Home Wine News Articles Shop for Wine Accessories About Links Downloads Contact

Good Grape Wine Company

Left side of the header
Right side of the header

News, Notes and Dusty Bottle Items

I do not hate Gary Vaynerchuk, in fact, I like him, or at least I like the brand that is “Gary.”  I have, however, officially crossed over the transom from being curious observer and analyst to being envious.  What Gary Vaynerchuk has done in the span of two years, as an emerging pop culture icon, catapulting from an Internet-based video blog, is nothing short of astounding.

I have my brother to thank for this move into the envious camp, too.  My brother does have a blog, but is not a wine drinker, does not follow wine and is 180 degrees different from me in terms of his interest level in wine—that is to say, a beer will do him just fine.  But, he had the naïve chutzpah to send me a link to a recent article on Vaynerchuk from or something similar, without knowing that I am well in tune with, with the message of, “Hey, you need to do what this dude is doing.”

Ah, if it were only that simple. 

It is one thing to build up a profile within the corridors of the wine industry, an area of business that, let us face it, is not rich with dynamism, but it is an entirely different thing to create a rip current in pop culture, which Gary is doing.

In addition, he is ubiquitous.  I am minding my own business at work when I get an email from, a resource for interactive marketers, letting me know that Vaynerchuk is co-headlining a seminar with Arianna Huffington in October.  His keynote title?  “Uncorking your Brand with Social Media.”

Do I hate Gary Vaynerchuk?  No. However, I wish like hell my charisma dial turned past 6.

Hate is a strong word and one that my mother admonished me for using.  I was not allowed to use it.  However, one thing I can tell you I have strong displeasure for is a certain wine retail shop in Indianapolis.  I have written about them several times in the past in somewhat opaque terms.  Said shop is on Keystone Avenue in an aluminum shed, if anybody knows Indianapolis, but my point is that I do not care for how they do business, I do not care for their warehouse like store and I do not care for the interactions I have had with the owner.  Nonetheless, I get the monthly newsletters, and other communications just to torture myself.  But, I am stopping that, too.  I cannot take a wine shop, perhaps the biggest in Indianapolis, written by the owner, using the word “pallet” in a wine newsletter.  Dude, it is spelled p-a-l-a-t-e.  Then again, he is probably more in tune with the word pallet, because he buys the closeout swill by the pallet from the distributors and pimps it to unsuspecting customers. 

Completely separate topic, in the event that you are not a member of the Wine Business Network on LinkedIN, I would encourage you to do so.  I am the administrator and there are well over 700 people and growing by 20 – 25 people daily.  You can join by hitting this link.

A little bit of shameless promo, but if you would like to display a pretty slick Good Grape widget on your own blog, you can do so, by hitting this link.  I am giving a couple of wine books to each individual that uses the widget.  If you put on your blog, send me a note and I will send you an in-kind gift. 

Other things that have been in the stream of consciousness lately.

• I am stupefied that the Parker v. Broadbent tasting in London last week did not get more state side notice, before or after.  If Parker and Hugh Johnson do the same thing, sign me up for the pay-per-view
• I am stupefied that the Harvard research and recent Wall Street Journal article that said the Longtail theory might be bunk has not gotten more notice.  If true, a lot of small wineries betting on the Internet as a main sales channel are going to be up a creek
• There is a good article on Randall Grahm and Bonny Doon in the July issue of Inc. magazine.  A lot could be said about his decision to sell-off brand assets and re-trench, but the one thing that cannot be said is he does not have an iron stomach. He is pulling our leg, though, when he is quoted as saying, “I have to rebrand Bonny Doon to be not about me but about the wines, and for most Americans, it’s a lot easier for th wines to be about a person or a story than about the wines themselves.  We’re an immature wine culture.  It will be a trick to do it.” He’s right about one thing—it will be a trick, of Houdini proportions.  If he doesn’t brand by story and he doesn’t turn into a score whore, I’m not sure how he plans on selling his wine. 
• I cannot tell if Hugh from (who has frequent forays into wine marketing commentary) is a boy genius or a hack selling the simple.  I think it is both and kudos to him for not allowing me to tell a clear difference.
• I think the biggest opportunity in the online wine space is with CellarTracker.  I do not know why, but it just feels like an opportunity.  Maybe VinCellar from Vinfolio can be lumped in there, but it is all about the users and the user interace is important, but does not mean a thing if people are already familiar with it.  The cost to move to a new place for your tasting notes is high, as well.


Posted in, News, Notes & Dusty Bottle Items. Permalink | Comments (8) |


On 07/17, dhonig wrote:

Where to start.  Yes, that aluminum warehouse assault on everything that is good about wine is not too high in my book, either. There are good wine stores in this town with knowledgeable and friendly service (the other half of what used to be that business has Louis, and just up the street Phillip also gives great advice and great service).  I also hear good things about the new joint at Meridian and 126, but have not been there yet.  Avoid the hangar. They hate you and laugh at you on your way out the door.

Gary? All you can do is give him the props he deserves.  But rememeber, before you beat yourself up, he had backing and need.  The goal was to push his own wine store. Most of us do this as a hobby.

I’m checking out LinkedIN when I’m done here.

Have a widget. I will add it to “2 Days per Bottle” this morning (

Cellar Tracker.  Everything else is a pale imitation. Heck, I have seen stores starting to use reviews from Cellar Tracker as shelf-hangers.  The gestalt of community wisdom, assming enough reviews, is where I go first when looking at an expensive wine.

Finally, we’ve got to get together.  Sorry I took so long to respond before.

On 07/17, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) wrote:

I think the wine pole barn in Indy has a good selection if you know what you want. It is also a lot closer then all of the wine shops north of Indy for people like me that live to the south.

On 07/17, dhonig wrote:

Glen, you’re right, but the key is “if you know what you want.”  For me, at least, the internet supplies a lot of that sort of wine.  When I walk into a bricks and mortar store these days, I am paying for knowledge and service, as much as wine.

Also, to the south you still have Mass Ave, and free bottle Monday.

On 07/17, Ann Handley wrote:

Glen - Love this post, and particularly this line: “Do I hate Gary Vaynerchuk?  No. However, I wish like hell my charisma dial turned past 6.” I’m pretty sure Gary’s charisma ranking is straight off the charts, FYI!

BTW, this (from my personal blog) is slightly off-topic of both wine and marketing, yet it relates:


On 07/17, Ann Handley wrote:

Oops… sorry. I meant Jeff, not Glen. Apologies.

On 07/17, Jeff wrote:


Thanks for the comments.

Dennis, yes, we do need to hook-up.  I’m downtown, as are you, you want to coordinate drinks after work sometime in the next week?

Glen, I don’t fault you for shopping “there,” but I don’t ...  Caveat emptor

Ann,  thanks for posting.  I’m really flattered if you read my site, but otherwise I’ll thank Google alerts.  I’m picking up Annarchy now in my feed reader.

All the best,


On 07/22, dhonig wrote:

How does next week sound? This week my F-in-L is having open heart surgery, so I won’t have much free time.

BTW, its David, not Dennis.

On 11/30, men's style advice wrote:

Awesome! I can see you are doing your best to share some of what your getting here


View More Archives