Book Review: Gary V’s 101 Wines

By John ~ July 23rd, 2008.

First off I should tell you that Gary Vaynerchuk is a great guy and a very genuine person despite his somewhat outrageous persona on Wine Library TV. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Gary on several occasions, the most recent at his book signing here in Seattle. Unlike authors at many book signings, Gary was on-time, spent almost two hours talking about his book and answering every question anyone in the audience had on wine or almost any other subject, and signed books with a very personal touch.

Whether or not you agree with his thoughts on wines, Gary is a great marketer, has established a tremendous personal brand, and is doing a great job of promoting wine to the world. I look forward to visiting with Gary again at the Wine Bloggers Conference in California in October.

I really enjoyed reading Gary’s book, Gary Vaynerchuk’s 101 Wines: Guaranteed to Inspire, Delight, and Bring Thunder to Your World, and learning more about his background and approach to wine tasting. However, I would think that the objective of most of us who bought the book would be to find some new wines to try that sound interesting to us from Gary’s reviews and descriptions. Here’s where the problem comes in for me. I can’t find most of the wines from the book that I want to try. I earmarked thirteen wines from his book and after a month of searching have finally located a measly two of them. Kori marked a number of different wines when she read the book and has been able to find only a few of them herself.

I tried buying them locally at the two biggest wine shops in Seattle. I tried to find them online from two of the biggest wine vendors on the internet. [Editor’s note: Some of the wines are available from Gary’s Wine Library store in New Jersey, but they cannot ship to Washington State.] The closest I came initially to finding any of the wines I wanted to try was a different vintage of one of his recommended wines. Oh yes, and a friend gave us a bottle of one he had tried, Gary’s #5, the Radikon, Oslavje, 2002. Gary’s description was right on, but I personally do not find “rusty nail” and “spoiled papaya” appealing. I thought it was one of the worst wines I’ve ever tasted in my life. To this, Gary would probably say, “That’s great because all of our palates are different!” Gary’s mission is to get people to try new wines and expand their palates.

In sum, I sincerely thank Gary for all his does for the wine world, but I don’t believe that this book is accomplishing its stated mission, at least for me, because I can hardly find any of the wines. I hope that Gary takes a different tack in his second book and from what I heard at his book signing I suspect that he will. If you haven’t already bought this book, I’d suggest that you wait for book number two since Gary has a two book deal with the publisher. Gary is a very bright guy so I believe his second book will be more practical for its readers.

Have you read Gary V’s 101 Wines? If so, what did you think? Were you able to find the wines you wanted to try?

Filed under: Wine Books

Reader's Comments

  1. Dale Cruse | July 23rd, 2008 at 10:57 am

    I had difficulty finding many of those wines as well, but I don’t think that indicates that the book fails in its mission.

    The book’s mission is to highlight some wines that “bring thunder.” Whether or not we can find the wines does not change whether those wines “bring thunder” or not.

  2. John | July 23rd, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks for the comment. I understand your point, but in Gary’s book introduction, he states: “By reading about and tasting the wines I’ve included in this book, you’ll discover your preferences, train your palate, and pursue your own path to understanding wine.” If you can’t find the wines, I don’t see how you can achieve any of these stated goals. I know I can’t.