Monday, March 30, 2015

The IPOB Rejection Letter

Dear Applicant,

It is with profound regret that we inform you that your winery has not been selected to become a member of In Pursuit of Balance. Our panel of winemakers, and a world famous and widely admired sommelier, tasted the wines submitted from Splooge Estate and decided they did not meet our standards of balance. We urge you to continue to try to achieve balance in your wines because, basically, that crap you sent, like all of the wines not a part of In Pursuit of Balance, is a crime against wine humanity. Please consider getting out of the wine business entirely. Or joining Family Winemakers, essentially the same thing.

In Pursuit of Balance is dedicated to one thing and one thing only. Publicity. But Our Beloved Founders believed that In Pursuit of Publicity wasn’t an especially wise name. Though iPoP would make a cool logo. Our long term goal is to promote the kind of wines we make, not, for the love of God, that disgusting stuff you bottle. Maybe you should start your own organization. Though I’m sure In Pursuit of Splooge is already taken (I’d advise you NOT to Google it), perhaps In Pursuit of Scores might work. At least that was the impression our panel of distinguished and balanced winemakers, and a world famous and widely admired sommelier, received from your samples. What the hell enzyme did you use to extract that Splooge Estate 2013 “Queefer Ranch” Pinot Noir, anyway? Beano®?

We are especially careful at IPOB that all of the wines who claim membership have one important thing in common. A large price tag. This is not because we’re dismissive of inexpensive wines, but rather because Balance is a quality only found in more expensive Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. We don’t look at prices before we judge the wines submitted for IPOB membership, of course. All of our tastings are done blind, which attending any of our events will prove to you. There’s a couple wineries among us that we must have tasted not just blind, but blind drunk; but once you’re in IPOB, you’re in for life. IPOB is the ISIS of wine associations—there is our way, or there is the people we’re going to destroy’s way. But no matter. Your Splooge Estate wines were plenty expensive enough, but our professional wine tasters, led by a world famous and widely admired sommelier, felt that they had the balance of a one-legged hippie with an ear infection. Though he’s a helluva wine judge.

At IPOB, we are grateful every single day for the fact that Our Beloved Founders discovered balance. Oh, sure, balance existed in Nature, much as gravity always existed, and long before that Gravenstein conked Sir Isaac Newton in the cabeza; it just took our own world famous, widely admired, and sure to be knighted one day sommelier, and his Princess, to see it, define it, and explain it to the rest of us. Sadly, their message seems to have escaped those responsible for Splooge Estate. Did you really think you had a chance of becoming an IPOB member winery? With that many Brix you could build Fort Knox.

For future reference, and you might want to pass this along to as many of your misguided friends as you are able, IPOB says that “…a wine is in balance when its diverse components – fruit, acidity, structure and alcohol – coexist in a manner such that should any one aspect overwhelm or be diminished, then the fundamental nature of the wine would be changed.” Yeah, we know, kind of vague and obvious. Think of it like people. Attractive people have certain qualities in common, they fall in a certain range of height, weight, hair and skin quality. If someone is too short, too fat, extremely hirsute, or has a bad case of acne, that someone is just flatout ugly. We all know they’re ugly, even the people who made them know they’re ugly, despite the fact that they love them. As people, we don’t look any further than that. Wine is the same way. And your wines, my friend, were short, fat, hairy and pockmarked. Though we’re sure you love them.

We urge you to not feel too bad about being rejected for IPOB membership. Far better wineries than Splooge Estate have been turned down. Hell, far better wineries than our current membership have been turned down, primarily because we don’t really want members anyone has ever heard of. One of Our Beloved Founders, remember, is a world famous, widely admired, certain to be knighted, winemaker-impersonating sommelier, so he insists on obscurity. And balance. Don’t forget about balance. We are unanimously in pursuit of it, and if we ever catch it, hell, there will be no stopping us. You’d be wise to be on our side if we do.

Membership dues for IPOB are used to conduct tastings in major cities across the United States, and for our efforts on social media to attract 15-year-old girls to our cause. IPOB is the future of wine, and we understand the future will be filled with people our age who are younger now. See, we have foresight. Dues will also be used for projects to be unveiled to the public in the near future. IPOB member wineries will have special stickers on all their wines that say, “Certified Balanced,” and “Without Balance, You’re a Dead Wallenda.” In development is a special “balancalyzer” that measures the balance in any wine you exhale through it. If the wine isn’t an IPOB member’s wine and you breathe into the “balancalyzer,” the device says, in Jon Bonné’s voice, “Put the glass down! This wine is unbalanced.” And he would know.

IPOB does offer, at a nominal fee, a Balance Auditor who can help guide Splooge Estate along the path to membership in IPOB. The IPOB Auditor can tell if a wine is balanced simply by putting his finger into the mouth of the winemaker and holding that finger up to the breeze. At IPOB, we know which way the wind blows, and we’re giving you the finger to prove it.


I don’t mind traces of arsenic in my wine. I’m sure there are worse things in there. Like the alcohol that’s killing me. At least arsenic is vegan. What I mind are all the pointless blog posts about it (yes, including this one), posts that are entirely predictable. Tom Wark’s alarm call that this blip in the wine radar will have dire consequences for the wine business. The wine business can ill afford to have stupid people stop buying wine—remember, stupid people are who marketers rely on. And then there are all the “exposés” about how the plaintiff in the lawsuit is playing an extortion game. Duh. ’Twas ever thus. Suddenly every muttonhead starts regurgitating the same facts he garnered from the reply published by the Wine Institute as if he were an authority on wine chemistry and litigation. Yeah, we know the arsenic limits refer to water, not wine—we read it just like you did. It reinforces the dullness and unoriginality of wine blogs. Well, if the clown wanted to get publicity for his company, he’s succeeded, thanks to the endless chatter about him. He certainly hasn’t done anything illegal, as far as I can tell. Filed a frivolous lawsuit. Pretty much destroyed any good will he might have had in the wine business in California. So the guy is clearly a genius. Suing Trader Joe’s for not listing ingredients on wine? Hell, they list Cabernet Sauvignon on the label, and it doesn’t taste like it. That doesn’t stop people from buying it. What’s the difference?

People who are worried about arsenic in wine are the folks the business doesn’t really need. Though I wonder what the Natural Wine people will say to defend the presence of arsenic in their wines. Arsenic is terroir, after all, pretty much everywhere in the world. So I guess there’s that. I think it’s a little titillating that there’s arsenic in wine. Because wine is all about balance, and perhaps the arsenic is there to counteract the life-extending qualities of resveratrol. Every time you drink a bottle of wine, friends, you die a little, and you live a little longer, too. It’s perfect.

Most of you probably don’t know that I have a race in the Sport of Kings named for me:

Yes, that’s right, the wonderful people of Australia have named an important sporting event after me. As far as I know, there is no 1WineDoody Stakes anywhere, though if there were, it would make the jockeys feel tall. There’s no Fermentation Derby, no Vornography Stakes, no STEVE! Memorial Handicap (would have to be a Maiden Race). But, yes, my friends, there is the prestigious Hosemaster Handicap.

Of course, it’s the only race where the thoroughbreds run backwards, and the biggest horse’s ass wins.


Reddangel said...

Dear Sir

erhm are you tired? Your whiplike wit is slightly drooping and weary. Overdunked perhaps. Still I have as many faiths as there are on the planet that you will recover. Perhaps Hopefully and faithfully yours

Bill Ward said...

Queefer Ranch got a spit take. And congrats on your equine honor Down Under, even if it comes with a Handicap.

Carl LaFong said...

"IPOB does offer, at a nominal fee, a Balance Auditor who can help guide Splooge Estate along the path to membership in IPOB. The IPOB Auditor can tell if a wine is balanced simply by putting his finger into the mouth of the winemaker and holding that finger up to the breeze. At IPOB, we know which way the wind blows, and we’re giving you the finger to prove it."

An alternate method is sticking your finger in the bung-hole while the winemaker is bent over the barrel. Smelling the finger as it comes out of the bung can determine balance, tannins and yesterday's lunch.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

You have no idea how tired...

Oh, man, when I stumbled onto that Hosemaster Handicap I about jumped out of my chair. I'd have spit coffee on my screen, but I don't drink coffee, so that would have been something to see a doctor about. Now I just have to find out HOW it got named Hosemaster Handicap. Anyone know?

So many orifices, so little time.

Unknown said...

Dear HM,

Great writing is when you say (in prose) the shit that I have been thinking. Thank you. As a documented literary critic, I am one handed clapping while my other hand, well, you know.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thanks. I had intended to go to IPOB's SF tasting, Jasmine Hirsch was kind enough to put me on the comp list, but, at the last minute I wasn't able to go. But I started thinking about how once a year they taste through wines submitted for membership in IPOB, and I wondered what the rejection letter must look like for the wineries they refuse admission to their little club. So, of course, I wrote it. In my head, it's sort of written by Jon Bonné, but not really.

This is the kind of shit that floats around my head all the time. Sad.

Thomas said...

Tilt your head to the right side, Ron; then, you'll be balanced.

By the way, what food goes with arsenic? Apples?

Cris Carter said...

Brilliant, Ron. I've never understood why certain people have to pay to have friends- first fraternities, now IPOB. Haven't they heard of a circle jerk? Oh, damn, maybe that's what's happening at the end of those tastings... Gotta finish that application.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

If I tilt my head to the right, my brains leak out of my ears.

Arsenic is good with crow. I would know.

I'm trying to think of another wine association that screens by "balance," or any other mystical wine word. Is there a formal association of Natural Wines? It strikes me as the same kind of nonsense. Why not In Pursuit of Terroir, though IPOT isn't the best acronym for wine? IPOB is a kind of elitism on the face of it--not exactly what we need more of in the wine business. It doesn't teach, it preaches. Oh, they are certainly entitled to do as they please, and most of the members make beautiful wines (and don't need IPOB), but I'm not sure what their goal is except world domination. Because when it comes to wine, they don't seem to have a goal aside from disingenuous publicity.

Marcia Macomber said...

My deepest condolences (or congratulations--your choice) on the rejection of your IPOB application.

My congratulations on the HoseMaster Horse thing, a far more worthy honor (running forwards or backwards, again, your choice).

the arsenic thing has been wholly annoying and stupid (particularly having to comment and participate in such a non-subject).

Long live the HoseMaster's Handicap!

Bob Henry said...

"All of our tastings are done blind, which attending any of our events will prove to you. There’s a couple wineries among us that we must have tasted not just blind, but blind drunk . . ."

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Marcia Love,
Oh, you don't want to toast the HoseMaster's Handicap. It's E.D. Toast the Hosemasters Handicap, the Horse Race. Maybe named for Mr. E.D., the talking horse.

A classic.

Divine Miss M said...

“Without Balance, You’re a Dead Wallenda.” Belly laugh. Thank you.

Pam Strayer said... of your best posts yet. And that's saying a lot.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Thanks. IPOB is hilarious, but they understand P.T. Barnum.

The Primlani Kitchen said...

Brilliant! Thanks Ron...I did taste a few at TexSom.