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Hurricane Vaynerchuk: Cat 4 and strengthening


Disclosure: Gary Vaynerchuk is a nominee for Wine Enthusiast’s “Innovator of the Year” Wine Star Award. I hope he wins. If he does, I look forward to meeting him next Jan. 25 at our awards ceremony in New York.

If he is “a new media pioneer, showing how things can and will be done,” which is how Jancis Robinson described him in yesterday’s Pour blog in the New York Times, I wish him luck. I will be retired and living off fond memories when Gary takes over the world. So it’s not as if I feel threatened by his rise, or anointment, as the case may be.

I had lunch today (yesterday as you read this) with a Californian who was recently on Gary’s Wine Library TV show, and he told me that Gary told him he’s getting bored with WLTV, desperately longs to be as famous as Parker and is thinking of moving beyond wine into other areas. The winemaker added that he was a bit put off by Gary’s obvious ambition, but went along with it anyway. Hey, a chance to be on Gary’s hit show is not to be missed! The man moves product (although not nearly as much as a good review in Wine Enthusiast). I told the winemaker that I can understand the desire to be famous, but when it’s so obvious, it’s unseemly. (I have a problem with Gavin Newsom for the same reason.) Maybe it’s because I was raised in a different generation, where naked ambition was not flaunted, but hidden behind a veil of propriety. Perhaps my generation was hypocritical. I like to think it was tasteful.

A few weeks ago I blogged “Move over Perez Hilton, here comes Gary V.” in which I inferred, and implied, that Gary — now a certified celebrity himself — was moving closer to becoming a chronicler of other celebrities, a sort of Ryan Seacrest (who makes, what? $20 million a year). There’s a lot of cash to be earned, and Wine Library TV is probably too small a platform to really make the bigtime.

I found the most interesting part of Asimov’s Pour blog when he reported that Jancis “grimaced” at Gary’s wine descriptions when she tasted with him, which perhaps provides some insight into what she thought of his wine knowledge and understanding. Nonetheless, here Jancis is, overcoming her horror to praise him as the coming thing.

My problem with Gary, Wine Enthusiast’s nomination notwithstanding, is that he seems to be a pure product of our celebrity culture. Although he’s not particularly young and, as I understand it, losing his hairline (who am I to talk?), he could be the host of an MTV entertainment show, which is what I alluded to in my blog. His personality is perfectly suited to television and the video Internet: raucous, irreverent, hyper, funny, quick-witted, a little coarse, able to take a punch and come back with a stronger one. He’s not hard on the eyes. Think Seacrest, Craig Ferguson or even Conan O’Brien. These are celebrities who are famous because it pleases us to watch them, not because of anything they “know” or have to teach us. Gary V. is the Conan O’Brien of wine media these days.

“His persona is as much about marketing as it is about wine,” Asimov wrote, insightfully. Gary’s marketing blitz — so naked, so lustful — worries me a great deal, but I also admire it. Anybody who can come so far, so fast, basically on his own merits, has got to be deemed a great success, in the way we define success, American-style, as entrepreneurial skill, and a corresponding penchant for making money — in Gary’s case, a lot.

What causes me worry is the implication Gary’s meteoric rise has for the future of wine writing. In Jancis’s description — “showing how things can and will be done” — the operative word is can. Things can happen the way Gary has made them happen because our media culture increasingly is about entertainment, not content; about sizzle, not steak; about eccentricity, amusement, shock, bread and circuses. The media culture is endlessly manipulatable by those who understand how it works. That’s wino-tainment, folks! Just because something can be done doesn’t mean it should be done. But for me to complain about that is tinkling into the wind, meaningless, and it just blows back on me.

As a lover of fine wine writing and education, I really hope the high-end version of our craft doesn’t go away. I don’t think it will. I suspect Gary will go on to an amazing career in which wine is only tangential. I also suspect that fine wine writing will always attract people who get into it, not because they expect to earn a lot, but because of their passion, and the way wine writing lets you live a wine lifestyle without lots of money.

  1. I started getting into wine 2 years ago when I moved to Sonoma and WLTV made npr news around episode #200.

    I like how Gary has focused more on the entertainment and marketing part of wine than than the fine wine writing or wine lifestyle stuff.

    I wonder what my experience of discovering wine/wine country would have been like sans Vaynerchuk…

    Nice post!

  2. “bread and circuses” – indeed.
    We’ve been doing that dance for a few decades, though Steve.

  3. My favorite quote in the article came from Conan O’Brien when he hosted GV for one of his self promotional forays. “You’re an idiot” Mr. O’Brien exclaimed.

    Reactions to this hurricane force do tend to be generational, mostly, but also class and educational level based (I wonder what Gary majored in at Mount Ida College–tuition: $23,100 –not philosophy like you, Steve).

    Not unlike the Howard Stern phenomenon, Gary V. epitomizes what that male millennial demographic finds so appealing: a dismissal of authority and standards. Plus the “if he can do it, I can do it” ethos.

    Gary’s enthusiasm and pursuit of the brass ring can’t compensate for his crudeness and flat footedness. Some of us winced watching Jancis, an Oxbridge educated commentator, wince. While we all want wine to be consumed far and wide, when it becomes an enthusiasm it takes on an elitist caste, which is not to be confused with snobbism, unlike, say, fans of the New York Jets.

    Gary will find, of course, when he ventures out from the Wacky World of Wine that other worlds expect more of talent than just drive and responsiveness to one’s fans. He is to be commended, to be sure, for his command of social media, but his vanity TV show could never be picked up by a third party. Media, outside of “citizen journalism”, has an aversion to expressions like “douche bag.”

  4. Steve stunned by the comments of the winemaker, have never said or will that i want to be as famous as Parker, i am floored by these statements 🙁 I am vry ambitious and have other interests but I must have been so “off” for that winemaker, i am shocked and sad! I am FAR from bored with WLTV otherwise I would have dropped it the second it happened, I would love you to send along a note to the winemaker and ask him to call me so I can clarify 🙁 this is too bad and stinks 🙁

  5. Oh and I agree with you 10000% great content goes nowhere and you my friend are one of those great writers!

  6. tom merle I respect your thoughts and I really think if we meet and talked and you got to know me a tad better you might see some other things and hey I have done TV many many times with no Douchbag reference in site

  7. What I think we have here are opposing viewpoints where both parties (Steve and Gary) are correct, based on their particular POV.

    Steve, you don’t know what it’s like to immigrate from Belarus with nothing and to create something that is a very much the American dream.

    That ambition is the very essence of America.

    Likewise, I’m sure Gary can’t appreciate the fact that Steve lost his life savings to Bernie Madoff and has taken a speeding train to popularity as compared to your very long tenure in wine writing.

    Sounds like a glass of wine conversation so you can both get acquainted with each other.


  8. Gary- I have no doubt that my quickie midrash emphasized some aspects of your schtick and not others. Everyone who does meet you is struck by your sensitivity and warmth. Also, Conan’s comment really meant “idiotic”–that going outside the conventional mode of wine discourse struck him as questionable. But is it? Your success says otherwise. And by success I mean your evangelical capability of bringing the brewski dudes and the indifferent into the wine tent. No idiot could pull off this huge accomplishment. More like a genius. Degrees of refinement are not only irrelevant but work against the niche you are filling. Conformity would be counterproductive. You are part of that special community of mavericks and pariahs who refuse to become, in Max Weber’s phrase, “specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart.”

    With great admiration,


  9. Steve,

    I believe the Vaynerchuk phenomenon(a) goes hand in hand with another article you wrote a few days ago about “We are the people they love to hate…” Vaynerchuk is the everyman, dumbed down (no offense – I mean this in the “wine snobs are smart, everyone else is dumb” way), wine critic. He makes wine, which, really, heretofore has been untouchable, unattainable and unfathomable to all but a select few “wine people” or “wine snobs,” available to everyone. Anyone can understand his comments, his critiques, his descriptions. He is, effectively, the “anti-wine critic, critic.”

    And, he does play into the internet/American Idol/Goerge Bush vision of America – where anyone who likes wine, has to be “some rich guy” or “some wine snob” or “some know it all” who knows more than you and is, thus, suspect – in other words, you’re “edge-er-cated” and they ain’t. This goes hand in hand with the dumbing down of America – face it, as I unserstand it, more people voted for the American Idol winner than for President of the United States. America is in decline and all of the signs are there – Mr. Vaynerchuk is the least of these (your article on the potential decline of the dollar will attest to that) compared to our current Depression (disguised as a recession), unemployment, and polarized politics. America is like Rome when it was in collapse – Romans looked around, saw the chaos, and said “oh, it’s always been like this…” (And I was a Classics major, the US parallels Rome in a way no other society has since the fall of Rome.)

    So, not to put to serious a spin on it as I did above, but I think Mr. Vaynerchuk is doing a service to people who don’t know about wine and want to learn, he’s funny, entertaining, amusing, and yes, sometimes abrasive, but not nearly as much as a Howard Stern, or a Conan O’Brien. And, frankly, as one of those who has been accused of “wine snobbery” just because I know a lot about wine, I would much rather watch Gary and read his comments than the stuffy Jancis! His comments “equalize” wine and make it so everyone can understand it and it’s not so snobbish. I wish him well and hope he does become even more famous than Robert Parker. I don’t think he will ever become as famous as you Steve! and I think you will be going strong for years – your incisive and witty commentary will always be called for!


  10. That typing stuff is hard….

  11. The contradiction for me is that Gary is recognized as a king of social media, and yet most people I know find his social media persona to be rather off-putting. The numbers indicate that it works, without question. So I’m probably in the minority when it comes to feeling slightly off when he’s so aggressively and constantly selling. How can you not salute, at the very least, his rise to prominence and financial wealth? He wanted it and he’s getting it. As Gary says ad nauseum on Twitter, he’s hungry.

    I think people are probably making a bit too much of Jancis’ “wince.” She’s noted that Gary and her share at least some common taste for wine, and if you watch Gary for an extended period of time on his show, it’s clear that he’s not inventing descriptions out of thin air every day. I might not dig his style but I’m impressed by his palate. I can’t consider him a critic due to his job as a retailer, but it’s certainly fun to watch him react to a wide range of wines. He’s absolutely right to toot his own horn for being willing to do so every day in front of a large audience.

    The risk for me is that he’s becoming solely a business persona. He loves to announce on Twitter that he wants to know what YOU are doing right now, and that he CARES! But does he truly want to hear from 900k followers, or does he want them to think he does? And as a writer myself, I’m curious to see how his book turns out because Gary hails from the new media school of sloppy online writing. Now he’s cranking out ten books! I’ve been researching and working on my first book for 18 months, and my delivery date for the publisher isn’t until March.

    Bottom line is the bottom line, and we don’t all have to go about it his way. I couldn’t do it. And to Steve and Jancis’ point about whether Gary represents the future, I say not exactly: Gary is an outlier, which is exactly why he’s so successful. Few people can do what he does. That’s good for us and good for him. We’re going to see a lot of Gary for a long time to come, and viewed in the proper context (he’s a salesman!) he’s pretty damn easy to like. Cheers to Gary — and to here’s to media continuing to thrive with a variety of styles and personalities.

  12. Tom,

    I am saddened by your response. The fact that your critique of Gary’s validity and talent includes the price-tag of his tuition is appalling and strikes it from any debatable record. Your argument is no longer an intelligent one, and I’m afraid you’ve revealed yourself as a hateful and intimidated elitist.

    This is a battle you have lost, and it’s obvious you are just slinging mud to stay in the game. It’s only a matter of time before you publicly accept it, but I think deep in the back of your frightened mind you know that there is a movement away from “fine wine writing” in its purist form and towards a medium that makes it more accessible to a broader (in your terms, poorer) audience. Ms. Robinson said it herself.

    You amaze me.

  13. Something is wrong here. I am not an unrequited fan of the blogsophere, SMEDIA, Gary V or anything else in winedom, even my own words.

    So, perhaps that is why I find it irrational to attack Gary V. There is no correct way to like wine, to write about wine, to judge anything by Jancis’ reaction, even when I tell you that I find her to be the most important single voice in the wine world.

    She is just one voice. So is Gary V. Conan O’Brien is probably right. Gary is probably an idiot. He’s the wine idiot who is laughing all the way to the bank.

    Content goes nowhere for Gary, he says, yet he does pay attention, and no matter how you slice, or how he presents it, there is content at the heart of what he does. To suggest otherwise is to miss the point entirely.

    His content is not my content, thank you very much to whatever force has made that possible. But, if thousands of people like his content, or like oaky Chardonnays, who the heck are we to say thay are wrong.

  14. Hang on a minute. Nobody comment. I’ll be right back. I need to get a soda and some popcorn.

    Okay, go ahead.

  15. Gary…ignore Tom Merle. He’s not worth your time.

  16. Larry Chandler says:

    Years ago when Gary was advertising on local cable TV with fellow Wine Librarians, he was clowning around with them, and I thought “Who would buy cases of Bordeaux from him?”

    It took me a while to realize he wasn’t interested in selling cases of Bordeaux to the established wine crowd. He wanted to make wine fun and get people to not feel intimidated by “serious” wine people.

    Now he’s famous for it. He can sell wine, perhaps to many people who never drank wine before. That’s a good thing. He’s not taking over the world, and probably doesn’t have the influence that RP has had in the past, but even if he does, so what?

    Whatever style of wine someone likes, there will always be more of it than he or she is capable of drinking.

  17. Charlie Olken thnx for your thoughts BUT WHO in the world likes Oaky Chard’s 🙂 I hope we cross paths as your comment strikes me in a way that I think we could be good friends 🙂

  18. Thnx Larry and when I did that commercial I was coming off selling 9 million dollars worth of 2000 Bordeaux futures 🙂 and 😉

  19. Evan that is one epic post! I really hope I get a chance to meet you! I am ecited to meet peeps because yes I am a salesman but YES I love and know a thing or 2 about wine and the latter is always fun to show, especially when people “get it” I have seen your Stuff Ev and you are really good! Stay well!

  20. Oh and by the way Steve ANYONE in the world who has meet me would know “desperately longs to be as famous as Parker ” is something I NEVER EVER would say …..even if it was true, I think this winemaker was feeding you something he THOUGHT you might want to hear.

  21. Seriously Merle, you did not just look down your nose at the tuition cost of a college to denigrate a person’s education and class, did you? Such bad form for someone who worked briefly as an administrator in a tiny little college with an enrollment the size of a middle school.

    I’m not a big follower of Gary’s WLTV but he seems like a nice enough guy in person. He’s a great speaker and I admire his positive attitude, love of life, and enthusiasm for what is obviously his calling: entertainment.

    And you trash the guy for being a pro-football fan? Good Lord man, did you get beat up as a kid by athletes or do you just like putting down other people for fun?

    “Class” is as class does. And if not for “dismissal of authority and standards” there would be no innovation. Perhaps you should go back and finish that Ph.D. at Berkley, and take a few classes on manners while you’re at it. Or you’ll end up a lonely old mean-spirited crank.

  22. I’m torn between two schools of thought here, my mother’s which was “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” and Arnold Epstein’s (from Biloxi Blues) “You’re a witness. You’re always standing around watching what’s happening, scribbling in your book what other people do. You have to get in the middle of it. You have to take sides. Make a contribution to the fight. Any fight. The one you believe in.”
    I believe a balance between the two is the path I’ve chosen, but it seems as though Mr Merle has gone off the scales on the latter. I’ve seen the spew of hate and negativism from the OWC to the comments above and pretty much any and everywhere in between; its getting old. In regards to your knock on Gary’s scholastic achievements, I find it interesting that you not only did some inside investigation as to where he attended, but also the cost the cost of his tuition. Bill Gates didn’t even make it through college, he seems to be doing ok.
    And as to your comment Steve, “the high end version of our craft”?? A bit snooty don’t you think? I see that you have an impressive academic background and a resume to match, but does that mean that those that don’t shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy wine?
    Not sure why this left such a sour taste in my mouth… Maybe it’s because I had the pleasure of spending a day with Gary last year and in our ride back from the airport I found that indeed, there is nothing but passion and and a love for life running through his veins. He loves what he does, I think its pretty self evident, and I doubt he’ll ever find himself doing something that “bores” him. Mr. Merle, maybe you should find something that you love to do, I believe you attitude may change.

  23. I think Gary knows that I am not a lover of the method but I certainly applaud the messenger. Anyone who can compete with geekdom’s hold on wine is a friend of mine.

    I wanted to work with Gary on a project, but things didn’t turn out right. Maybe now that I have his attention, if he’s still reading the posts, he can shoot me an email and we can talk about why it happened.

    In any event, I wish the following Tom Merle quote were true: “…that other worlds expect more of talent than just drive and responsiveness to one’s fans.”

    Fact is, American culture is not exactly intellectual and reaching celebrity is not exactly talent driven, unless you count the talent to reach and touch your audience, which I believe is all that Gary has ever claimed he does, and so, because he does it well, he is forced to duck the arrows.

  24. By now you’ve read my second post.

    But I’m not getting the problem with the tuition. All private schools cost this much. The average is over $25,000. I was making the point that Gary was fortunate to take advantage of a school that offers more individual attention. Clearly it paid off.


  25. Let’s drop the snobbery. Gary is spreading the gospel of wine to bigger audiences than anybody before him. It’s a good thing for our business. If you like his delivery, then great. If not, there are other outlets you can go to get your wine info. If wine is your thing, then I would think you’d like to hear all the stories from as many sources as possible.

  26. It should probably also be pointed out that Gary’s main message in his new book and in his speeches is, primarily, to work your ass off. Anyone spreading that kind of message deserves applause. He also urges people to innovate, think ahead, seek out new ways to do things. Easier said than done, but an important message as well. And for every person put off by his delivery, there’s going to be someone (or several people) moved to do more, to “hustle,” and even — dare I say — to crush it.

  27. It is true that I can be an ungracious crank (unlike Gary, who is always gracious). And I might well be an embitted old man, watching the barbarians storm the gate. But except for these occasional outbursts, I do try to advance a POV on the topics under discussion. I believe I did this on OWC, even if I think it isn’t a wine industry association and needs TLC from its founder.

    It’s best if you follow Lenn’s advice.



  28. methinks steve is glad for Tom Merle on this thread because there is much in his post to pick apart were it not for Tom stealing the scene.

  29. Tom Merle Said:

    “Gary will find, of course, when he ventures out from the Wacky World of Wine that other worlds expect more of talent than just drive and responsiveness to one’s fans.”

    Gary is a bit more than drive and responsiveness to his fans. Gary has a very keen understanding of basic human drives and he has successfully married that rare kind of insight with his own entrepreneurial talents and interests. This is no small feat and strikes me as exactly what would be necessary were he to venture into a larger television venue.

  30. Gary Vaynerchuk is to wine what Guy Fieri is to food.

  31. Ok, so it looks like Gary has some supporters, but I do have one critique… bit of overkill on the 🙂 🙁 😉 etc… 🙂

  32. Larry Chandler says:

    So Gary, I got that Bordeaux thingie wrong too, huh? 🙂 Oh, well, maybe I should just go back to what I do best…staying asleep.

  33. U know what rules about what we all do? We should so do a dinner with only people in this post and do it double blind 🙂 Wine is a pretty cool space and I am proud to be a part of it and am flattered and respectful of both points of view here! THANK YOU for caring about me or wine enough to be a part of this debate 🙂

  34. Michael Greenlee says:

    It is funny, once the lion get close to the top of the mountain, all the other cubs set thier sites on systematically knocking him off. Gary has been and is a great friend. When he started in the wine business, he was utterly focused, dedicated, and clearly driven. the reason Gary can be so confidently kookie and irreverant is because he is so incredibly learned and competent. The reality is that people, particularly young people which make up the bulk of Gary’s “Vayniacs”, AND who are going to be drinking wine and watching WLTV for decades to come, are bored with the current wine press perspective on wine, and as Eric asserted, tired of being talked to, instead of talked with. Face it, we all think the way Gary talks, just most of us are too short on confidence to actually say what he says. I look forward to gary publishing the “New” Wine Thesarus, where words like “fresh deer meat” and “stinky gym socks” take the place of “gobs and gobs of jammy fruit” or “hints ofMelon and Kiwi Fruit”. Wine is about the experience, the people who make it and the way it tastes to you, not the way someone tells you its supposed to taste. Kudos to Gary for Keeping it real, and kudos to Eric for calling him out to the dance!

  35. I’ve known Gary V from the time he came back to the store on weekends from college to ring the cash register through his meteoric rise to the top of the wine world (and beyond), bringing along with him tens of thousands of young people into the fold of wine lovers.

    Sounds like Steve had already made his mind up about Gary long before the lunch with the winemaker, saying “move over Perez Hilton” and was looking for fodder wherever he could find it.

    There is no one in the world, (i would have said this country, but the wine market is global as we all know) who has done more to interest the internet generation, the under 40 crowd, the wine buyer of the future, into drinking wine! This IS how they communicate. I don’t know why it offends the “old guard” but it’s silly to sit on your high horse while tens of thousands of new consumers are discovering wine in a fashion they enjoy.

    Perhaps the wine writer’s inability to connect with the next generation lead to his visceral attack on Gary. Hard to tell. I don’t know the guy.

    I do know that Gary has made consumers say the word “albarino” out loud, in public, and talk about the wine! That’s exciting. That’s fun! That’s opening people up to an enormously diverse wine market!

    The age of pendantic wine-speak where only 1 voice is heard is long gone.

    Gary’s main strength is that he asks everyone to taste for themselves, and find out what they like! Novel concept!



  36. ” I don’t know why it offends the “old guard” but it’s silly to sit on your high horse while tens of thousands of new consumers are discovering wine in a fashion they enjoy. ”

    It was not the “old guard” that is offended. It is a guy who thinks that there ought to be a bit of respect shown in the midst of showmanship.

    By my standards, Steve is still a newcomer. I am “old guard”. And I am neither offended by Gary nor amused by your blatant generalization. This was a discussion of style. On that point, Mr. V. leaves plenty of room for examination. Steve questions his style. I accept it for what it is.

    That is what horse races, wine tastings, clothing preferences are all about.

  37. This is like watching a tennis match using hand grenades instead of yellow balls. Hysterical!

  38. To get to the top of any field, someone is going to take some shots at you. Has everyone always agreed with Steve’s reviews? Parkers reviews? No they have not! And some won’t agree with Gary and that is fine. But the truth is, Gary has brought new folks into wine, and in my opinion, that can’t be bad! Wine shouldn’t be about how much money you have! Or what brand you drink. Drink what you like and learn from others what they like. Share, talk about and enjoy each others company.

    When I talk to people about the best wine they have had recently or ever. I often hear about the people they were with or the place they were, long before they get to the name brand or why they liked it. It’s the stores, places and people that make wine what it is. And as we all know Gary tells some great stories and I am sure his story is not over! Good luck Gary, I for one will be watching and cheering you on!

  39. To the general public, Gary is clearly a great communicator. To the wine trade he is obviously provocative. What has not been mentioned here is Gary’s dirty little secret…

    WLTV is for entertainment, but his email blasts butter his bread, and if you get those daily feeds you will see that and he does so not by being GV but by formulaically pumping RP and WS ratings in his daily email blasts.

    My prediction is that Gary will never gain a full measure of respect in the wine press and trade until he stops using RP and WS as his crutches and develops his own authority as a palate without other people’s ratings. Then his passion will have more meaning for those who care about wine.

  40. It’s clear that the Vayner-way has been attractive at a glance. Unfortunately, the post-post-contemporary age of media carries both edges of the speed sword. In the words of Kris Kristof. – “the old keep getting older, and the young will do the same.” Language on the sale floor becomes style and Gary has tons more creative notes than WS or RP. I’ll pull for the Vayner-way in any arena, but the future is probably not up for a vote

  41. The most important is that we keep our wine industry vibrant and interesting. Gary is doing a great job doing just that. We can all argue about his style, knowledge, hair line, etc… but really that’s boring. what we need is to keep showing that wine can transform your appreciation for food and life and will make you smarter!

    Go Steve, Go Gary, Go Wine

  42. Well Gary is well deserving I feel. He has a style and people do tend to forget that his show is directly connected to wine library the store. He is talking to His consumers. Critic? Ummmm i dont consider him that (opinionated and entertaining…yeah). He constantly mentions score from others and then agrres or disagrees with his own score. He must use other scores because he is part of a retail store… why not use them consumers love them and Gary will tell you.

    I have taught all my employees to do the same in the store. See the problem here is that people (writers or wine people) forget he is part of a store… You have to live that business to understand. Gary is moving wine plain and simple and communication is how you do it, internet or not !!!!

    So everyone give each other a big hug and just ride the wave I say and stop thinking Gary is “Changing the wine world”… It’s a tag line folks. What he is doing is opening the business to those who were affraid or did or dont understand it. What is wrong with that?

    Dont worry wine writers there is still room for you and whole bunch of other formats of getting info out. Gary appeals to some and not others. DO something creative yourself if you like but be “consistent” and “persistant” i say and stop complaining about others.

    Enjoy the day and Keep Smiling !

    Keith Miller

  43. Not all are as famous as Gary, but some are more clever. Check out Kudos to all who have time to educate us about wine!

  44. Great debate. I read the piece in the Times first thing yesterday morning, thought about blogging it then resisted. Glad I did. This was much better…

  45. Steve – I’m surprised no one was talking about “wine writing lets you live a wine lifestyle without lots of money” – not sure I understood what the wine lifestyle is, actually.

    Gary – you’re always gonna be a target because your’e successful and in the public eye. Since you can’t change your DNA (which is all about gumption), then the only debate is really whether or not people dig you. Your poor, poor taste in football teams not withstanding.


  46. Dude, “the wine lifestyle” to me means: drinking (actually, critically tasting) lots of wine you otherwise wouldn’t have — hanging out with winemakers, growers, owners etc. and learning from them about their issues — having the luxury to understand the business aspects of marketing, PR, brand-building etc. which for me is very interesting — being able to travel to wine regions — and having the time to read and study about wine, which is part of the job. The “lifestyle” is not, repeat not, about endless meals, cocktail parties in summer whites on the lawns of Meadowood, stretch limos, bidding huge sums at charity auctions, hitting the runway at Fashion Week, playing croquet at Sonoma-Cutrer or riding Rachel Alexandra through the Kentucky woods!

  47. well-put, Steve – in that case, put me squarely into the wine-lifestyle column, my man!

  48. Welcome, dude. Bring your thick skin.

  49. Steve I think we all agree with you, who in our industry does the later? The “lifestyle” is not, repeat not, about endless meals, cocktail parties in summer whites on the lawns of Meadowood, stretch limos, bidding huge sums at charity auctions, hitting the runway at Fashion Week, playing croquet at Sonoma-Cutrer or riding Rachel Alexandra through the Kentucky woods! I for one have never done any of these….

  50. Gary, let me know if you want to do any of that stuff. I have connections…

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