A wine guru for the YouTube era.

Wine, beer, and other potent potables.
Aug. 1 2007 6:41 PM

Watch Me Drink!

A wine guru for the YouTube era.

(Continued from Page 1)

The show has not enjoyed unqualified acclaim. It is often noted that Vaynerchuk is working both sides of the checkout counter, reviewing wines that he happens to sell. But as he points out, he trashes a lot of those wines. In fact, he claims that WLTV has hurt his business more than it has helped; I doubt that, but I don't think the conflict-of-interest charge has much merit. A more valid criticism is that he talks out both sides of his cabernet-stained mouth. In the New York interview, he said he wanted consumers to stop relying on expert opinion and to start trusting their own palates. But when he introduces a wine on the show, he invariably cites the score it received from Robert Parker, Steve Tanzer, or Wine Spectator. And, of course, if he sincerely wanted to wean wine drinkers of their reliance on critics, he would start by removing Parker, Tanzer, and Spectator scores from his own store. Yet the Wine Library peddles ratings with gusto. Vaynerchuk readily acknowledges the hypocrisy: "I know we're part of the problem," he said. But he went on to explain that he has to separate his feelings from his interests: As much as he wishes it were otherwise, the public insists on using scores, and as a businessman, he has no choice but to yield to the market.

I suspect he was just telling me what he figured I wanted to hear. But I'm OK with the hypocrisy because a) he is a mensch; b) if I were a wine retailer, I'd probably do the same thing; and c) his show is brilliant. Behind all the gags, Vaynerchuk is conveying the essential truth about wine: It is an immensely rewarding hobby, but it is also a complicated one, and there is no quick-and-dirty method of mastering it. His singular genius is to have found a way, employing modern technology and a pop-culture sensibility, to give wine a more accessible sheen while actually presenting it in all its daunting intricacy.


When I made this point to Vaynerchuk, he heaved a dramatic sigh and said, "Thank you—you get it." Here, too, I suspect he was probably telling me what he thought I wanted to hear (he's nothing if not eager to please); he certainly gave no indication that he plans to drop the revolutionary rhetoric. And that's OK, too: WLTV is a great advertisement for Vaynerchuk, but it is an even better one for wine.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.