Online Wine Show Featured in Winston-Salem Newspaper

The online wine show that I co-host and produce was recently featured in an article in the Winston-Salem Journal. Michael Hastings, Journal Food Editor, interviewed Kipp and me separately and wrote the following article. Here’s a link to article, but I have also reproduced it below if that link ever breaks. It was a great article, and people who read the piece went to our site to check out our show.

Web site is fresh way to discover N.C. wines
Let’s say you’re interested in learning about North Carolina wine.

You could start spending your weekends touring area wineries.

You could even go to the supermarket or a wine store and pick up a bottle at random.

Or you could log on to and learn about the wines vicariously from two curious Raleigh residents.

Kipp Bodnar and Jeff Cohen started in May. The Web site now has more than 30 videos of the two men trying North Carolina wines: swirling, sipping, tasting and giving their opinions.

Bodnar and Cohen both work in social-media marketing. They help companies get hip to Twitter, Facebook and other new media forms to help them market their products.

Division of labor

“I was thinking one day, ‘I have wine from California and Washington. But I know nothing about wine from North Carolina,'” Bodnar said.

“We just said, ‘Why don’t we try out the wine — and video ourselves while we’re doing it.'”

“I thought it sounded like a great idea,” Cohen said. “We could do a video and people could learn with us.”

Cohen, 44, is a film buff and is handy with a video camera. Bodnar is a self-professed foodie.

“Kipp is the wine guy,” Cohen said. “He is much more focused on the flavors and on describing the wine. And in the show, I’m trying to find what he’s describing.”

Cohen said he has always been interested in wine but didn’t really know that much about it. So in the videos, he’s the novice drinker who’s learning just like the people watching the videos.

Bodnar, 27, said he has been influenced by Gary Vaynerchuk’s popular as well as other podcasts. “I’ve watched his show for a long time. This is a niche that you can’t get on TV,” he said.

Having a lot of fun

Bodnar and Cohen try to post four videos a week. Every Tuesday and Thursday they post a video review. On Wednesdays, they post some kind of video tip. On Fridays, they retaste a reviewed wine with a particular food.

So far, they have posted more than 30 reviews. They are also using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to share their findings.

For a review, sometimes they visit a winery. But generally, they just buy a bottle.

One thing they never do is taste the wine before they hit the record button. “When you see us on camera, that’s the first time we’re tasting the wine,” Bodnar said. “This is about as honest and authentic as you can get.”

They will rate the wine from one to five bottles, with five being the best. They gave five bottles to the Skull Camp Confusion, a new second-label rose from Round Peak Vineyards near Mount Airy, and to Vermentino from Raffaldini Vineyards. They gave only one and half bottles to such wines as Raylen Vineyards 2005 Carolinius and Westbend Vineyards 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon.

When they do visit a winery, they shoot their videos on site. Bodnar said that wineries have been nice about leaving them alone to shoot the reviews.

“We go in with the understanding that we’re going to give our honest opinions,” Bodnar said.

He mentioned that when they picked up a bottle of Duplin wine at the store and tried it, they hated it. And they posted a negative review on their site. “But what happened after that was the owner wanted us to come to the winery,” Bodnar said. “We went and had a good time, and when we were ready to shoot, the owner just walked away.”

Neither of them has ties to the wine industry. The site is just a hobby.

“I spend a lot of time doing things that are serious and intense,” Cohen said. “This is a great way to spend time doing something really fun. And we are having so much fun. We’re never going to run out of videos because the goal is to try every bottle of wine made in North Carolina.”

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen