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Gary Vaynerchuk wants you to think outside of the box wine

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Gary Vaynerchuk wants you to think outside of the box wine

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Epcot has long been noted known for its mix of education and entertainment. Which is why Gary Vaynerchuk fits in perfectly at this theme park.

This self-trained wine expert flew into Orlando late last week to help kick-off the 14th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. And in his own inimitable fashion (i.e. “No one likes to drink things that taste like sheep butt or smell like your socks after you’ve been running”), Gary held court this past Friday in the old Odyssey restaurant. Sharing his thoughts on three distinct vintages with one lucky group of WDW visitors.

Gary Vaynerchuk works the room in EPCOT
Gary Vanderchuk works the room at Friday’s wine seminar.
Photo by Nancy Stadler

Continually hammering home his mantra of “You gotta try new things,” the “King of Social Media” shared a Chianti Classico, a Green Point Reserve Shiraz and a Sartori Di Verona at this wine seminar. And those who gathered at the Odyssey just roared with delight as Vaynerchuk described one wine at Friday’s event as tasting “ … like someone stuck razor blades in your mouth, but in a good way.”

Yeah, there’s a reason that Vaynerchuk has been called a rock star in the wine world. Rather than being polite and/or following convention, Gary tells it like it is. He steers people away from the obvious choices (“Don’t go to Napa. I know that this isn’t really a thing nice to say while we’re all together here at Epcot. But Napa is like a theme park”), and directs them to the really good stuff (“For a really terrific experience, you want to go to Washington State – specifically to Walla Walla – and sample some of the reds up there. There the vintners aren’t going to try & gouge you. They’ll cook you dinner, they’ll let you pet their dog. You’ll have a far more authentic experience”).

Food and Wine Festival Walt Disney World 2009
Photo by Nancy Stadler

Now please don’t misunderstand. It’s not that Vaynerchuk isn’t a fan of theme parks. As the father of a four-month-old, Gary can’t wait to bring his daughter to Disney World. To introduce Misha to Mickey Mouse.

More to the point, Gary just loves the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Given that it encourages so many WDW visitors to try new things.

“Where else in the U.S. are you going to find a set-up like this?,” Vaynerchuk enthused. “Where you’ll find so much variety in food and drink all in one place?”

EPCOT's Food & Wine Festival 2009
Photo by Nancy Stadler

As he wrapped up his seminar, Gary encouraged all those inside of the Odyssey to take a stroll around World Showcase and sample a little bit of everything (“There are over 300 different varieties of wine. But out of those 300, do you know how many Americans drink? 11. 12 now that Hollywood has told us it’s okay to drink Pinot”).

In short, what Gary did for those Epcot Guests was exactly was he does for the 90,000 people who regularly view his webcast, “The Thunder Show.” Which is give these consumers a little confidence. Encourage them to think outside the box wine (Which – FYI – Vaynerchuk is a big fan of).

Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT 2009
 Photo by Nancy Stadler

The 14th annual International Food & Wine Festival continues at Epcot through November 8th. Over the next six weeks, WDW visitors will have the chance to sample cuisine from over 25 international marketplaces (Including the new-for-this-year Rio de Janeiro, Brazil & Bangkok kiosks). For further information on this fun foodie event, please click on this link.

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