Vaynerchuk Versus Proctor or Pride and Prejudice in Napa

A couple of posts back I mentioned the entity known as Crushpad to introduce another exciting option wine enthusiasts have for procuring custom made premium quality wine. After reading the following post, it may become an idea that not only sounds advantageous but also an idea whose time has come.

The reason I mention this option again is there is a current debate about the fall of the great Napa region’s reputation and wines, especially since winegrowers and winemakers are no longer the same folks (sort of like Crushpad).

Gary Vaynerchuk, the infamous and animated video wine blogger comments on this subject and other problems in Napa. If you are not familiar with his site,
Wine Library TV, let me introduce you; I suggest you view some of his episodes for the sheer entertainment value not to mention the hilarious yet accurate wine reviews he so adamantly presents.

During a recent “Ahead of the Curve” seminar presented to the Napa Valley Grape Growers at Copia, there were a couple of opposing opinions regarding the stability and branding strength of the Napa name as it compares to wines from other regions as pointed out in Tina Caputo’s article on Wines & Vines, “Tough Love for Napa Growers”.

Glenn Proctor
Glenn Proctor
Photo credit: Wines & Vines
During an overview of the current market for Napa Valley grapes, wine and grape broker Glenn Proctor of the Ciatti Company pointed out, “…both production and pricing for Cabernet Sauvignon are increasing, while Merlot remains stable. Buyers are scouting for grapes earlier in the season than usual, and more of them are seeking long-term grape contracts. Pricing is tightening up at both the low and high ends of the spectrum, and inexpensive grapes are becoming more difficult to come by. Per-ton grape prices for 2008 range from $1,900 to $2,800 for Chardonnay, $2,300 to $4,500 for Cabernet Sauvignon and $1,400 to $2,500 for Merlot”.
However, according to outspoken retailer and video wine blogger Gary Vaynerchuk, the Napa Valley “brand” is heading for a fall. According to Vaynerchuk, “Napa Valley’s consumer relations efforts are “disastrous,” he added, “particularly in relation to younger adults. To them, Napa is viewed at “the big, bad guy,” he said, “While other regions are seen as the “good guys.” Vaynerchuk advised vintners to spend time “in the trenches” to make sure tasting room staff members aren’t being rude or neglectful toward Millennials–otherwise, a scathing commentary might end up on the Internet the next day.”
Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk

I hear a lot of comments about treatment of guests while they are at the tasting rooms. I think Gary’s comments on this subject are timely and pertinent. It seems to be a pretty common occurrence that young visitors are often looked down upon, treated with disdain and generally undervalued at winery tasting rooms. Too many wineries are focused on the retail sale that day and not the big picture of marketing a brand for a relationship that continues long after you leave the winery and hopefully every time you are standing in the wine department of your local retailer.

The most enlightening aspect of Tina Caputo’s story was the prices per ton of Napa fruit especially the large margin of separation between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

My next post you can look forward to a discussion about a couple of great valued Merlots and the reality of $50 a bottle Cabernet becoming almost as certain as a $5 gallon gasoline.

~ Marc Hinton


About the Author:

Marc has held almost every position in the food & wine industry and is committed to Celebrating Hospitality with Pride. In addition to being the co-founder and editor-at-large for Enobytes, Marc is a wine blogger contributor to (Wine Bytes) and writes the Wine Knowledge column in the print magazine About Face. The Contra Costa County Times, San Jose Mercury News, Tacoma Times Tribune and Washington Post have either interviewed or quoted Marc on his viniferous and culinary opinions. Marc has also appeared on Portland's "Vine Time" on News Radio 750 KXL and on California's Central Coast "From the Growing of the Grape to the Glass" on KUHL-AM 1410. He is also the author of A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy. While continuing to tenaciously search for what he may finally proclaim as his favorite wine Marc is relentless in his quest for the ultimate food and wine experience.


  1. Jeff April 28, 2008 at 11:24 AM - Reply

    I almost said ‘thank god for beer’ but then I started thinking about the price of hops this year.

  2. Billy D. April 28, 2008 at 5:07 PM - Reply

    Don’t forget…Gary is from New Jersey.

    I think Gary is also starting to realize that his 15 minutes is almost up…if you call it fame…why not go on the attack. This is what small annoying animals do before they are eaten up.

  3. Bobby C. April 28, 2008 at 9:30 PM - Reply

    Billy D

    Spot on – only Californians and Napkins know anything about wine!

    Nobody should be allowed to say anything bad aboout Napa wines, or Napa wine tasting expereinces – all reviews on all Napa wines should be glowing and positve.

    and whats more – no-one form Jersey knows Jack about wine…they are a whole mob of you-know whaters over there…you know tree hugging left wing, bed wetttingf narcissistic types…only us Napkins and Californains know about wine!

    Keep up the great informative and insghtful posts!

  4. Sommeliere April 29, 2008 at 9:07 AM - Reply

    Here is the definition of infamous. Are you sure that is what you meant?

    1. having an extremely bad reputation: an infamous city.
    2. deserving of or causing an evil reputation; shamefully malign; detestable: an infamous deed.
    3. Law.
    a. deprived of certain rights as a citizen, as a consequence of conviction of certain offenses.
    b. of or pertaining to offenses involving such deprivation.

    Also, “shear” means to cut. Sheer is the word you probably meant.

  5. Don R. April 30, 2008 at 7:48 AM - Reply

    I dare say that Gary Vaynerchuk has done more for the average wine drinker than any one person has in the last five years. And on top of that he is a nice guy that actually cares about people aside from wine. BTW what does being from Jersey have to do with anything? Talking about stereotyping! Question: What have you done to improve the lives of those around you?

  6. Jen May 1, 2008 at 8:12 AM - Reply

    Whether you like GV or not is not the real issue our industry appears to be facing. The focus (as this blog noted) needs to be on the consumer. Doesn’t matter who makes “the best” wines, the consumer is what matters most and should be treated in the absolute best manner possible! I actually think Gary does a good job of networking, staying in tune with his customers wants & needs and just having fun with the product.

  7. best deal July 19, 2011 at 9:36 PM - Reply

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  8. golf tips July 20, 2011 at 6:05 PM - Reply

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