What do you think of when someone mentions wine tasting? What comes to your mind when someone raises the subject of wine culture? Historically, you probably imagined well-dressed rich people swirling wine and pontificating about the notes they were detecting. Gary Vee came along with Wine Library and he changed things up.
Of course, for the first 50-something episodes, he very much presented himself along the lines of how one would traditionally view wine culture. There was a break in episodes and when Gary Vee returned, the gloves were off. He dropped the casual business image he had begun the series with, he dropped the idea of who he thought he was supposed to be and instead leaned into who he really is.
What Gary Vee has done for wine culture is broaden the audience. A man who spits into a New York Jets bucket has thoughts on wine and the world was into it. His personality won hearts and minds and it attracted new people to the world of wine.
As a long-time wine enthusiast and wannabe connoisseur of wine, he made me sit up and take notice of wine culture in a new and exciting way and that got me thinking about five reasons why Gary Vee makes me want to drink more wine.
1. He Made It Seem More Attainable
What once seemed like a hobby for the rich or snobby suddenly seemed like an attainable exercise. I’ve always wanted to learn more about wine, but Gary Vee showed me just how easy it is to learn more about what I’m drinking.
Years ago, I stuck to cocktails and wine coolers, the wine aisle was daunting. The few times I had tried it I just didn’t like it. I believed that I didn’t like wine. (How outrageous is that?!) That is until I saw Gary Vee talking about it.
The way he spoke about different flavors and individual palates and knowing what you like made me realize that I hadn’t given wine a fair shake. I was judging all wine based on the chardonnay my aunt preferred rather than exploring a grape or two of my own.
The more you know, the easier it becomes to pick and choose wines I know I’ll enjoy as opposed to wandering the aisles looking at alcohol content or price. Anyone can learn about wine, no matter who you are, and why shouldn’t I enjoy it? He made me see that anyone can enjoy wine and wine tasting doesn’t take an expert.
I’m the expert because I’m tasting wine for me so if I like it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. It was a revelation and I feel much more confident when I browse wines knowing exactly what I like. I started by choosing cheaper bottles of different grapes just to get a feel for whether I enjoyed those flavors and from there, I knew I could explore higher-priced options more confident in what I like. It’s truly been a game-changer.
2. He Offers No Judgment
Here’s the thing, wine can be intimidating and it’s even more so when someone strikes up a conversation and judges your taste in wine. Gary Vee is big on understanding your palate and when he grades wines, he isn’t afraid to say his palate is what makes a particular wine edge out another.
You like what you like and that’s an important message for anyone who likes wine and would like to explore. You can’t go to the store, pick up a $40 bottle of wine, and expect to like it just because it cost more than your normal bottle. It isn’t about cost, it’s about flavor profiles. I might favor a dry Sauvignon Blanc or Malbec, but you might be all about a sweet Riesling or Port.
Like food or any other type of drink, we have our unique tastes and respond differently to wine. I love that Gary Vee is non-judgmental when it comes to taste. You like what you like and I want to drink more wine to learn more about my palate and explore the different grapes and how the taste changes across the countries they are grown. It’s exciting!
3. He Makes It Fun
I think this is the key and not just for me, but for a lot of people. I know several people who were all about craft beer and craft beer only. When I sent them a link for an episode of Wine Library, they enjoyed it, they went down the rabbit hole watching more episodes, and at the end of it all, they went out and bought some wine.
Drinking wine is fun. Tasting wine is fun. Exploring the world through wine is fun. It’s fascinating and exciting and it’s a great way to explore the globe and embrace other cultures from the comfort of your home. Of course, for me, I’m making a list of all the places I’d like to visit just to get more acquainted with their wine culture. First on my list? Uruguay, but since I’m in the region I might as well visit Chile and Argentina, too.
4. It’s The Food For Me
Okay, Gary Vee doesn’t make food on Wine Library, but what he’s inspired in me about learning flavor profiles is how those flavors work with meals. If money were no object, I’d throw a 12-course dinner party with a wine pairing for each course. That’s the dream. I love food. I love wine.
I love how they work together, how they bounce off of each other, enhance all of the flavors at play, and it was Gary Vee who got me there. I used to just choose a wine I liked no matter what meal I was making or ordering. Now, I’m far more thoughtful about how the wine I select will complement the meal I’m about to enjoy. I want to enjoy my wine and my meal, and I can explore varieties and change things up by making more effort when I choose them.
5. It’s Just Delicious
It’s as simple as that. Watching Gary Vee sniffy-sniff his way through the world’s wines is fun and exciting. Seeing him taste and describe the notes and flavors that are coming through makes me appreciate wine more. I was already a wine lover, but I think I’ve become more open-minded to trying different grapes and exploring different wine regions and even the difference in the same grapes grown in different regions.
I’ve learned more about soil than I care to admit, I’ve become more aware of the environment and the process by which wine is created. It’s a fascinating topic and you don’t have to own a sailboat or wear a cravat to get into it. Wine is for everyone and I’m glad Gary Vee helped a lot of people come to that realization, especially me.
I can enjoy wine without judgment. I can enjoy wine without worrying about how much I spent on the bottle. I can enjoy wine for what it is! I can enjoy wine. It’s as simple as that.
“There’s always a wine bully. The one person who did read the ‘Wine Spectator,’ who tells you what to drink and why the ’97 is better than the ’98. I want to punch the wine bully in the face. I want to make sure this generation of wine drinkers isn’t elitist and snotty. I want it to be about family and bringing people together.” — Gary Vaynerchuk