As avid readers of my blog, you’ve definitely watched my all time favorite episode of Wine Library TV, where host Gary Vaynerchuk teaches ordinary folks like you and me to have the precise palates of professional wine critics. Well, Gary, together with his dedicated fans (the VaynerNation) are doing something right, as last week the veritable Vay-ner-chuk featured on Conan O’Brien’s Late Night. This clip is a bit shorter than what aired on TV, but it should do the trick:
August 7, 2007
July 8, 2007
As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuk, the host of Wine Library TV. As I also mentioned, Vaynerchuk was featured in TIME Magazine in a piece which, some would say, makes him the “Wine Man of the Year.”
If you’ve had a chance to watch any of Gary’s video (I made a few recommendations here), you’ll notice his unorthodox style, which at least one critic (who I hold in high esteem) found to be lacking the dignity and sophistication appropriate for the wine-appreciating community. Here is my response which I submitted elsewhere, but I would nonetheless like to share it here as well:
As one of the younger members of the forum, I feel that Vaynerchuk’s daily videos are responsible for opening up wine culture to the younger, less economically sound crowd in a way that no critic or publication has done in the past. I’m all for a more “sophisticated approach,” but the fact is that wine, through the ages, was always something shared by all segments of the population, only recently (relatively speaking) becoming the province of the elite and demanding “a more dignified approach.” I don’t see any good in the assumed exclusivity and elitism in contemporary wine culture other than concern emanating from those currently entrenched in the community that they will have to associate with people possessing less wine knowledge, and perhaps lower social stature.
A similar debate can be (and probably has already been) held regarding some of the shows on the TV Food Network. Emeril Lagasse was also considered unorthodox when he began with his antics, but his shows, and those that followed, allowed people a glimpse of the high-end food industry while being both entertaining and not breaking the bank.
Vaynerchuk is unorthodox in the same way. Occasionally, he can be crass. On Thursday night’s segment dealing with a wine called Beauzeaux (pun clearly intended), he compared the nose to a sweaty jockstrap dipped in mouthwash. Granted, that is undignified. But his entertaining approach has attracted a not insignificant mass of followers and enfranchised a population segment which would have otherwise been alienated by the prevailing stuffiness and exclusivity.
Watching the show on a pretty consistent basis, I think it’s safe to say that while there is a certain conflict of interest in reviewing the wines you sell, Vaynerchuk will often take issue with Parker’s high scores on expensive bottles (which people want to buy), dismiss all 3-4 bottles tasted during a given show, and will freely disparage bad wines alongside good wines with questionable QPR.
Vaynerchuk’s antics encouraged me, and gave me the know-how to train my palate, break out of my Sideways-esque Merlot boycott, and experiment with out of the ordinary varietals. But the “undignified” approach does not necessarily breed a generation of ignominious connoisseurs. It is a warmer, more inclusive approach. It encourages savvy shopping and experimentation. And Vaynerchuk knows he’s onto something. He closes each episode with the following line, occasionally throwing a cork at the camera for emphasis: “Because you, with a little bit of me, we’re changing the wine world, aren’t we?”
April 23, 2007
I know I’ve been somewhat lazy with the posting lately, but that shouldn’t stop you from voting me into the next round of contention for the JIB Best New Blog award.
You can vote here.
April 13, 2007
I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but I do believe that I’ve provided informative and timely posts.
Show your recognition by nominating either this blog, or specific posts, for a 2007 Jewish & Israeli Blog Award. FYI: Even if you know who I am, I blog pseudonymously nonetheless. Ergo, for all intents and purposes, my identity is unknown. I do have an e-mail address, though: lonelymanofcake-at-gmail-dot-com.
March 27, 2007
As much as I dislike using Windows, the geeks over at Microsoft attempt to make the experience a bit more pleasant by including some stunning wallpaper images which you can use as a background for your desktop. Like this one (in which the color is a bit off):
It’s called “Autumn” and a writer for Vanity Fair became obsessed with the photo and locating where it was taken. It took him over a year to find it. Read the story here.
March 25, 2007
March 21, 2007
In a previous post, we noted that Israelis spend more time on the Internet than almost anyone else in the world. What are they doing online?
Israel was the most highly ranked country for malicious activity per Internet user. If one person from each of the top 25 countries were to represent their country’s Internet-connected population, the average Internet user in Israel would carry out nine percent of the group’s malicious activity. (Source)
Is this another manifestation of notorious Israeli road rage, albeit on the information superhighway?
March 13, 2007
A study released by comScore Networks has revealed that, hour for hour, Israeli web surfers spend more time on the web (37.4 hours per month) than anyone else in the world, save for Canadians. This constitutes a significant drop from last year’s survey, when it was reported that Israel came in at #1, with the average surfer spending a whopping 57.5 hours on the web per-month.
I definitely do my share to keep the average up.
March 9, 2007
- Steven I. Weiss of Canonist has been duking it out with sociologist Samuel Heilman after Weiss reviewed Heilman’s latest book and pointed out some statistics which do not jive with math or logic. Start here for the book review (and comments), continue here (also with comments), and round it out here.
- Apropos Steven I. Weiss, if you ever feel like “you’ve reached the end of the Internet” and want some fantastic material, check out Weiss’s pioneering J-blog “Protocols.” Though defunct for over two years now, Weiss and a small team of bloggers covered every major story of (Orthodox) Jewish interest since December 2002.
- The eventual impact of global warming may have global consequences far more devastating than “mere” environmental damage. Read the introduction here, and the 25-page white paper, here.
- Dikembe Mutombo, the 7-foot 2-inch center for the Houston Rockets and the oldest player in the NBA, authored a groundbreaking study when he was a student at Georgetown in which he assailed “one of the sillier ideas of modern linguistics… that one language is as good as another, that no language is clearly superior to any other.” His idea has been further developed with added criteria. Spanish comes out on top; English is in second place.
March 7, 2007
That’s right. A YouTube style site, but for documents and e-books. It’s called Scribd. It looks like too few people know about the site for there to be any critical mass of good content. But keep checking.