I’m inspired by Gary Vaynerchuk’s story (Twitter: @garyvee). He followed his family’s passion starting when he was 17 and not old enough to drink wine. He knew there were descriptions of wine like bouquets of leather, violet, berries, etc. and decided to taste all of these flavors to develop his palate until he turned 21. By then, his nose and tongue were sophisticated enough to likely challenge the venerable Robert Parker, but instead of taking his reviews to the high-falutin, he kept them real and raw, attracting the regular folk who enjoy a glass or two but couldn’t really differentiate between a bouquet of under-ripened strawberries vs. vanilla-scented cherry.

The New York Times writes: 

He begins with the usual jargon, talking about nose and mid-palate, describing flavors like apricot, buttered popcorn and lilacs, as many wine writers do. But then he departs from the script, saying a wine smells like a sheep butt or that drinking it is like biting into an engine.

With his authentic voice, irascible sense of humor and clever commentary, he built a following worldwide and even appeared on such shows as Today, Ellen Degeneres and Conan O’Brian.

“My mission is to build wine self-esteem in this country,” he said. “I want people to know their palate is a snowflake. We all like different things. Why should we all have the same taste in wines?”

So when you’re wondering how to build your Twitter base, or how to lift your company’s awareness amongst the crowd, just remember the simple tenets of success: keep it real, keep it simple, and live it passionately.

“It’s about stories,” he said. “If I can tell the story to America, whether it’s riesling or a boxer from Harlem, it will sell.”

He pauses. “I know on my gravestone it’s going to be, ‘Storyteller.’ ”