Friday, June 29, 2007

Why It Matters that GaryV Hit (the Big) Time

If you are reading this blog, then it should matter to you that Gary Vaynerchuk, the lovably irascible wine guru from my go-to east coast retail store Wine Library and its accompanying multi-media extravaganza Wine Library TV, has hit the big time. Literally. In a story in Time magazine (which I heard about today from Tom Wark on Fermentation in a cryptic headline and on the wine business wires) correspondent Joel Stein records how he was won over in spite of himself to Gary and his wine message. (image from Bottleblog)

For any internet wine site to be profiled in a major national news mag is, I think, truly significant. It shows that the news is out about how the web is changing the face of wine in this country--internet wine retail, internet wine blogs, wine podcasts, and wine TV. These forms of wine information exchange are revolutionizing how we buy, drink, and think about wine.

The fact that you are reading this is evidence of this transformation. But for all of the tens of thousands of visitors that have stopped by here in the past 6 months, my traffic is miniscule in comparison to WLTV. The enormous number of people who flock to WLTV every single day go to see Gary drink wine, tell you what he tastes (and what he doesn't) and give highly opinionated commentary throughout the process. And that's the important bit, folks: Gary is not into objectivity. He loves the Jets, he loves wine, and he loves telling you why. None of this namby-pamby standing at a distance from the glass and contemplating it. Does he like it? If so, believe me you know it. And boy, you know it when he is less than impressed, too. Stein contends that only on the web could Gary get away with analyzing wine this way. In five years, I bet there are a lot more places you'll be able to get away with it, given the phenomenal success of Gary's WLTV programming.

Everybody who matches WLTV regularly has their favorite episodes, proving that Gary's wine-drinking viewing base is just as opinionated as he is. I don't know whether mine is the episode where Gary scours the supermarket to find things to taste to help you develop your wine palate and vocab, or the decanting episode. The Wine Is Fun...Period show is also classic.

Regardless of your favorite episode (and if you don't have one yet what ARE you waiting for? click on one of these links and let the addiction begin), the important thing here is that Gary makes it ok to be passionately opinionated about wine. And judging by the numbers of his loyal fans, this is a message that folks find appealing and inspiring. You know how I feel about wine and objectivity--it's all smoke and mirrors. Congratulations, Gary, for blowing away the smoke and showing us that everybody gets to have an opinion about wine. And here's to generations of wine drinkers to come who, thanks to Wine Library TV, will not be elitist, snobby oenophiles but relaxed, open-minded, wine enthusiasts. (After meeting Gary, Joel Stein is even going to try to get his mom to try something other than Yellow Tail).


Anonymous said...

yes, we're living a 'revolution' into wine sector, basically in how to communicate wine. Many magazines already take the news from our blogs, it means we are first in giving good news

Dr. Debs said...

Dear vino24: I think you are absolutely correct in asserting that what wine bloggers and wine video-casters do that is so different from other forms of media is that they cover stories FIRST.