paid you? Pick one form the list:

RP, JM, AG, WBG, MS, TM, S!, #1, HM, KP, CO, JL, V, or I'ma95onthat.

To those who can fill in the names connected the above list--all of them--the HoseMaster will provide a free download of his basic course: How to become a Master Sommelier in five easy lessons or a pain in the ass in one.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Stephen and Mockingbird,

I can tell you it's hard work to make fun of the wine business too. But somebody has to do it.


Don't you have a book to write? (How's that for a pain in the ass lesson?)

Stephen Coates said...


So going into strange places, where people do and say strange/dangerous things, and where wine buyers are a bunch of egotistical pompous asses who say no all day because they have this Schopenhauer "Will To Power" thing going isn't real work or hard?

You could look at the other side differently: instead of grow the grapes, you could say work outside in the sunshine all day; instead of making wine you could say creating and tasting wine all day, instead of label it, maybe try make it presentable so others can enjoy the happiness in this bottle and instead of getting a distributor, maybe get some activists to espouse the joy that is found inside this bottle.

It's all how you look at it.If what you are doing sucks, don't do it anymore.


If I were a plant I would be a grape plant. You get to hang out in the sun all summer, sleep through winter and wake up in the spring refreshed, a new hair cut and better fruit. Cheers!

Thomas said...


Obviously, you don't know about the life of a Finger Lakes grape plant!

I feel for you. I have been on all sides of this business, from grape grower to winemaker and owner to distributor sales rep to retail owner. The only time I enjoyed it was when I was in the cellar making wine. My least favorite times: dealing with those Shopenhauers-- do I have stories.


Don't be a pain in the ass...I had a column deadline today; couldn't get any work done on the book, so took some time off to screw around on the Net, which is like self abuse without the fun part.

You should see what I wrote on Charlie's blog.

What's the comment count now? When will I see my check?

thiciti udinne

They misspelled Udine, capital of the other prosciutto and some wine.

Samantha Dugan said...

Clocking it at 73 and I too should be working but am now going to go play with Thomas on Charlie's blog.

Steve Heimoff said...

It's only rock and roll but I like it, yes I do!

1winedude said...

I was gonna comment but I found out that I'd vanished and then I was all like "sh*t, I'm all vanished and sh*t" but then I drunk up some free samples and I was all like "righteous, this is THE HOSE and it's all GOOD, MAN!" but then I saw all the back and forth in the comments and then I was all like "DANG!" and then I got depressed but then I read that the Hose said none of it really mattered so now I'm just like... uhm... aw, man, now I done lost my train of thought.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

STEVE! and 1WineDoody,

Man, you guys are late to this wake. And thanks for showing up drunk.

1winedoody said...

At least I stopped producing my crappy content long enough to show up to pay respects - we can both agree that counts as progress. And let's get to the real heart of the matter here, which is that if you keep mentioning me on your blog you will have to change your name to STEVE!...

Ron Washam, HMW said...


My crappy content kicks your crappy content's ass. But thanks for dropping by between junkets. I promise not to mention you ever again if you'll promise to remember me when you're co-host of Playboy After Dark. What wine goes with bunny? Maybe Pousse d'Or?

I'd change my name to STEVE! but I don't got the tats. Hey, maybe you could swap with STEVE! Tits for tats!

Mockingbird said...


Blogging Daddy said...

I don't get all this "wine business is not fun". Most of the folks who make wine are having fun.

But, if you are not, you might want to try life in the storm door business.

Note to Tom P. Thanks for mentioning my blog. I think it was the post on name-dropping, and I see you are still at it. Keep it up.

You are in good company. Just this week, both Blake Gray and Harvey Steiman dropped by. Ron may have 80 comments but I have Harvey. We both bragged about our friendships with Joe Heitz. That is what happens when it is not possible to diss Parker or the 100-point system anymore.

And, Mr. P, while I dislike this new captcha thingy, I have to agree with Ron that the lack of interesting content is what is "doing in" the blogosphere.

Thomas said...

I;d argue with Charlie and Hose about what is doing int he blogosphere, but I don;t want to go through the captcha anymore than I have to...but it does help with my lexdislia.

Now, dear readers who hinge on my every word, I must go to work. I can feel the hot breath of a publishing editor on my neck--wish it were a she!

Kathy said...

I couldn't read all the comments (will do on a slow day).
Forget Blake.
Truth is...
Blogs are needed for links from Twitter
Real content is needed for links from Twitter
Nobody pays for all this stuff..that is why wine (other?) bloggers are a dying breed.
And anyone who writes well should be paid well.
Mark Twain...Hosemaster.
(ps I agree with Charlie, your new "Please provide you're not a robot"are Santorum trying to post?)

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Nice to be mentioned in the same sentence with Mark Twain, but that's nuts on the face of it. Twain was a genius, like Dr. Seuss, and I'm not in that league in anyone's book. Certainly not my own.

The wine biz doesn't really respond well to satire, which is what makes it a fun target. I'd love to get paid for writing this crap (there was a time I did, but that's ancient history), but don't expect to. And when you write satire, those who pay you get very picky about what you write anyway. Here I can say whatever I like and that's liberating.

The reward isn't monetary, but having an audience is rewarding in other ways. I like making people laugh, and think, and take offense. It is the role of the Fool, and that's a role I've loved since I was a kid.

Thank you for your kind words, Kathy, they are much appreciated.

WineWonkette said...

Social media didn't destroy attention spans Rupert Murdoch owns that trophy. Some of us cut down on the blogging because one more Valentine's Day Gifts for the Wine Lover was not in us. Or our day jobs, which have nothing whatsoever to do with wine (albeit the amount we consume), are taking up way too much of our "free time."

Glad to see you are back, you must have heard us talking about you!

And thanks to you I'm now late for work!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hi Amy,

Didn't you used to hate me? Ah well, that's a big pack of Poodles. I can't remember who was in it and who wasn't any more.

I'd actually argue that MTV began the trend of shortening attention spans, but I'm all for blaming Rupert Murdoch for everything horrible in life since he ruined my baseball team, the Dodgers, by selling them to that scumbag real estate scam artist from Boston.

I find it hard to believe anyone was talking about me or my stupid blog. But thanks for that. I think it's nice to be back, but, trust me, most days it ain't worth being the HoseMaster.

Blogs are a grind. I'm happier this time around because I no longer fret at all about stats or comments or anything but the work. Not trying to impress anyone, just trying to coax some laughter out of what is otherwise a dull and rather humorless crowd. Or at least piss off somebody who deserves it.

Sorry to make you late for work. Did you forget it was Daylight Savings Time?

funwithbooze said...

Ron, My beloved Pittsburgh Pirates have been in last place far longer than the Oakland As. Come on, if you want to epitomize something use the epitome of it.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


I hear you, but as a kid I loved the Pirates. I grew up in Long Beach, CA, so I am a Dodger fan (we'll be fine now that the crook from Boston was forced to sell the team), but my second favorite team was the Pirates. The glory days of Clemente, then Stargell and Dave Parker, even the years with Bonilla, Van Slyke and a skinny Barry Bonds. Even last year when they were great for two thirds of a season I was really pulling for them.

So I just didn't have the heart to dump on 'em.

Thanks, Clive. Feel free to jump in any time here.