Archive for Gary Vaynerchuk


Posted in Info on Wine, Wine Marketing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 8, 2010 by ballymote

Being the devoted oenophile that I am, it’s only natural that I receive e-mails from several different wine merchants all vying for my limited wine dollar budget. In this post I am going to examine the tactics used by three of these marketing mavens and explain why one is my clear favorite. The three wine stores approaches that will be outlined here are: HOPS  N GRAPES, GLASSBORO, NJ, MOORE BROTHERS, PENNSAUKEN, NJ, and THE WINE LIBRARY in SPRINGFIELD, NJ. All three of these stores use a different internet approach to selling wine.

HOPS N GRAPES sends a daily e-mail featuring one wine for the day. You must print out the coupon and present it in store or you can order online for in-store pick-up. Limit on their offers is 12 bottles. There are no further discounts on case purchases. My problem with this marketing strategy is in several areas. First, the wine offered is seldom of much interest to me as I would say maybe 1 in every 20 catches my eye. For instance, Friday’s offering was the 2008 Two Hands, Brilliant Disguise, Moscato, Barossa Valley, Australia. Now Two Hands makes some pretty decent juice in a number of grape varietals but a Moscato is a “bubbly” or dessert=type wine and I very seldom drink them. Secondly, it sells normally for $15.99 and their offer price is $13.98. Virtually all of their offers are for 10 to 15% off and you would expect that type of discount on any case purchase anyway so, all in all, it’s not something that is ever going to appeal to me. Additionally, there were times in the beginning when I would receive the e-mail for that day’s offering late in the evening with no time to get there had I been interested. This problem appears to now be corrected. In fairness, I have been in the store and spoke to employees who were busy filling orders on these daily specials so what do I know?

Gary Vaynerchuk runs a mega-wine operation in North Jersey called The Wine Library. His Wine Library TV has become an internet institution and his online tastings have brought him much fame and great wealth. There is little debate among his fans and critics alike that he has in the past few years displayed the talents of a marketing genius. Let me just say in reference to the internet marketing strategy employed by the folks at The Wine Library, if you are a shut-in who wished they had more e-mails to read on a daily basis, do yourself a favor and subscribe to the internet mailing list for the Wine Library. You will find yourself busy most of the day just trying to keep up with the latest, “spectacular” “better hurry while supplies last”, “you won’t believe what we are offering next” sales pitch. Again, are some of them real values? Yes they are, but the sheer volume and absurdity of their approach with three, four and five “unbelievable deals” a day just wears one out after a while. Having made a couple of 90 minute trips up to their Springfield, NJ location I am actually underwhelmed by their selection. There are a lot of choices, there are a few “hard to find” wines, on occasion, but the vast majority, in my opinion are of the not so well-known variety which leads me to believe that because the buy in such huge volume they work out “special deals” with the wineries or distributors and then market these wines as “unusual savings opportunities.” Again, they are a tremendously successful operation but although I like and admire Gary V, I seldom “bite” on the many opportunities to buy.

The third example I have chosen for this marketing comparison is Moore Brothers in Pennsauken, NJ. This unique wine selling operation has two other locations in Delaware and New York City. They sell wines from small growers (primarily) in France, Italy and Germany. Their stores are maintained at 56 degrees and they go to great lengths to see that the wines they sell are shipped and stored at the proper temperatures. They sell only wine so you have to venture elsewhere for your beer or spirits. Moore Brothers does not deluge your server with daily offers. They send an e-mail approximately once every ten days and that in itself adds a sense of importance to each one.  One of the last ones was simply titled……”a five hour dinner with Xavier Vignon” . There followed a short narrative on Greg Moore’s recent trip to the south of France, his dinner with the wine-maker and closed with this offer ”

Wines like this terrific $14 blend of ripe Syrah, old-vines bush-trained Grenache, and mineral rich Mourvèdre have generated some of the most enthusiastic feedback we ever receive.

And this one could be, dollar for dollar, the wine of the vintage. Everything you expect is here: exotic black fruit, lavender and graphite, fresh white tobacco and herbes de Provence. And then there is the secret to all of Xavier Vignon’s wines: the perfect, mouthfilling seasoning of saline minerality that comes from deeply rooted old vines.

This morning there are twenty-eight cases at Moore Brothers New Jersey.

$14 per bottle on paid orders received before July 27. *
Regular price $16 per bottle. No further case discounts apply in this offer.


Ventoux Xavier Vignon 2007 (reg. $16.00)    $14.00  buy now

I bought a few. This is the type of approach that appeals to me and I discovered a great, inexpensive Cote du Ventoux wine that works exceptionally well with food. It’s more of a soft sell, the urgency is there but it almost feels like “if it sounds good, it’s here for you”. They tell you how many they have and you can decide for yourself how soon you should get there.

So there you have it. Three different approaches to selling wine on the internet. For all I know, each has been very successful for the individual operations. I just wanted to let you know the approach that works best for me. There are scores of totally different approaches. I subscribe to many of them and would have placed orders with several had it been easier to arrange wine shipments to New Jersey (that’s a story for another time)Remember, as with any opinion, your mileage may vary!


Posted in Favorite Wines, Info on Wine, Tasting Notes, Wine Ratings with tags , , , on December 19, 2009 by ballymote

The 2007 Vayniac Cabernet Sauvignon finally arrived at my house almost 2 years after purchase. It isn’t that Gary Vaynerchuk and the shipping department at the Wine Library in Springfield, NJ are dropping the ball, it’s because the wine was a “futures” purchase back in 2007. That means you buy the wine prior to it being ready for shipment. In this case, the wine was purchased prior to the grapes even being harvested.

This was the original announcement from 2 years ago:

As he announced in the special 305th episode of Wine Library TV (watch the video here), Gary V is offering all Vayniacs a unique opportunity to be a part of the wine making process! In collaboration with Crushpad, YOU can be involved with the crush and barrel tasting of the yet to be made 2007 Vayniac Napa Cabernet!

The production will be overseen by Kian Tavakoli (formerly of such California mainstays as Clos du Val and Opus One!) and Camille Benitah (assistant winemaker at cult winery Merus), with the fruit being sourced from such legendary Napa sites as Oakville, Mount Veeder, Coombsville and Howell Mountain. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many to be involved in the winemaking process and enjoy the wine for many years to come! Here is the final blend:

The Final Blend: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon from Suscol Bench (24.9%), Young Inglewood (24.9%), Godspeed (16.6%), and Carrefour (16.6%) Vineyards. 10% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc.

So, after years of anticipation, my wine arrives on my doorstep, I check all the boards and blogs for a review and find nothing. It’s hard to believe that with all the “Vayniac’s” out there, I can’t find a review on the 2007 Vayniac Cabernet. Anyway, here is mine. Uncorked last night at a restaurant in Cherry Hill, NJ (full review will appear on this blog shortly) while awaiting a nice filet mignon in a peppercorn sauce. Unfortunately, the wine didn’t last until the entree arrived. It was a VERY leisurely paced dinner.  The Vayniac was a very dark ruby bordering on black in the glass. The nose was magnificent. Black fruits and dark berries flooding the senses. Hints of dark chocolate and a floral bouquet in the background. Possibly as good as any nose as I have experienced in quite some  time. My own nose kept returning to the bowl of the glass at least 50 times. On the palate the wine was soft yet textured with many of the same fruits. The finish was smooth and close to 50 seconds. If I had one possible negative it would be that I felt it closed up in the second hour just a bit whereas many wines grow better with time in the glass. My wife, Kathy disagreed with my “closed up” verdict. She thought it stayed very good throughout.

The 2007 Vayniac Cabernet certainly drinks like a wine that could cost more than the $37.99 “futures” price. It now retails at the Wine Library for $44.99. I saw while looking for a review that someone had it for a short time on Craig’s List for $500.00, The ad was removed, most likely after the seller received hilarious responses to his offer. I’d rate this wine 93 points. I could have gone a point higher had it not appeared to fade in the end for me.


Posted in Favorite Wines, Info on Wine, Wine Dinners with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 9, 2009 by ballymote

Four couples got together last Friday evening for some good food, good wine and excellent conversation. My wife, Kathy and I made the long trek across the river to Warminster, PA to John and Caryl G’s house where we met up with more of her high school friends, Gerry and JoAnn and John B and his wife, Cathy. When we arrived they were just finishing a bottle of Montes Alpha “M” . The men gathered on chairs near the pool while the women remained on the porch. We munched on pre-dinner snacks prepared by the women, the guys smoked cigars and sipped some wonderful wines including one I had brought with me to celebrate a new job.IMG_2707 The 1997 Te Motu, Cabernet/Merlot is a unique blend from Waiheke Island in New Zealand. We first discovered this wine at the DuPont Hotel in Wilmington, DE during a wine tasting held there by a local wine store (Frank’s Union Wine Mart). The Te Motu had a little orange tinge to it and a lot of funk that needed time to blow off before revealing the soft flavors. It probably could have used a little more time out of the bottle to appreciate it’s true worth.

John G’s Ipod was playing songs from our past while the  four guys opened the next bottle lost in a scholarly discussion of female body parts. We weren’t quite sure what the women on the porch were talking about but we were pretty certain it wasn’t as intellectually stimulating as ours.

2005_zinfandelThe 2005 Blockheadia Ringosii, Sonoma, Zinfandel is a delicious fruit bomb that for a short while was available at the PA State Stores for $8.99.  That price is nearly 60% less than it’s suggested $21.00 selling price. This dark ruby beauty has tons of flavor and a smooth finish that make it an absolute steal. Don’t bother running out to your local PA Wine and Spirits Outlet as I am certain every last bottle has been accounted for already.

All of the appetizers went well with our wine choices but it was getting later and now time for some serious backyard eats. The trio of chefs ventured to the grillIMG_2710 as I volunteered to stay with the wine and make sure no thieving neighbors made off with our vino supply. I could smell the enticing aroma of cheeseburgers and hot dogs cooking on the grill and it wasn’t long before the guys headed for the porch to join our wives for some serious chow. I’m not sure where John G purchased the burgers but they were tender and juicy and totally worthy of high praise. There were plenty of condiments available to dress the sandwiches and some great sides to top off the meal. John B’s wife, Cathy had prepared an orzo salad, the recipe for which she had stolen from Rachel Ray, a name I seem to recall from our earlier discussion of female body parts. My plate was already full with burgers, hot dogs, a yummy potato salad and some cole slaw so that there was little room for what appeared to be one of, if not, THE best looking orzo salads I have ever laid eyes on. I did manage to sneak a sample and although I must confess to not being a huge orzo fan, this did definitely NOT suck.IMG_2715 Unfortunately, I was so engrossed in the food on my plate that I totally forgot to take a picture of the culinary delights. I did remember to snap this one of our wives who were responsible for not just the magnificent orzo salad but all of the other appetizers and side dishes as well. Had they been called upon to grill the burgers and doggies I feel certain they would have approached the same grill-master status that John G attained in preparing his mouth-watering food.

Gerry had brought with him a 2004 Les Verrieres, Clos de Soutyeres, Coteaux Du Languedoc. This is another Chairmen’s Selection from the PA stores that normally sells in the $22.00 range. I forgot what he said he paid for it but I am guessing it was in the $13.00 range. The wine is a blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carginane and is dark and brooding and full of great flavors that coat the palate and linger nicely on the finish. It was rated 91 points by Wine SpectatorIMG_2711 and it drinks like it deserves every one of those points. I stumbled across a Gary Vaynerchuk review of this wine on his Wine Library internet TV show. I must preface Gary’s account by saying that Gerry is NOT a fan of Gary or his reviews but I think he would agree with this one. Gary V raved about this wine calling it an “amazing effort” and a “steal at $20.00”. He felt Wine Spectator did not go high enough in their rating and he gave it 93+ points calling it one of the best QPR wines he had ever reviewed. It’s finding little treasures like the 04 Les Verrieres that make being a wine geek so much fun.

The night moved forward with a barrage of wonderful wines from John G’s constantly improving collection. We had the 2005 Parson’s Flat, Padthway Shiraz/Cab which went quickly and with great praise, we enjoyed a 2002 Bernardus “Marinus” still available in PA at most stores at a tremendous reduction from its original selling price. Continuing with his policy of over-serving guests who had made arrangements to stay over at his home John now produced a 2005 St. Francis, Sonoma, Syrah proving that this producer is capable of making good wines from all grape varietals.IMG_2719IMG_2722IMG_2723


It’s always fun to get together with this group. They have a great sense of humor and none of us take ourselves seriously. Once again, the wine, the food and the friendships took center stage to provide an enjoyable out door summer evening.

The recipe for Cathy B’s stolen orzo salad is available above by clicking on the “recipe” link in the text.


Posted in Favorite Wines, Info on Wine, Wine Lists with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 13, 2009 by ballymote

We can’t always afford to drink the absolute best wines. Well, maybe some of us can but, I’m not in that elite group. That’s why I am constantly searching for the best QPR wines. QPR stands for Quality Price Ratio and simply means that for the money spent you are getting a better wine than what you might expect at that price point. Defined in other terms it means you are drinking a $12.00 wine that tastes like a $30 wine. These are wines that don’t break our budget. They are wines we can open with pizza or just to sip on the deck on a warm summer evening. There are many such wines and each person has their own favorites. here are a few of my current favorites:IMG_2503

Keep in mind that “everyday wines” can be constantly changing and are certainly not limited in any way to the six bottles pictured above. These are simply good representatives of the group. From left to right these wines are

2002 Thorn-Clarke Terra Barossa Shiraz

2005 Domaine “La Garrigue” Cotes Du Rhone

2005 Sainte Leocadie, Les Clauses, Minervois

2005 Green Lion, Napa, Cabernet Sauvignon

2004 Chateau Pesquie, Terrasses, Cotes du Ventoux

and resting comfortably in the forefront is my perennial favorite in the QPR group the

2007 Pillar Box RED

The Pillar Box Red is from Australia and each year is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot. Some years are better than others but all of them are very good. A couple of years ago this was available for $7.99 but obviously the word got out and it’s now going for $12.99 in most stores (Circle Liquors has it for $10.99 (shhhhhhhhhh..don’t tell anyone).

The Thorn-Clark Terra Barossa Shiraz is also from Australia and is loaded with lots of berry fruit flavors and usually sells for about $15.00.

The Chateau Pesquie, Terrasses is a steal at $14.00 and is a delicious blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah from the Cotes du Ventoux. It almost always scores 90 points from Parker and Wine Spectator.

The Sainte Leocadie, Les Clauses is from the Minervois region of France, it is light and fragrant and matches up well with a wide variety of food items from pasta to beef. It usually sells for about $13.00 but I bought a case for $9 per bottle from the Wine Library in North Jersey after watching Gary Vaynerchuk, the marketing mastermind from Wine Library TV. Great Value!!

The 2005 Domaine “La Garrigue” Cotes du Rhone is good stuff. Here is what Robert Parker had to say about it in his rating:

91 Points – Robert Parker (Wine Advocate)

“The 2005 Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Romaine, a blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah, is a fabulous example of how high quality Cotes du Rhones can be. Made under the auspices of the brilliant oenologist Philippe Cambie, this wine comes from the estate`s oldest head-pruned vines of 60 to 90 years old. Dense ruby/purple with terrific black cherry and black currant fruit, full-bodied essence of Provencal fruit, herbs, incense, and spice, this essentially tastes more like a Vacqueyras than a Cotes du Rhone and is beautifully ripe, full-bodied, opulent, and also vibrant, which is in keeping with this top-notch vintage.”

I would simply add that if you are lost in a wine store with NO IDEA what to buy. It’s hard to go wrong with any Cotes du Rhone as they usually are priced very reasonably between $10.00 and $15.00 with a large selection to choose from. Do I have to tell you they’d be located in the section that reads “FRANCE”??

2005 Green Lion, Napa, Cabernet is a Chris Ringland product. Chris is a talented winemaker from “down under” who makes a wide range of excellent wines under the “R Wines” brand. He is teamed with importer, Dan Phillips who carries the Grateful Palate lineup of wines. It’s a wonderful example of a Napa Cab that could sell for 2 to 3 times it’s $16.00 price tag.

OK, there are 6 wines that should keep you heart-healthy and your thirst quenched. Enjoy!!