CALIFORNIA LIFE & STYLE
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CALIFORNIA LIFE & STYLE

Wine Library TV: Robert Parker for a new generation?

A wine opinion on camera, online If there is a go-to wine guy for today's twentysomethings -- assuming this herd of cats would follow anyone -- that guy is Gary Vaynerchuk. His daily Wine Library TV video blogs at tv.winelibrary.com, part of the retail website for his parents' Springfield, N.J., wine shop, are a hyperkinetic mix of serious wine knowledge and irreverent critiques -- never mind that his family sells the same wines.The unconventional approach works, says Jesse Porter, founder of Young Winos of Los Angeles, if for no other reason than because Vaynerchuk -- operations director at the store -- is tasting the wines on camera. "We get a tangible sense of his opinion. If he doesn't like a wine, he puckers up his face, sticks out his tongue and states his displeasure in no uncertain terms," Porter says. "He's disarmingly honest and not afraid to malign any wine he dislikes, whether it's for sale in his store or not."Launched in September 2006, Wine Library's video blog became a minor Internet sensation after Vaynerchuk's Aug. 1 guest appearance on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," notoriety that Vaynerchuk says expanded his audience overnight from 10,000 daily visitors to 20,000. Today, he says, 60,000 viewers a day watch his 15-minute tasting videos."I want to change the game," Vaynerchuk says, first, by encouraging this new generation to try lots of different wines. Always buying Jordan Winery Napa Valley Cabernet, he says, is just as brainless as stocking up on nothing but $5 bottles of Yellow Tail Shiraz from Australia. More important, he says, he wants his fans to trust themselves more than they trust any critic, even him. "Wine has always been intimidating," Vaynerchuk says. "This is the generation that's going to change that." -- Corie Brown

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