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DREGS REPORT: The Day The Wine World Stood Still, At Least That’s What They Tell Me…


So…I was hanging at the Boston Wine School on Tuesday night for the Boston Mutineer Launch Party (blog about that forthcoming…), and apparently not being in-the-know about the “Dregs Report” is the wine media equivalent of spending prom night at home, alone, with cats. This was first made clear to me by wine writer Dale Cruse, who dropped by the event to get his back issues of Mutineer Magazine signed by yours truly. Cruse is kind of like the East Coast equivalent of Steve Heimoff, except he is credible, personable, and hasn’t written any books (that I know of).

Anyways…he asked me about the Dregs Report, and I had no idea what he was talking about. A couple of eavesdroppers joined in the convo, and soon I had a rabid swarm of wine vultures surrounding me, quizzing me about this “Dregs Report”.

What is this strange report? Best I can tell, its everything you knew about wine, you just didn’t know that you knew it yet… if that makes sense.

From the Dregs Report: Dregs Report is a collaborative celebration of April Fools Day wine-style, by 40 bloggers and writers. Most of us have never met; the lion’s share twitter; and we all know our way around an email box. This project was also completed without a single conference call, let alone meeting. It’s a labor of love, in the name of laughter. Most important of all, we know our way around a bottle or two of wine. Wine’s the glue, and for the next two weeks we’ll be using this site to stick it to the wine scene. (With all due respect, of course, to Matt Drudge, the world’s premier wine writer, whose site, Drudge Report we mimic here.) Click, read/watch, laugh, enjoy, repeat! And please share with like-minded wine-loving friends and colleagues.

“Dregs Exclusives” [except where noted] were written by W. R. Tish (Wine For All); graphics by Katie Pizzuto (Gonzo Gastronomy); coding by Dale Cruse (Drinks Are On Me).

Some of the top headlines from the report with excerpts from the stories:

Behind the Silver-Plated Curtain: Secrets of Wine Enthusiast’s “Starfish” Awards
“In typical self-inflating fashion, Wine Enthusiast magazine has established an annual tradition of trying to muster a modicum of attention to its so-called Wine Star Awards, which were first foisted upon the world back in 2001. Alas, the efforts have proven both vain and in vain. For the most part, wine-industry players play along with the awards, dutifully purchasing tickets by the table, donning black-tie regalia and shlepping into Manhattan on a busy Monday night in January to schmooze with peers and pay respects to the cast of characters responsible for handing out the silver-plated trophies. The glittering evening is then written up exuberantly and posted online, where it goes practically unnoticed, despite editors flaunting their disregard for U.S. trademark law by referring to the soirée as “the Academy Awards” of the wine industry.”

Haha, Wine Enthusiast is almost a cool magazine…but then there is the fact that it isn’t, and that Steve Heimoff is one of their editors, and the rest just kind of takes care of itself.

Turning Tables? Real Restaurant Wins Fictitious Spectator Wine List Award
“The wine world shook with laughter in 2008 when Osteria L’Intrepido, a fictitious restaurant in Italy, earned an “Award of Excellence” in Wine Spectator’s Annual Dining Issue. The revelation that the magazine had been punked became ribald fodder for bloggers, and rippled into the mainstream media as well.

Now, Wine Spectator finds itself in a pickle of a different sort: world-renowned Manhattan restaurant Daniel has announced that it is rejecting the magazine’s “Award of Allegiance.” This may prove tricky, as Wine Spectator denies ever bestowing it in the first place. Owner and Executive Chef Daniel Boulud, sweating over a hot stove, took a moment away from his béchamel to speak to Dregs Report when we came calling. He promptly marched us out to the lobby and pointed a buttery finger to a rather large plaque—4 feet by 6 feet—which had just been removed from the wall. “Look there,” he said. “It reads, ‘To Restaurant Daniel, for years of uninterrupted financial support of our lucrative, bloated wine-list awards program.’ I need this plaque like I need e coli.”

Haha x2! It’s hard to say who is lamer…Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast. I guess at least when Wine Spectator is making stuff up, some one is benefiting with an award…that they paid for.

Bottle Shock Too? Sequel to Controversial Move in the Works; Screenwriter Breaks Out the Whoop-Ass!
“The success of the 2008 indie film Bottle Shock laid bare an apparent divide between the sensibilities of filmmakers and the (over)sensitivity of winemakers.

Rex Reed gave Bottle Shock four stars. Hollywood.com compared it to Sideways and Little Miss Sunshine. Rolling Stone called it “hugely entertaining.” Didn’t matter much to those staunchly territorial Napans. The film, based on the famous 1976 blind tasting in which Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena and Stag’s Leap Winery bested French competitors in Paris—met with dismissive criticism from Napa’s old guard, who failed to “get” the simple fact that adjusting history for pure entertainment is a classic means toward the end of cinematic entertainment.

Napa denizens—most of whom never actually watched Bottle Shock—pooh-poohed the film’s massaging of factual details, the surprising (even sexual) plot twists, the overt if charming buffonery of Alan Rickman’s Steven Spurrier, the virtual disappearance of Montelena winemaker Mike Grgich, and just about everything else from the opening montage through the final credits.”

If you’ve been reading Mutineer for some time, you know how we all feel about Bottle Shock…RUBBISH. Enough said…

Laube Gets His Day in Court-and is Ruled ‘Irrelevant’
“Emergency crews are on full alert today throughout Northern California after great cracks appeared in the earth’s crust and hot rocks fell from the sky on Main Street in St. Helena. Wine Country tourists feared a precursor to California’s long-awaited Big One, but local residents remain sanguine.

“Laube must be tasting Cabernets,” is one explanation heard along the lunch counters and winebars of this otherwise quietly fashionable enclave. “Happens every time. He usually tells us when, and we all go to Calistoga for the day.” Long-time locals know some of the details. “It goes way back. Jesus made a wine that Jim tagged ‘uninspired.’ Pissed the family off, big-time.”

Haha x 1,000,000. Word on the street is that Laube is going to start appearing in Trojan commercials…


  1. Dale Cruse | Friday, April 17, 2009

    Told ya you were out of touch in the wine world.

    Thanks for flying to Boston just to meet me.

  2. Katie | Friday, April 17, 2009

    What kind of journalist are you? Greatest wine coup of all time and you sleep through it?!? And it was my birthday no less! :-)

  3. Terry Christiani | Friday, April 17, 2009

    You were honest enough to say you didn’t know when you didn’t know! That is so much cooler than the rest of the schmucks who try to bluff their way through. Must be one of the reasons I like you guys! Cheers!

  4. tish | Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Better late to the party than never!
    ANd you are right about one thing: it is hard to say who’s lamer: Wine Enth or Wine Spec. I worked at WE for 10 years and got kicked off the WS forums for challenging James Laube on the mag’s ignorant apporach to high alcohol reds, and I think it’s pretty much a tossup.

    I am also now a happy subescriber to Mutineer.

  5. Alan Kropf | Saturday, April 18, 2009

    Yes! Laube needs to become a character on SNL.

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