Gonzo Winespeak


Hunter S. Thompson would have made an excellent wine pundit. As Rolling Stone editor Jann Wenner recalls in Gonzo (Sphere, 2007) “his experience throughout most of his life was that convocations of experts were concentrations of bullshit.” What a pity he is no longer around to crash WineCreator, “the first international symposium to host the 12 most influential enologists in the world and [sic] who will be revealing the secrets of their own wines at the meeting that will also include the wine world’s top critics and journalists” to be held in Ronda, Spain in April. Fear and Loathing in Ronda could have been a Gonzo gem.

hst Gonzo Winespeak

HST certainly drank enough. As actress Angelica Huston remembers “Hunter could go from bourbon to crème de menthe and back to fruity tropical drinks like that, or he’d order these horrible sticky drinks – Bailey’s Cream with a little champagne.” Which suggests a wonderful HST cocktail for Distell – Amarula with Pongracz.

The term Gonzo comes from Cajun slang and describes a style of unhinged playing in the French Quarter jazz scene of New Orleans. It is a no-holds-barred approach to reportage in which the personal experiences of the reporter are paramount. Gonzo is widely mimicked in rock fanzines and recently defunct WineX magazine were pioneers of Gonzo Winespeak.

The best exponent in SA is Christian (Xtian) Eedes, recently unveiled as the new editor of WINE magazine which dad Harold publishes. His weekly Gulp! newsletter supplies many examples of Gonzo Winespeak, with the current one a classic with “wild yeast fermentations” conflated with “the Kama Sutra, doing it doggy style” and an embracing of “old flames and new ideas. Bedroom eyes and blowjob lips.” With more redesigns than Zaza Gabor, perhaps another incarnation of WINE as Gonzo Gulp! will attract a new generation of winos and send circulation soaring into the stratosphere.