Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Do YOU know Gary Vaynerchuk????

If you have, until now, avoided Gary Vaynerchuk, you must not be paying attention. Who is Gary Vaynerchuk? He is a wine expert....a nutty, and extremely knowledgeable, young wine expert. I haven't seen his CV, and I don't know his formal education but he's been drinking wine long before he was legal. His dad owned a liquor store in Springfield, NJ and Gary learned about wine from his Dad and from the sales guys, wine reps, winery owners and others who came to their store when Gary was cutting his teeth in the biz. He tasted 1st growth Bordeaux and Old Vine Zinfandels and Riojas and developed an amazingly accurate palate. There is some debate in the wine world where some people will claim that a palate is as individual as the person who is tasting. However, an accurate palate is one that can discern good from bad or complex from one-dimensional. An accurate palate also can discern wines it has tasted before and can identify wines already tasted. Gary Vaynerchuk has an accurate palate.

Anyway, back to Gary V. as he is known. Gary started buying the wines for Wine Library about 10 years or so ago, and he also started selling the wines and getting a reputation for his recommendations. He is the Director of Operations at the family shop, The Wine Library on Morris Ave. in Springfield, NJ. Being a man of not-so-many years, he is a technophile and wanted to expand his reach to customers across the country. How did he do it???? He and some friends started a video blog about wine called: Wine Library TV. http://www.tv.winelibrary.com/ In WLTV, Gary sets up in an in-house studio with some wines and he pours and tastes and gives his impressions. Gary's about 32 years old and has some great Gen-Y references and uses them sometimes to express himself and describe the wines he is drinking. His references will crack you up, as will his delivery. Gary is nuts, to put is simply. But he's a lovable lunkhead who has something to say and we listen to him because, he is usually.......DEAD ON. I listened to an episode of WLTV where he tasted four 94+ pt. cult wines (I had also tried three of the four he tried) and he hit the nail on the head, even taking a shot at the one who has more reputation than taste. He still carries the wine, he just doesn't agree with the "experts" all the time. He is also a burgeoning mass-media star, having gone mainstream with a memorable appearance on Conan O'brien's late night show this past August. Go to http://www.youtube.com/ and search for Gary Vaynerchuk and Conan and you will laugh your ass off! Gary's episodes of WLTV can be downloaded from the website, saved as podcasts on iTunes or watched online. Any way you get to see Gary V. do his thing, you will be more informed, more educated, perfectly entertained and more enthused about wine. He ends each podcast with the phrase, "Because YOU, with a little bit of ME, we're changing the wine world." His followers are called Vayniacs and they have their own T-shirts, wristbands and they throw around phrases like, "Oak Monster", "Bringin' the Thunder", "Old World vs. New World", "10 Bones, U.S." (which is a reference to the cost of a wine) and many, many, MANY NY Jets references as Gary is a HUGE J-E-T-S fan!

Do yourself a favor and get to http://www.tv.winelibrary.com/ and check out a few episodes. You will be hooked on Gary's enthusiasm and desire to change the wine world. His website HAS changed the wine industry. He makes available, each wine he tastes, as well as thousands in the warehouse and retail store on his website. Internet sales make up over 40% of his company's business, and that is a claim almost NONE of his competitors could have dreamed about in the past. Internet Sales for WINE??? How could people buy a bottle without looking at it, hefting it in the store to read the label and ask the salesperson about it, or read a shelf-talker??? Well, Gary's done it by an equal measure of salesmanship, hucksterism and solid, honest information. On WLTV, he'll tell you if a wine tastes bad and he won't be shy about it. He's changed the wine industry because he decided that snobby wine sommeliers and so-called "experts" and collectors...all not-so-affectionately referred to as WineSnobs, all thought they knew more about wine than some guy who loves to drink it and talk about it and tell his friends about it. He may have even inspired someone to decide to write a blog about wine, to share what he is drinking, what he is getting exposed to and learning and ......oh crap! I'm a Vanyniac!

Its true. I love the episodes. Can't wait to meet this guy and drink some wine with him. I've looked around at the recent industry events I've gone to...but to no avail. He wasn't there at Winebow, Not at Michael Skurnik, not even at T. Edward. He's elusive. He's on my computer, or traveling the world or even hosting some Vayniacs at a recent trip to Napa to sample some early releases and see the production side of the industry. You know where he's not???? He's not hanging in my bar at home, drinking some wines that BRING THE THUNDER with my loyal cadre of winos who taste blind with me and have a blast doing it. If it happens that Gary V. stops by here in Tinton Falls.....you, my friends, will be the 1st to know! Until then, check out the site and prepare to be educated and entertained.

Oh, by the way. His prices are: IN-SANE!!!! (A little 1980's marketing reference for ya Gary, cause you're not so far off!)

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