As part of the Mutineer Magazine National Promotion Tour, I stopped by the Wine Library in Springfield, New Jersey to film an episode of Wine Library TV with Mutineer Issue 3 Cover Guy Gary Vaynerchuk.
After getting hosed for $80 on the cab ride from Secaucus to Springfield, I found myself with two hours to kill, so I took a quick tour with Gary’s Assistant Matt, getting his thoughts about the Wine Library along the way:
“That crack on the floor down there is where the old store ended. It was just the first floor. Instead of 5 or 6 cash registers, there were two, and they sold cigarettes, candy, and lottery tickets…the whole nine. It was a corner liquor store, but it was also jammed to the gills with wine…all the way up to the ceiling…This location opened about five years ago, and was renovated and tacked onto the existing space. The wine room was the last thing to be opened, because we were waiting for that floor to arrive, which Gary’s mom actually found. It used to be the tile floor in some old winery in France…” — Matt
Matt shouts to another Wine Library employee, “Jim! Do you know the provenance of the tile?”
There is no doubt in Jim’s mind, ‘Burgundy’.
Another staff member chimes in, “Corton actually”.
A line has been drawn in the sand, and Jim delivers the knockout punch, “You might even go back to Corton-Charlemagne”.
Yes, wine geeks in a battle of wit and trivia…Gary has trained his staff well. We venture into the new wine room, featuring the rarest and most sought after wines at the Wine Library.
“People do buy these. A lot of people will come and just think it’s a museum, but stuff moves, and we always try to also feature stuff in here that isn’t over the top, like thirty bucks a bottle, that are worthy…good wines.” — Matt
Alan Kropf: How much of the wine from Wine Library TV ends up in the store?
Matt from WLTV: Much of the wine on the show is taken from wine that is already here. He does accept submissions, and we do that very occasionally. There have been a couple of times where he’s tasted something [that he doesn’t carry] and said ‘We need to figure out how to get this’
What’s the culture like working at the Wine Library?
It’s amazing. It’s why I’m here. I was a disgruntled graduate student studying experimental psychology in a PhD program and was miserable. I quit, came home, and got a job here working in the orders department, really just to make a few dollars. I was interested in wine, but I wasn’t looking at this as a career…I was just answering the phone. Gary pulled me aside within the first couple of weeks and said ‘This is my agenda, I want to keep you here and have become a part of what we’re doing.’ And now I do a lot of different things.
Here are some more pictures of my visit to the Wine Library, and click here to see some of the companies featured in Mutineer Magazine that the Wine Library carries.
Joe from Pizza Vino filmed before me and agreed to join the Mutiny and wear one of our stickers during his taping.
Gary’s developed the reputation of branding guru for a reason, just one example of Wine Library/Vaynerchuk Schwag. (Mott even has is own t-shirt. My web guy Jeff found out and is demanding his own t-shirt as well, and threatening to Mutiny against Mutineer Magazine if we don’t comply with his demands of creating a black t-shirt with his face on it through an 8-bit Nintendo graphics filter. He also wants the t-shirt to incorporate buttons, a zipper, and a pocket for a money clip…stay tuned)
Sitting down to film. My photographer is a die-hard Seahawks fan, and I thought I was until Gary put me to the test. All the Jets stuff made my photographer nervous during the shoot, so this is really the only photo he got…FAIL.