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Musing About Prosecco, Old White Guys In Wine and Other Random Thoughts

By Charles Olken

My favorite blog entry today is found over at Hosemaster of Wine*—where you will find a link to an interview of The Hosemaster, in which he reveals that he is not a funny person in person. Well, yes, that is true, but Ron Washam is a writer, not a stand-up comedian (his words that I have happily plagiarized) and if you like a little hard-hitting satire with you morning coffee or you late night tipple, The Hosemaster is that guy that brings it. Go read his life story, which is revealing although not funny, and then go read The Hosemaster.

Old White Guys
The phrase “older white guys” was uttered a while back by a women blogger who looked at panel of older white guys on the podium at a bloggers conference and wondered if why the panel was not more diverse. Fair question, that—although the panel in question had a lot to do with long experience in writing and, frankly, that sector of the fraternity is mostly occupied by, you guessed it, old white guys of which Steve Eliot and I are two—so is Ron Washam for that matter. There have always been distaff wine writers going back to such widely regarded commentators as Mary Lester and Frances Peterson here in San Francisco, Eunice Fried and Harriet Lembeck in New York. And today, the balance is far better.

The other day, the phrase reappeared in reference to the folks who run the distribution side of the wine world, and its use was meant to suggest that the existing structure is out of touch with the new marketplace of social media, Millennials and the like. I would just like to point out for the record that the old folks who run the world are always seen as out of touch with the upcoming generations. I was always thus and will always be. My generation was going to ruin the world with our “rock and roll” music. And then the Summer of Love and the expression, “Never trust anyone over thirty”. Oh well, we all turned thirty, moved to the suburbs, had 2.2 kids and become soccer junkies.

People, mostly old white guys, are complaining that the phrase is agist and sexist. I am sure they are right, but I don’t much really care. The next generations will be in charge soon enough and the whipper-snappers will soon find a way to describe that next batch of “out of touch” old folks.

The Prosecco Surge
I am not one to look down my nose at Prosecco, or any balanced sparkling wine from anywhere in the world for that matter. I love the bubblies.

But, I am wondering a bit about the surge in popularity for this class of effervescence because I don’t see how it deserves more attention than a well-made Cava from Spain or any number of sparkling wines from California. Yes, the California bubblies are from large and well-known wineries, but between us girls, you cannot get a better sparkling wine for the money than Gloria Ferrer or Roederer Brut or Scharffenberger Bruts—all retailing for near $20 and often found at less.

So let me make a pitch to the kind folk who gather here. Go enjoy a Prosecco, but don’t forget that there are great buys in the locally made product.

Beer Sommelier
Yes, Virginia, there is a beer sommelier somewhere in this land and she has proclaimed that beer is better with food than wine. Now, I love a good beer, and there are plenty of situations in which beer is my first choice—like out at the ball park or with spicy foods or at the end of long, hot day. What I don’t get is the need to diss wine as if it were the enemy. Lord knows that the wine industry does not think that way. There are even wineries that have their own beer dispensers.

By the way, before I became an old white guy, beer sommeliers used to be known as bartenders and publicans. When that mess of taps on the bar became confusing, who better to ask about the brews available directly from the keg than the barkeep?

* The Hosemaster of Wine -


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by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:7/10/2015 9:15:19 PM

Have to agree on the HoseMaster, but I'm sure you figured that, but that piece of steaming crap Steve wrote was one of the silliest and most eye-rolling piles of BS I've seen, well, since I read a recent piece on Snooth about replacing Rose with Orange Wines. Steve's take on sparkling wine, and Champagne specifically showed me nothing more than he doesn't know dick about Champagne. Horrid and clearly written from the vantage point of someone that drinks the KJ equivalent of he drinks the yellow (snow) water. You can get Grand Cru Champagne, that is shipped across the ocean for $40 retail, which I will point out is the same price as Schramsberg....

Random Responses
by Charlie Olken
Posted on:7/11/2015 1:54:06 AM

Hi Sam--

The Prosecco surge is nothing more than the Gruner surge and the Murcia surge and any number of next new things. Not to worry, good bubbles from small producers both here and in Champagne will hold their own.

As for The Hosemaster, he is a lot funnier in person than he gives himself credit for being. It is just a different kind of funny from what he writes in his blog.

by Samantha Dugan
Posted on:7/11/2015 11:11:05 AM

Oh trust me Sir Charles, I'm hardly worried. At our shop we had a record year in Champagne sales last year and that "trend" seems to be continuing this year as well. Of course we sell Prosecco but mostly for parties or people who just want something fizzy, not to people looking for good wine.....which is why that stupid comment about people buying Champagne not for quality because, "As we all know" Prosecco is equal and you buy Champagne for ego?! Shut up STEVE! Talking directly out of your ass. (Grumble)

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