Thursday, May 24, 2012

The 2012 Wine Blog Awards! Let's Karaoke!

It’s that time of year again. Nominations are open for the Wine Blog Awards, or, as I call them, the POODLES. If you lean in and listen closely, shhhhh, there’s one now, you can hear the bloggers surreptitiously nominating themselves. The categories include Best Overall Wine Blog, Best Writing on a Wine Blog, Best New Wine Blog, Best Industry Blog—or, as they’re collectively known in Track and Field, the Low Hurdles.

No one knows how many wine blogs there are. But all you have to do is see one, and you just know there will be thousands more. Like cockroaches. Or butt pimples. The wine blogosphere is a lot like a karaoke contest. Most of the people doing it don’t really have much of a voice. And they all tend to pretty much sing the same damned songs over and over.

Unlike most awards, the POODLES judges remain anonymous. Oh, but you know they’re qualified. How do you know? Each judge received at least 96 points from the organizers. There, that’s proof positive. Why are the judges’ names kept secret? Simple. Much easier to nominate their friends that way. Or win awards themselves. Wait, that seems way too cynical. No, the judges are anonymous in order to protect those judges from lobbying or pressure from nominees. And that’s understandable. We all know Poodles are so damned articulate and persuasive—look at how much wine they sell. And, besides, judges are usually kept anonymous in every great democracy. Say, North Korea. One can really only trust the decisions of anonymous judges. Ask Justice Clarence Thomas.

There is about it all the feeling of the elementary school playground. “Pick Me, Pick Me!,” mixed with the sincerity of Sally Fields, “You like me, you really like me.” A lot of bloggers, in a wondrous blaze of shamelessness, will ask their readers to nominate them. I wonder if this happens for the Nobels. “Yes, it’s time once again for the Nobel Prize in Literature. I’ve worked hard all year, written a brilliant, self-published novel, and, well, Phillip Roth is never going to win, so why not nominate me?” Now in its sixth year, the Wine Blog Awards have become something I only barely recognize—a joke. Or maybe a Wark in Progress. It boils down to awards for typing. And typing often.

I was going to start my own POODLE awards. I know that an award from the HoseMaster would be far more meaningful than one from some imaginary and self-appointed Wine Blog Awards website. (Hey, this post is about vanity, I’m entitled to my Cher.) I was going to start my own wine blog awards because the current categories for a POODLE are useless, and don’t reflect the reality of the wine blogosphere.

May I suggest a few categories that might be far more appropriate? Oh, you know I will. And I’m actively seeking nominations.


No, this isn’t for a blog about natural wines. The winner of this category is a blog that doesn’t add anything at all to the wine world. It is a blog as nature intended. Natural blogs do not contain anything from outside the blog that artificially enhance it, such as pirated photos, lame ads for the California Wine Club, or anything cultured, like yeast or literary references. A blog is either an unnatural wine blog or a natural wine blog, but natural blogs are clearly superior. There are countless natural wine blogs that add nothing to the conversation, and this is an award to recognize their facileness. (Many have their own FacileBook page.)


There was a time when one of the most common topics on wine blogs was how to “monetize” your blog. That topic has vanished. Primarily because wine blogs are like the junk people take to “Antiques Roadshow” and the expert says, “What you have here is an item that should be strapped to a suicide bomber.” So, this award asks, is there a wine blog you would actually pay to read? I think we all know the answer.

As an aside, I personally love the blogs, like W. Blinky Gray’s, that ask for a donation through Paypal. There’s a guy outside my local Safeway with a sign written on cardboard that says, “Any Spare Change Apreciated.” I give him money because I think he’s more interesting to read.


It seems all wine bloggers try desperately to have zero comments on their posts, at least judging by how interesting those posts are. This award celebrates the wine blog that manages month after month to have the fewest comments, with none being the perfect score. This promises to be a hotly contested category.


We all know this clown, the one who haunts the “successful” blogs posting comments relentlessly in order to troll for hits on his/her own useless, ego-driven blog.  I think it’s time we honor those tireless and shameless advocates for themselves. Devoid of original thoughts themselves, they want to sidle up next to those who have something to say and nod their virtual heads in agreement while pretending they’re part of the same intellectual team.

Ultimately, it is they who epitomize the finest in Poodledom.

And for my previously published explanation of most of the categories for a Wine Blog Award, follow this LINK.


Anonymous said...


I'm a little disappointed it took you so long to get this post up. the WBA have been taking nominations for a few days now.

On the other hand, I'm glad you've joined by Bandwagon with regard to "Natural" Blogs. It's a horrific name for blogs. There is no such thing as a "Natural" blog. They don't grow on trees you know. Additionally, if it's a "Natural" blog, then everything else is "Unnatural">...Bad form. I'm on a crusade.

Tom Wark

Marcia Macomber said...

Whohoo! The Poodles are back! Love the new categories. (Always nice to some each year. Are there 42 or 54 now?)

I like the fewest comments category. So difficult to choose from all those who qualify...

Keep 'em comin', HoseMeister!

Thomas said...

Well, I finally qualify for an award. It could be the next to last, the one about fewest comments, or it could be the final category.

Anonymous said...

A note to Lot 18 the online wine store. I was interested in purchasing a wine, and not just one bottle, but 6! Then I read the small print of who wrote the wine notes - - yours truly the HoseMaster, Ron Washam. It was all the makings of a pandering poster child wine blogger who slanders other wine bloggers. So guess what - I didn't purchase the wine and cancelled my subscription. Pander and slander may rhyme, but they do not mix.

Anonymous said...


I'm fearing that in your condemnation of the Hosemaster, irony is lost on you.

Tom (notice I gave my name) Wark

Ron Washam, HMW said...


To be honest, and I'm nothing if not honest (gack), I wrote the piece and then decided to just leave it unpublished. I thought, isn't everyone tired of the HoseMaster going after Poodles? But Samantha talked me into posting it, and here it is. You're a great marketing guy, you know that the old saw about "it doesn't matter what they say about you just as long as they talk about you" is true. So, you're welcome.

Marcia Love,

Well, thanks, as always. The POODLES are an easy source of material, which every self-proclaimed satirist needs. I also prefer dachshunds.


Isn't it illegal to have four blogs? Or are you a Mormon blogger? Polygapoodle.


As Tom Wark implies, at least I have the courage to put my name to my opinions. You have the courage to cancel an online wine order.

And I'm sure you believe as well that the writers of "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" and "Saturday Night Live" are "slandering" all of their satiric targets. You laugh at their jokes (or maybe I give you too much credit), but are OUTRAGED that I insult the ridiculous fools you're standing up for.

Thank you, though, for the outrage. It warms my evil heart.

Samantha Dugan said...

Way to go Anonymous! That's awesome, don't buy wines you wanted and cancel a subscription to save yourself a bunch of money on future deals on wine! You showed him...oh wait.

Ron My Love,
I simply had to push you to make fun of the awards and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for writing a piece that is as funny as watching the "drama" unfold as the nominations and begging begin!

I was holding out for either:

Cutest/Most Annoying Blog Couple (thought we would be a shoo in there but forgot about STEVE! and 1Wine Doody)


Blog Post That Made Me Feel Funny Down There

Seeing as neither of those are up for grabs I'll just kick around my little playground and try and ignore the whole thing.

Hey, I haven't checked but was wondering if you had noticed, have any of the "Winners" ever been blogs that don't sell or post ads? Just curious....for the life of me I can't figure out how STEVE! hasn't won yet, that was the only reason I could think of.

I adore you for appeasing me and I love you!

A Blog A Day Daddy said...

It seems to me that you have missed some very obvious categories. But, it is not too late.

--Blog I'd Pay The Most To Avoid
--Blog With The Most Obnoxious Ads
--Leading Panderer of 2012
--Blog With The Most Mistakes Per 100 Words
--Blog Most Likely To Take A Six Month Vacation (oops)

Thomas said...

"--Blog Most Likely To Take A Six Month Vacation (oops)"

Too many contenders for that one. How many have I got left to qualify?


They aren't all blogs. So I cheated. Isn't that another poodle trait? Ack, my poodle just bit me.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

I think we're an easy nominee for annoying blog couple. I think the romance between STEVE! and 1WineDoody has cooled, however. Our main competition might be Alfonso and Jeremy Parzen.


I have a long list of other categories as well, though I like the idea of Leading Panderer, though Joe Roberts would have to disqualify himself like Oprah used to do at the Daytime Emmys.

I almost did Stupidest Premise for a Wine Blog, Best Compilation Wine Blog Without an Original Thought, and Best Blog Written from the Viewpoint of a Domesticated Animal.

Oh, and Best Blog by a Wine Writer Trying to Rejuvenate a Career. (oops)


Actually, I wasn't sure any of them were blogs.

Mockingbird said...

Don't knock Alfonso and Jeremy. It's an Italian thing (I think)....

Thomas said...

Italian men don't eat quiche, so to speak...

Samantha Dugan said...

But they are both from Southern California. Dammit, guess that one is a pipe dream too. Maybe I should ditch The HoseMaster and hook up with a girl blogger, Chronic Negress perhaps?

Beau said...

What about Most Pretentious Wine Blog or Best Mis-use of Grammar? Most Worthless Wine Recommendations? Most Factually Wrong Blog?

Oh, the possibilities.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hi Beau,

Oh, the possibilities are indeed endless. But I think my simple overall point is that not only is it embarrassingly shameless and narcissistic for a bunch of wine bloggers to give themselves awards, for work that has an audience of fewer people than an Occupy Compton rally, but the process is hidden and shady (who are the judges, how are they chosen, why can anyone nominate himself?) and, therefore, so are the results.

I, honestly, don't care. The HoseMaster makes a stink, as is his habit, it does fill space, but I, personally, am utterly uninterested. Bloggers will beg for nominations, they'll Tweet for nominations, they'll FakeBook for nominations, they'll nominate themselves, and, finally, in a few months, it will be Wark and STEVE! and 1WineDoody and Alderpated who win.

There is some talent out there, I've come across a few very talented souls. But they will be smothered under the weight of the self-delusional and mediocre who bark and bark and bark and then feel validated when they receive attention. Not realizing that the attention is just to get them to finally shut up.

PaulG said...

Señor Hose - Sadly, I take this vitriolic post to mean you are not putting yourself up for any Blogster awards. So sad! You epitomize the best of blogging, the angst, the jism, the scrum, the farts... all the good stuff. So when you say, sadly "Wark and STEVE! and 1WineDoody and Alderpated" will prevail (good friends all, may I say), I shed a silent tear that the HoseMan is not in that Hall of Fame list. But for me, my friend, you will always deserve an award (to be named) and stand proudly as the essence of blog-dom. Salute! We who are not worthy adore you....

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Paul,

Those are awfully kind words, I think. Thanks. Somebody nominated me, but, somehow, I don't think the powers that be have any intention of giving me a Poodle. Would I accept one? Gleefully. As the altar boy who farts in church, it would be an honor.

I don't know if you're nominated, my friend, but you should be. And yet, as a professional, maybe you shouldn't. The point of the awards doesn't seem to be rewarding the most interesting and talented wine bloggers, but rewarding those who make wine blogging look good. Much like the Oscars, only with much uglier people.

I like Vitriol. I drink it like old people drink Ensure. Playing the HoseMaster helps me keep my always tenuous sanity. And I love it when I'm popular for spewing it at Parker or Dr. Conti or Jay Miller, but reviled when I aim it at poor, sad, I'm-doing-the-best-I-can, wine bloggers. It's wonderful comedy.

Mockingbird said...

Will someone nominate me for best graphics (do they still have that category)?

Mockingbird said...

"make wine blogging look good" - how does one do that?

Joe said...

I'd like to point out that this is the first time I have ever posted a comment on a wine blog.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


I'm honored. Though there's no way now I'll win the Fewest Comments Poodle. Thanks for that.

1winedoody said...

I'm with Paul - HMW deserves some form of recognition besides my undying affection, which incudentally has the same monetary payout as he WBAs ($0.00, approximately)...

Ron Washam, HMW said...


The last thing I need is recognition. I've got enough trouble as it is. Though I have to say that getting support from blogging giants (ahem) like you and Paul Gregutt and STEVE! does probably help keep me from getting stoned to death by an angry mob of Poodles.

As to the monetary award for a Poodle, well, it does seem appropriate. But didn't you get a pretty decanter? And unbelievable prestige? What's money compared to the praise of your peers? Aside from way more valuable?

Beau said...

You got all serious..and made a lot of sense. Let me go gargle with some Chilean carmenere and get back to you.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


There is nothing more serious than comedy, and few more serious than (self-proclaimed) comedy writers.

Gargling with Carmenere--isn't that the name of a Ferlinghetti collection?

Gerry Dawes said...

FEWEST COMMENTS ON A WINE (ETC.) BLOG. Oh, shit, you've found my blog. Now all the riff-raff are going to want to pile on the bandwagon. I actually get a ton of comments, but most of them are too scurrilous to allow past the moderation. I especially detest the multitude of attempted posts that cast nasty speculation about the quality of my parentage.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


You can have most of my comments if you want. My parentage isn't often questioned, though my genus often is.