After reading through this incredibly long chain, I felt compelled to post.
I think those who do not know GaryV are baffled at why the Vaynernation comes so quickly to his defense, but it is really very simple. Gary has done a tremendous job of becoming the voice of the people, something that I think has been squarely missing from the wine community.
I love Parker and WS as much as anyone and they serve a very specific role and excel in their respective areas. Gary is doing something they aren't doing. He is interfacing with the consumer in a very direct, targeted, highly immersive, and inclusive way. Most importantly he listens and responds.
As part-critic, part-retailer, part-wine rock star he transcends the traditional box that everyone wants to lump him into. I think he's breaking new ground. His relatability, accessibility and ability to understand the value of the dollar (and that is because of, not in spite of, his retail experience) to me is an advantage to the consumer. He gets that to the average mid-level wine consumer that $25 a bottle is expensive and can provide a unique perspective.
By getting people past entry level offerings and out of their wine comfort zones, he stirs up conversation, debate and hopefully grows interest and demand for good wine. I want more people to be exposed to the depth, complexity, variance and excitement that wine from around the world can offer. Maybe I'm an optimist, but I believe greater interest, purchasing power and demand for better wine will benefit the consumer in the long run.
To do that there is a lot of work to do. The biggest hurdle is to cut through all the snobbery and negative stereotypes that are attached to "wine" as a global brand. There is an intimidation factor or a "not for me" response that needs to be overcome by the casual or uninformed wine drinker. Finally someone is out there dispelling myths and encouraging people to have confidence in their own tasting abilities and opinions about wine.
I am happy that someone like Gary is around that understands the contemporary wine movement. The wine world is changing a lot faster than I think people realize. The world is getting smaller via media and I'm thankful that he's at the forefront helping to lead the charge.