American Idol’s got nuthin’ on Murphy-Goode Winery. Why do people all over the country go ga-ga over this glorified camp talent show, when over in Sonoma, there is some serious career carrot being dangled? And drama building!

Indeed, the “Really Goode Job” has attracted nearly 200 video applications to date. The winner gets a 6-month stint as social media “whiz” for this really-fine winery; the job pays $10 grand a month plus a suh-weet pad in Healdsburg. {Judging from the looks of the web site, you may also get to wear a Viking-style hat.} By contrast, American “Idols” (and often runners-up) get a makeover, a recording contract, and they will never be able to walk into a 7-Eleven again without being recognized.

Now, The Wine Skewer has learned—from an unnamed, unreliable source in Northen California wine country—that the Really Goode Job campaign has attracted several off-line applications for the job, each tempting (and problematic) in a distinct way.

According to our unnamed, unreliable source, the first offer came via phone, from a person using a voice-disguising device while claiming to be @101points, the twitter identity of “Faux Robert Parker.” For those not tuned in to twitter, this anonymous but apparently RP-approved individual tweets sporadically on wine topics while using an avatar of the famous critic himself, no doubt leading unwitting twitter users to think he/she actually does represent RMPJr—“Faux” or no faux. Get it? The layered duplicity inherent in @101points’ twitter identity would play perfectly into M-G’s grand social-media plans, the garbled voice noted. All @101points would have to do would be to tweet about several of the M-G wines receiving “101point” RP scores, which would ensure case depletions faster than you can say “Facebook-twitter-tumblr-ning-myspace-etcetera-dotcom.”

Fortunately, according to the Skewer’s source, the Murphy-Goode reps rejected this proposal, noting quite astutely that social media demands transparency and authenticity. Given @101points’ transparent IN-authenticity, said scenario would be a surefire boneheaded move, perhaps provoking an unwanted blogger backlash against the brand. Besides, as any wine lover on twitter now knows, the “real” Robert Parker does not much like bloggers (referring to them as “blobbers”) and, sadly, engages in social media about as frequently as he accepts paid press trips.

The second off-line proposal directed toward Murphy-Goode apparently was also tied to a print media icon of sorts—Wine Enthusiast magazine. According to our unnamed, unreliable source—who nonetheless referred to a very real and authentic document—Murphy-Goode could save itself $60,000 by cancelling its social media contest immediately. Instead, Murphy-Goode could simply submit wines for review, either by West Coast editor Steve Heimoff or in a cozy nonblind sitdown at the magazine’s offices in Bedford Hills, NY. Following said reviews, which carry a greater than 75% chance of being rated 85 points or higher, Murphy-Goode would then be able to place editorial-looking label reproductions for those wines in the magazine’s Buying Guide. These labels—appearing alongside their respective rated reviews, with no reviewer’s initials and integrated seamlessly into the editorial run of the buying guide—would cost Murphy-Goode $995 for one, $895 each for two or $850 each for three (quite a savings compared to the $60K salary!).

But wait—there’s more! According to the very real and authentic document provided by our unnamed and unreliable source, Murphy-Goode could reach the social-media crowd with an added online presence for these esteemed rated reviews. To wit, for an additional $395 per wine, Wine Enthusiast would rotate the label on the magazine’s website homepage for one month as a “featured wine of the month” and then keep the label image indefinitely next to the rating and review in the electronic version of the buying guide with a hyperlink to back to the M-G website.

According to our mole, Murphy-Goode decided to pass on the Enthusiastic offer, too, upon realizing that this “deal” is actually available to every winery whose wines get reviewed for the magazine.

The third off-line proposal came from a very unlikely wine expert: Miss California (and Miss USA runner-up) Carrie Prejean. According to the Skewer’s unnamed and unreliable source, Ms. Prejean offered to have bottles of Murphy-Goode wine photographed adjacent to her surgically enhanced breasts. Surely the Sonoma winery would jump at the chance to be connected visually to two of California’s most famous mammary glands, with or without wet T-shirt.

Alas, Murphy-Goode apparently declined to accept this alleged proposal as well, perhaps based on the act that such a juxtaposition might garner lots of social-media buzz but would nonetheless violate Wine Institute’s standards for advertising, not to mention invite the wrath of hundreds of thousands of American wine lovers who took exception to Miss California’s controversial views on same-sex marriage.

Bottom line, it looks like Murphy-Goode will continue to plow ahead with its revolutionary job offer, which has already resulted in a bonanza of free publicity. If you are thinking of applying for the “Really Goode Job,” there’s still time. Deadline for applications is June 19, 2009.

Editorial note: As implied by the Skewer’s reliance on an unnamed and unreliable source, the above scenarios were concocted in the spirit of humor and are not true. However:

  • @101points is an actual twitter identity for an anonymous “Faux Robert Parker”
  • the pricing and conditions regarding label insertions in Wine Enthusiast, in print and online, are accurate, based on analysis of the magazine itself and on insertion-order forms provided to wineries
  • Carrie Prejean did confirm that she received breast implants, and they were paid for by the Miss California pageant.

It is also true, in my experience, that Murphy-Goode makes very goode wine, especially the Fumé Blanc and Zinfandels.