As some of you may know, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America is having its annual gathering in Las Vegas this week. This is where the distributor types come together for a series of meetings, tastings, back-room deals and good ol’ fashioned fun, Vegas style. Notable this year, of course, is the presence of Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker. Why Palin? Beats me because the whole organization is rather dude-heavy. But Mike Steinberger wrote an intelligent piece at Slate about the topic that’s worth a read.
Anyway, back to the point of this post. We here at Spume HQ, though we’ve never been to WSWA ourselves, have a plant at the convention. That’s right, we’ve embedded Cougar Beat our, erm, Vegas lifestyle correspondent. So, without further ado, we go to Cougar Beat’s live SMS dispatches from the conference:
(image via @microliquor)
And so it begins. Just watched a montage of white men in suits set to ‘Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night’. If you are a middle-aged white man, this conference is for you! Oh, and Craig Wolf [CEO of WSWA] is built like a barrel!
[Editor: I hate that stupid song. And now I really hate it.]
Oh my god, they are discussing scouting.
[Editor: As in Boy Scouts?]
(Aside: Cougar Beat snarls.)
The new chairman just explained that he is qualified for the job because he was an Eagle Scout. He actually put up a slide of Daniel Boone.
[Editor: The actor who played Daniel Boone (and Davy Crockett), Fess Parker, died last month. He also ran a notable winery in Santa Barbara.]
This guy definitely does not know that. But in Michigan, they are looking at using robots to pack bottles.
[Editor: When does Sarah Palin come on?]
Within the hour. I’m not in a good place for a photo, unfortunately. I hope she picks up on the scouting theme. Next up they award the Sidney Frank Award, named for Sidney Frank. Apparently, he was rich and charming.
Ahh!!! The award is a bust of his head! It looks like Joe Biden covered in Oatmeal, with a bow tie. And the award goes to… Jim Bareuther from Brown-Forman. Someone from the Sidney Frank camp sent a telegram to congratulate him. A telegram? Really?
They didn’t even give him the creepy bust. Here comes Palin!
Big hair, white jacket. And now a salute to the “beautiful people working so hard in Nevada.”
Heck yeah, I want to speak at this convention! Three bad wine puns in a row: “Going rosé”, “stand on a wine box (instead of a soap box)”, “in good spirits”.
Apparently Todd is in a snow race this weekend. Wow, this woman could have been president. Shudder.
[Editor: What is the crowd's reaction?]
She just made up a Ronald Reagan quote. And now she’s talking about the deficit, using “heck” a lot. If her commercial fishing business is in trouble, she’d fix it, not borrow money.
She is avoiding any sort of industry specific comments, but seems to be all about deregulation. In Wasilla, she fought regulations that would dictate whether barber poles could rotate.
“You don’t make friends when you make vetoes.” Looks like she wrote enology on her hand. She apparently had to practice that it is E-nology, not en-ology.
[Editor: That's hard for many people.]
I think she would make a fantastic elementary school principal.
Back to the speech. She just pointed out that in spirits, quality grapes produce quality wines. Does she know wine is not spirits?
“Think of cultured yeast as a mentor.” That was an attempt to link winemaking with the habits of successful people.
She keeps focusing on small business. An interesting choice, given the crowd. Oh, here comes energy policy. She wants nuclear power and offshore drilling, instead of giving money to “unstable regimes”.
[Editor: I want nuclear yeast!]
It’s like a mentor.
“The exceptionalism that is our country”. Speech is done, now the Q & A… Man, her eyebrows are totally overdone.
[Editor: Apparently the questions were pre-screened.]
She’s prepped. Getting to talk about health care and the Tea Party. And now a question from Craig Wolf: “Do you miss waitressing?” And now he’s asking her questions about her husband’s sporting activities. Huh? Asshat.
“I’m gonna give a shout out to President Bush for keeping the homeland safe.” And with that, it’s time for the last question: What is your perfect day? “Warm, running. Kids nearby. Bake something good.”
[Editor: What, no glass of wine?]
And it’s over. To… awkward applause.