Gary Vaynerchuk - The Robert Parker of the Internet Generation

05/13/2008 00:01

Gary Vaynerchuk has revolutionized the world of wine reviews and along with it, personal brand building. As his bio notes, Gary is a "social media sommelier."  His descriptions of the wines he tastes on his video website, Wine Library TV match well with the Got Tannins mantra of "taking the intimidation out of wine," as Gary is apt to describe the smell of a wine as "an old baseball glove" rather than "boysenberry overtones."

Gary was awesome enough to share some time with us and do a phone interview for our readers, providing his insight into the world of wine. Gary, who is from Jersey and is a huge Jets fan, was driving around San Francisco on his way to lunch with Kevin Rose (of Digg fame) and then to dinner with Mark Zuckerberg (of Facebook fame). Between that and TV appearances on the Big Idea, Conan, and MadMoney, we say, Tough Life!  :-)

We at Got Tannins encourage you to go out and support Gary's new book - 101 Wines Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight, and Bring Thunder to Your World.



What was the first memory you have of wine?

My first memory of wine is Manischewitz wine at a passover dinner when I was 13 years old.

What was the first wine that you considered to be good wine?

Before I even truly liked wine I had already taking the family business from $3m (1997) to $10m. I was obnoxiously booksmart. The first "good" wine was an Amarone.

Do you think it's the taste of a good wine or the experience while drinking the wine that makes it good?  Why?

Easiest question ever!  its totally about the people you share it with. Sometimes its mindset, the day; the emotions you go into it with.

How big is your cellar?

A bit tough to answer given my business. My cellar is really tied into inventory of Wine Library. 


What is your favorite varietal (i.e. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot)? Why?

At this specific moment Cab Franc from the Loire Valley.

What is your favorite region for wine (i.e. Napa Valley, Margaret River, Montelcino)

I tend not to fall in love with any specific region, I like trying and experiencing new things.

What is your favorite vineyard or brand?

Don't have one favorite vineyard or brand.

Do you have a favorite bottle? (varietal, region, year)

1994 Bryant Family Cab. 1st birthday in New Jersey after I finished college at a family dinner (I went to Mt. Ida )


What wine are you saving for a special day?

Cases of birth year wine.

Have you ever had an organic wine?  Did you like it?

Yes, I think everybody has, but don't realize it. Lots of wineries don't publize it. They will all start now. Perception in industry was organic wines were not good. On the flipside, organic or sustainable wines will be the norm within a decade.

What is the most you've ever spent on a bottle of wine?

$700-$800 range, for older Burgundy's at Cru in NY, great wine restaurant.

What was your favorite wine experience (or one of your top experiences)?

The impromptu flash SXSW wine party (2008) at the Marriott that everyone found out about via Twitter.


What one wine do you recommend for our readers to try?

A wine that is a varietal that they've never had before. Period. That my friend is how people will get into wine and learn about wine. 

It's almost summertime, what's your take on Rose?

I like rose, but am more of a fan of white crisp white wines.


What is an up-and-coming wine (or winery) you think is a good value right now?

Douro region in Portugal is where its at. Classic varietals, portuguese indigenous grapes. 

Did we miss anything?

Getting into wine is easier and better than ever before. Most importantly, people need to try different things. Too many people find a specific grape and have too much of it, for example, pinot noir, what they should be doing is trying as many varietals as they can.


You can follow Gary Vaynerchuk at Twitter - Garyvee

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