The Original Wine Influencer Is Back Making Wine Content Great Again

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There is no one more responsible for the media’s influence on wine than Gary Vaynerchuk, aka GaryVee. An immigrant from Belarus, his family moved to New Jersey where his father started Shopper’s Discount Liquors in Springfield, NJ. Gary began stocking shelves at the age of 14, and after graduating college, he returned to the family business to help with a rebrand to Wine Library. This moment proved pivotal in the future success of the brand, launching online sales and a weekly YouTube series called WineLibraryTV. What happened next changed the wine media game forever.

Gary Vee: Then & Now<p>Courtesy of VaynerX</p>
Gary Vee: Then & Now

Courtesy of VaynerX

GaryVee is the Chairman of VaynerX, Co-Founder of Empathy Wines, and an early investor in FaceBook, Venmo, Twitter, and Liquid Death. His relentless approach to making content, literally filming everything, has paid off in spades. What began in the wine space, has moved into all-platform-domination of motivational speaking. Gary has amassed a loyal following to the tune of more than 44 million followers, garnishing over 173 million monthly impressions/views across all social media platforms.

When WineLibrary TV launched in 2006 on YouTube, Gary was pushing the boundaries of a business with a new look at e-commerce and a guerrilla marketing tactic of creating a TV show from his studio in New Jersey, broadcast directly to the people. His unique style of wine communication in telling the audience he was going to take a "sniffy-sniff", distinctive enunciation style, and incredible energy about the wines he showcased garnered an audience of 90,000 daily viewers. WineLibrary TV ran daily from 2006 until 2011, when he replaced it with a video podcast called The Daily Grape. Ever on the cutting edge, this was the first time I had heard of a "podcast".

Gary Vee in the early WineLibrary TV days<p>Courtesy of VaynerX</p>
Gary Vee in the early WineLibrary TV days

Courtesy of VaynerX

Watch Episode 1 of WineText TV below:

<p>Courtesy of VaynerX</p><p><strong>WineLibrary TV </strong></p><p>During his time at Wine Library, Gary started one of the first long-form episodic video shows on YouTube in 2006 called WineLibraryTV, which he relaunched in February 2024. </p><ul><li>In 2006, he produced an episode almost every day for five years. <br> </li><li>He visited Google's headquarters in 2008 to host a wine tasting and discuss WineLibraryTV. <br> </li><li>His esteem as a wine reviewer has earned recognition in the LA Times and Washington Post. <br> </li><li>18 years later, Gary is re-launching WineLibrary TV to bring the audience back into discovering new wines <br> and debunk trendy wines. </li></ul><p><strong>A Family Business</strong></p><p>At fourteen, Gary joined his family business, then-named Shoppers Discount Liquors, bagging ice for $2/hr. When Gary identified “the internet” as a land-grab opportunity in the late 90’s, he transformed his father’s local liquor store into one of the first e-commerce platforms for alcohol in the country. Renaming the business to “Wine Library,” Gary grew his father’s company from $4 million to $60 million in annual sales during his tenure. <br> </p><ul><li>Gary began reading Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate as a teenager, and realized collecting wine offered an allure similar to his hobby of collecting sports cards. <br> </li><li>He “trained his palette backwards” as a teenager, tasting obscure fruits and vegetables, along with earthly influences, including grass, dirt, rocks, tobacco and wood since he couldn’t drink wine yet. <br> </li><li>He spent every weekend of his college years at his parents’ store, rebranding the family business as Wine Library and establishing himself as a respected expert. </li></ul><p><strong>Empathy Wines</strong></p><ul><li>Leaning on his industry experience and consumer knowledge, Gary co-founded Empathy Wines with industry insiders Jon Troutman and Nate Scherotter. The brand was built around the concept of providing high-quality wine directly from the vineyard to the consumer at an affordable price by cutting out middlemen and distributor markups. </li><li>Empathy Wines focused on transparency and a direct-to-consumer relationship - sharing information about vineyards, the winemaking process, and costs to create a more personal connection between the consumer and the product. <br> </li><li>In August 2019, Gary guided Empathy Wines to a successful exit as it was acquired by Constellation Brands, a major beverage alcohol company. </li></ul>

You can watch episodes of WineText TV on the WineText TV YouTube Channel and by following Gary on all social media platforms @garyvee. Sign up for WineText (powered by WineLibrary) here.