Thursday, April 28, 2016

Our Forgotten Wine Critics (A Post for Berry Bros. & Rudd)

I have to confess that I was completely astonished when the lovely Sophie Thorpe contacted me on behalf of the legendary British wine merchants Berry Bros & Rudd and commissioned me to write a satirical piece for their wonderful wine blog, a blog with actual content. How is that even a wine blog? After a brief negotiation, which involved far too much weeping on my part, I came up with "Our Forgotten Wine Critics." You can find it here.

I feel honoured to have been asked. There's a kind of acceptance for what I'm doing here at HoseMaster of Wine™ that is heartening and encouraging. I'm grateful for the recognition. What's surprising, to some extent, is that I'm much more "accepted" in the U.K. than I am in the U.S. Or maybe Berry Bros & Rudd is hoping to get sued, too.

Please click over to their blog, where you'll find my piece. This may be a one-off for me, but I'm hoping they'll occasionally commission some work from me in the future. It helps, of course, if they get a lot of traffic from my appearance. So here it is, my inaugural piece for the esteemed Berry Bros & Rudd, "Our Forgotten Wine Critics."



Unknown said...

Ron: Lovely, f*cking lovely. I particularly enjoyed the lines "It's nice that it's unscented," "it was a very long fall," and "ascended to madness." Thanks for making my morning. Lapsley

Charlie Olken said...

I started to leave a comment over "there", but it is clear that the English don't have a sense of humour (notice their spelling--they don't get that right either) about themselves.

This piece is easily one of your best. Very few cheap throw-away thigh slappers, but plenty of smarts and lines that are loaded with meaning. Insightful, forward-looking and scary for critics like me. Fortunately, I may be gone by the time this really does come to fruition, which is precisely the way we are heading. As one of them said to me just the other day, when everybody is a wine critic, nobody is a wine critic. That day is coming fast.

Oh, and congrats on your increasing recognition. I will be among your common taters who will look back and say, "I knew him when".

Unknown said...

Ron - Speaking of 'I knew him when' - I am reminded of the wine newsletter out of Pasadena that would read when I visited a good friend (of mine and yours). You had it then and you still got it (thank goodness it has changed, of course)!

Don't lose it. Please.

Bob Henry said...

The flip side is "I know him now."

And the wistful wondering of what might have been.

Unknown said...

Great stuff, HoseMaster. Cool to see your stuff on their website. Nice graphics, too.

Daniel said...

you seem so restrained and almost polite, so British. You might have hurt yourself keeping your tongue so firmly planted in your cheek. not a single dick joke in the whole piece!
nicely done.

Peter Morrell said...

Having nosed into your assemblage with trepidation, with one overly biting exception, enjoyed it from first sip to the final swallow. I even guffawed once or twice. Perhaps, in the afterlife – if there is one – of literary wine significance, the wandering wine critics of yesteryear will be read and remembered for their contributions to the cause. Peter

Samantha Dugan said...

Ron My Love,

You know I love this piece and I am so proud of you for being tapped on the, erm...cheeky tongue by such a respected far reaching site. I always knew BBR had good taste, now, with adding you, they have the BEST taste.
Sending deep pride swollen hugs
I love you

Ron Washam, HMW said...

When Sophie Thorpe of BBR contacted me, she had a topic in mind. She wanted a piece about the much-discussed Death of Wine Critics--social media and wine blogs having eliminated the need for them. I proposed a piece about the shame of our now homeless wine critics, or a piece about a Wine Critic Rapture, when all wine critics mysteriously disappeared but no one notices. She preferred the homeless version.

I spent a big part of my life learning how to write for various venues and performers. I read the BBR blog, knew of their stellar and historic reputation, and, Charlie, I understood what that demanded from me as a satirist. I can write "clean" like this easily, but much of being the Fool requires a certain amount of scandalous language, tastelessness and scatalogical mockery, which I employ here often. That wasn't going to work on the BBR blog, so I stuck to my voice, but dealt with the concept in a more "mature" fashion. I enjoyed it. It's fun to write that way, too, but it's hardly as raucous or demeaning. So what? It worked for the venue.

Berry Bros & Rudd commissioning me speaks volumes, I think. Often, people in the upper crust of the wine biz, the famous and illustrious I often try to whittle down to size, claim they don't read my work. That could be true. It's probably true. But when BBR publishes the HoseMaster, suddenly Peter Morrell shows up being all erudite (thank you, Mr. Morrell, I'm honored), and RH Drexel, the darling of wine dweebs, peeks her head out from behind her anonymous curtain. I don't think I care about credibility, but BBR's imprint gives me a great deal anyway.

I'm not a crusader. I have no interest in proving any points. I just think the wine business is filled with blowhards, pretenders, and pinheads, as well as far too much pretension and outright marketing garbage. It gives wine satire credence to have BBR publish the HoseMaster, whether you like what I do or not. I think that matters.

Finally, I am forever in Tim Atkin's debt for having the courage and kindness to publish my work on his famous site. Without Tim, I doubt BBR would have even heard of me.

Paul in St. Augustine said...

So Hose ( to borrow from EVO), what's your take on the BBR response?