My post the other day caused at least a mini-stir in the local wine industry. Several people intimately involved in it emailed me privately about it rather than commenting on the site. So, I can't (and won't) mention any names or quote anyone directly--but Howard is definitely a man with a reputation on the East End.
Some came out and said that Howard just plays favorites. Some joked that certain wineries must "have something" on him. Another said that it appears that Howard has favorites because he's ticked off so many out here that only a handful still send him samples.
I have never met Mr. Goldberg so I can't speak from personal experience. This is just what I'm hearing and have heard.