I sat in on a seminar Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV put on at the Boston Wine Expo last weekend. Some folks are put off by Gary’s “in your face” style, but once you get past the personality quirks, his message is definitely on point:

–Wine is “broken” in America
–People want to try and buy new stuff…new varietals from different countries
–Ignore the pretentiousness of wine, and go with what you smell, taste and like…don’t let someone dictate your tastes…or vocabulary…to you.

I particularly liked the way he drives that message home not with a lecture but by his actions. After pouring the wine he tells his audience to give it a “sniffy sniff”. He’s not trying to be cute; it’s his way of saying, “Hey, let’s not take this too seriously.” Then “Give it a Whirl” means ” Go ahead and taste it.” but once again with the implicit caveat that it’s just a glass of wine, not the coming of the Messiah.

And oh yes, he’s got biases…just like the rest of us. He’s against “Fruit Bombs” and the “Oak Monster” but definitely a proponent for emerging varietals and countries such as Portugal, Greece, Chile and Austria. I particularly liked the way he got Jancis Robinson to validate his pursuit of unpreteniousness in Episode#568 where he tasted an Assyrtiko from Santorini along with two other wines.

Botton line for those of you in the business…Gary’s arguably a more important influencer than Robert Parker, and most certainly among the “millennials” who are just now discovering wine as part of their adult lives. He speaks to them in their language. Are you doing the same?