Thursday, January 23, 2014

The HoseMaster's Comprehensive Guide to Wine

Have you ever flipped through those beginner books about wine? Wine for Dummies, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine, Wine for Down’s Syndrome Adults, So You Say You’re Brain Dead Wine Guide, and Don’t Drink Wine if You’re Too Stupid to Read this Book Guide…they’re all rubbish. But they sell. No matter which one you pick up, and, please, God, tell me you’ve never read or owned more than one of them, it basically will have the same information as the others. Maybe in a slightly different format, but just about the same. They are timelessly stupid books, written for sixth grade reading comprehension skills, all purporting to make you comfortable about your wine knowledge in the space of a few hundred poorly illustrated pages. I think it’s the tone of these books that is so insulting, tones reflected in titles about how the reader is an idiot, a dummy, or needs a Bible. If you’re trying to learn about wine, DON’T BUY THESE BOOKS! I’m going to save you the money. And treat you like an adult. Though you’re clearly a jackass.

So let’s begin. It’s the HoseMaster’s Comprehensive Guide to Wine. You’re welcome.


Wine has been part of human civilization for at least 7000 years. But it wasn’t until 4000 years ago that the 100 Point Scale was invented. Prior to that, the first wine critics used the 20 point scale, a scale based on the number of fingers and toes they possessed. An ancient wine that received ten fingers and eight toes was very highly prized. Even today, a low score from a wine critic is the equivalent of simply giving the winery the lowest score possible--the finger.

The advice tendered by just about every beginner wine book when it comes to what wines you should drink boils down to the simplistic and completely misguided advice, Drink what you like. Only Idiots believe this is the way to enjoy wine. When you see this advice anywhere, immediately discredit everything else the writer has to say. When you’re a child and your mother wants you to eat, she may ask you what you want. You answer, “French fries!” or “Fruit Loops!” or “Lung Escargot!” But your mother knows better. She makes you try new things. Eating only what you like leads nowhere. You grow up to be a dwarf, and not one with a movie career. Your health suffers, and once you are old enough to date, you look like an asshole. Try ordering Fruit Loops in a nice restaurant.

Wine is the same as food. Don’t drink what you like. You’ll just look like an asshole. The simpleminded writers who suggest you drink what you like are railing against being a score chaser, trying to convince you that a more expensive wine, a higher-rated wine, isn’t necessarily better than cheap wine. That’s patently crap. They’re trying to make you feel better about yourself for drinking cheap wine. Not me. I won’t insult your intelligence, though God knows that would be easy. There is absolutely no reason to feel good about yourself when you drink cheap wine. You’re a failure. People come to your house and see the wines you’re drinking, and, guess what they’re thinking? They’re thinking you are either really cheap or a consummate failure. They are not thinking, Wow, you must really know a lot about wine to be drinking that cheap crap.

Cheap wine is for getting drunk. It’s not the real thing. Like masturbation isn’t really sex. You can tell yourself it is, Loser, but we know, and you know, it’s not. It satisfies a base desire, absolutely. For about two minutes—on your best day. But the real thing demands time and attention, usually some serious money, and, for real enjoyment, someone else.

In conclusion, it’s clear that people who drink what they like are serial masturbators. If I’m you, I wouldn’t shake their hand.


Wine is fermented grape juice that people screw with to make it taste good. If they didn’t screw with it, it would taste awful. Many beginning wine lovers romanticize wine, seeing it as natural, or as a gift from God. Once again, this is stupid. Frankly, if God is handing out gifts, I don’t really need wine. I could use a new stereo. And wine isn’t any more natural than Quaker Oats or Jiffy peanut butter or that car deodorizer hanging from your mirror that tells everyone you’re hill people. Wine is made by people. People can’t make natural things. Nature makes natural things. Nature makes grapes. People make wine.

It is hard to imagine what wine must have tasted like a couple of thousand years ago, say, at The Last Supper. Jesus may have turned water into wine, but, frankly, Jesus had no idea what good wine tasted like. Sound familiar? In that way, you’re just like Jesus. Jesus probably just finished reading “Wine for Martyrs” and thought He should drink what He likes. Jackass. Anyway, the wine would have been terrible, ruining what otherwise might have been a lovely meal with friends. But, as always in a story about Jesus, there is a lesson to be learned. Serve lousy wine at a dinner with your friends, you’re more than likely to be crucified.

Wine today is a sophisticated drink. It’s hard to think of another beverage that has changed the course of  history more than wine, except perhaps tea and Kool-Aid. Learning to appreciate wine is a lifetime’s work. No one can know all there is to know about wine. Mainly because they’re drunk all the time and more interested in telling the same goddam story four times in a row. But that’s what makes wine a great passion. Its boundaries do not exist, like your slutty sister. Just when you think you know everything, you discover Italian wine. That’s when you are so fucked.



Charlie Olken said...

I always like your laugh out loud pieces, and this is one of them.

One question, though. Last I looked, and it had to be years ago, the revered 20 point system was always used with decimal points so that it was really a 200 point system. So how did they use those toes for 17.6?

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Puff Daddy,
4000 years ago, Ann Noble was in her 20's, and the scale was still in its infancy. You only needed fingers and toes, though it wasn't long before the spaces between counted as the .5's. This was known as the toejam scale, and explains why there are so many toejammy wines still being made today.

Speaking of which, it's ZAP this weekend!

Unknown said...

holy crap that was funny. i'm totally gonna steal your joke about cheap wine = masturabtion

Unknown said...

Ron--I think you have the next great hit in wine books: Wines for Martyrs. Sales should skyrocket after the Pope says he reads it along with Pauls' Epistle to the Romans. Bob Millman

Robin said...

Fabulously funny! Thank you for the laughs this morning!

Steve Lay said...

Gabriel Jagle-what if Ron's Cheap Wine ='s comment wasn't a joke? Damn, I was wanting to meet Ron and shake his hand!?

Thomas said...

It was difficult for me to get past the introduction. I was skewered without ever being mentioned.

I used to wonder why anyone would buy a book with a title that called the reader an idiot. Then, I was asked to write one of them--The Complete Idiot's Guide to Starting and Running A Winery.

Well, I wasn't asked, I was offered money to write one--and that clinched the deal for me.

In fact, sadly, I've thus far earned more money from that book than from my other, non-idiot-titled books.

Go figure--or not.

In any case, the temptation to write the book the way Ron is writing this one was quite strong. And so, I kept envisioning the money, the money, the money.

Quizicat said...

Males can use the 21 point system. No I wasn't masturbating, I was just counting.

The Sommeliere said...

"In conclusion, it’s clear that people who drink what they like are serial masturbators."

I drink what I like, so I guess that makes me...!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Gabe,
Oh, I'm used to having my jokes stolen. Occupational hazard. And, hey, where the hell have you been? Man, my common taters are getting flakey on me.

Wine for Martyrs is, actually, a pretty good idea. "Oh, you go ahead and drink that 98 point wine, I'll just sip on this Best Buy." Hmm... And thanks for chiming in.

You're welcome.

My hands are fine, it's the HoseMaster's you have to worry about. But I rarely allow him out of the house.

Oh, man, I hope I'm a big enough idiot to qualify to buy your book!

I don't remember which book it was, but a co-worker was reading one of those moronic introduction to wine books that was so stupid, so condescending and so banal, it triggered this piece. I've already written Part 2, despite the fact that I hate this Part 1. I'm searching for the right tone, so it's a work in progress.

I think I should turn it into a book, The Wine Bible for Idiots, Dummies, Shitheads and Wine Bloggers. Kickstarter, here I come.

If you find a 21 point wine, just keep it in your pants.

Marlene Darling,
It's doing both at the same time that's worrisome. They really hate it at wine bars.

Unknown said...

Tell the same goddamn story four times??? Didn't you just reprint a column?? Reminds me of this dingaling broad who wrote a column for the Van Sun.. ripped off a NY Times piece on how seniors are snow boarding and stuck Whistler names in it.. and duh! she got caught and fired! I try never to tell the same story twice, no matter how drunk I get.. bring on the cheap wine, but please, no two buck chuck!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey, man, I love my reruns! My pieces are guaranteed even stupider the second and third times.

Hey, man, I love my reruns! My pieces are guaranteed even stupider the second and third times.

Hey, man, I love my reruns! My pieces are guaranteed even stupider the second and third times.

Hey, man, I love my reruns! My pieces are guaranteed even stupider the second and third times.

Thomas said...

What'd he say?

Ron, one Amazon reviewer cautioned others that my Idiot Guide was just another guide for idiots. I often wonder if the title gave it away.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Well, I don't know about you, but I never believe the reviews of large women with one breast. Or idiots.

Unknown said...


My life has been turned upside down over the past couple months (in a good way). Thanks for providing me with some good laughs today, I'll try to comment more often - because nobody likes flaky taters

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Let me guess. Sex change?

We just miss you around here. I hope you're life is somewhat back to normal, and that you'll favor us with your presence more often. Though the late night boozy comments are my personal favorites.

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,
Dude, I snorted, like several times. I didn't get a chance to get here this morning so you My Adorable Funny Man, you were my midday snack. Consider yourself devoured, and greatly appreciated. This was hilarious.
Your Serial Master-Bater...

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Sweet Love,
Glad I made you snort, though now I sound like Kim Kardashian's coke connection.

I knew I'd never live down that cheap wine = masturbation analogy. Makes you never want to set foot in a Trader Joe's again. Your shoes stick to the floor.

Unknown said...

Hosemaster, Sir! : Why do they let "Complete Idiots" write guide books?
A friend just purchased the "audio version" of the Don’t Drink Wine if You’re Too Stupid to Read this Book Guide.
Are any of Alice Fiering's books printed on organic, natural paper? Inquiring minds want to know.
You nailed that paragraph about Jesus.
As for Italian wine, James Suckling will soon have "Imbecile's Italian Wine Guide" on the market and I don't know if that's a reference to the reader or the author. But as they say in Italy, BEH!.


Unknown said...

Finally someone who appreciates my late-night boozy comments! If only my wife had an equal appreciation for those. I'll see what I can do to keep them coming. In the meantime, I hope my "bored at work" comments will suffice

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Anonymous 1,
Well, now it's officially Old Timer's Day here on HoseMaster. Next thing you know, John Kelly will show up.

Ironically, Alice's books are printed on acid-free paper.

Yeah, what did Jesus know about wine? None of his apostles were sommeliers. There was Paul and Peter and John, but not a real Dick.

You're married? Oh. That explains the drinking.

And, yes, your bored at work remarks will have to suffice. So, like the ones where you kiss STEVE!'s butt all day?

Unknown said...

hey, a buttery tater is better than a flakey tater. at least i'm not on warks blog, where all taters are served dry

Thomas said...

Either Gabe's maturing or I'm slipping fast.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Well, sounds like this time you were one fried tater. Cool.

Or both.

Eric V. Orange said...

Excellent Hose. I laughed.
Will mention on FB.
BTW, nice notice from Dunn on Wine,eh?


Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Eric,
Thanks. Since I don't use any other social media, I rely on others to post my crapola on FaceBook, or Tweet about me. I need all the help I can get.

Mike Dunne very kindly put me first on his list of must-read wine bloggers in his Sacramento Bee piece. Here's a link:

Unfortunately, the link from the SacBee to my blog is fucked up and I've received zero hits from it. So it goes. But Mike Dunne was wildly generous with his praise, and I'm humbled.

Thanks, Eric!

Unknown said...

Speaking of Old Timers...

Jesus and somms have something in common.

Jimmie Schnipke

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey Jimmie,
Man, now it's officially Old Timers Day on HoseMaster. Thanks for chiming in--been way too long.

Unknown said...

Re Chapter 2: I understand why Kool-Aid is a historically significant beverage. Who can forget Jim Jones and his followers in the jungles of Guyana, or wherever the hell it was? But tea?

And what about masturbating while drinking wine that I like? Is that a double no-no?
Jerry Greenfield
Author of "Secrets of the Wine Whisperer"

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Ever hear of the Boston Tea Party? And what about Mister Tea?

A double no-no is a yes.

WineKnurd said...

I dare say that Hosemaster is a masterbation honorific!