The 2011 Vintners Hall of Fame ballot has been released, and it is certain to make a lot of people unhappy. And that's not because there are no women among the 22 nominees, or that one of the nominees is controversial farm labor leader Cesar Chavez.
It's because two of the nominees are Two Buck Chuck inventor Fred Franzia, the man Napa loves to hate, and wine writer Robert Parker, the most important person in the wine industry. And the Wine Curmudgeon will predict now that Franzia -- despite how much he is disliked -- will get in and Parker won't. And how much of a stink will that be? More, after the jump:
So I was stunned when Parker didn't get in. Apparently, there were a lot of voters (who include wine industry professionals like winemakers, writers, and marketing types) who don't like him. A friend of mine, who also gets to vote and is much more connected to the California industry than I am, said he would make the same bet: that Franzia gets in in 2011 and Parker doesn't.
This is amazing. The vitriol directed Franzia's way is hard to believe, while Parker is deified -- in public anyway. On the one hand, Halls of Fame for everything except baseball are kind of silly -- Madonna in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? But it is a measure of talent and influence, no matter how inexact, and that Parker isn't in says a lot about his reputation among the those wine industry professionals who vote.
One other interesting note: Twice in the last three years, a single vote made the difference between who got in, and who didn't. Last year, the margin was twice as big -- two votes. I wonder how much of that was about Parker.