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These self-proclaimed outsiders have managed to win over an industry allergic to influencers.

Humility is hardly the prevailing quality of the wine world. The industry’s cool factor is contingent on a certain brand of gatekeeping. And for those inside the scene, like Ian Garrity, sommelier at buzzy, lauded New York restaurants Cosme and elNico, some of that exclusivity is warranted. “It’s part of any creative process, no?”

For those on the outside, however, the whole scene can feel rather uninviting. Impenetrable, even. “I imagine I’ll always feel like an imposter until I take on a full-time wine job,” says Ryan Goydos, one half of the Super Vino Bros, the viral social media account he helms with his brother, Chris. “And in part, I think that’s why we’ve been so successful. We’re outsiders and we know that—we’re not pretending to be anything else.”

@supervinobros Blind tasting wine again. Let’s see if we can guess better this time 🤔🍷🫣🥂#naturalwine #wine #naturalwinetok #naturalwines #blindtasting #winetok ♬ original sound - SuperVinoBros

The Bros, who are actual twin brothers, have nearly 40,000 followers on Instagram, and closer to 50,000 on TikTok—a significant reach for the relatively insular world of wine on social media. Their content aims to democratize the natural wine scene: Think explanatory video tutorials whereby the two sample various bottles and expound on relevant grape varieties, regions and producers—along with the occasional blind tasting, in which they’ve yet to identify a single bottle correctly on camera.

This is, of course, fundamental to their charm. They’ve done their research, yes, but they don’t purport to have reached some higher plane of knowledge or taste. “We’re all about giving a stage to the people who actually make this industry run: The winemakers, the importers, the buyers, the somms,” says Chris. “We’re not trying to be the authority on what you should or shouldn’t drink.” 

For now, the Bros still maintain more traditional employment—Ryan as a clinical researcher and Chris as a surgical resident. Born and raised in East Brunswick, New Jersey, the two began recording videos together in the early days of the pandemic, when exploring natural wine territory had become a sincere source of lockdown reprieve. “We just fell in love with natural wine, and we wanted to talk about it,” says Chris. 

The brothers have no plans to parlay the project into a capital-J Job, however. In fact, in lieu of “influencer,” “hobbyist” might be more accurate a term to describe them—a word that’s been all but rinsed from our collective vocabulary as the ever-opportunistic “side hustle” became the ultimate goal.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are days when I feel like I’m already burnt out at the hospital—I’m ready to move to a vineyard or quit and try to open a wine shop,” says Chris. “But right now, we’re not trying to scale this into anything. We’re just two dudes from New Jersey who come home at the end of the workday, hang out and drink natural wine.”

For all our viewers who feel intimidated when they walk into a wine store and see a million château de somethings, I think watching us fumble can be comforting.

Despite the brothers’ tendency to downplay their reach, they have indeed achieved a version of access that is rather rare in the closed-loop niche of the natural wine world. They receive personal tasting invites from major importers, collaborate with popular wine clubs and host pour takeovers at scene-y New York wine bars like Frog, Ernie’s and Cellar 36—spaces where few influencers have trodden before. 

“The question of who is in the room will always be an interesting one,” says Joe Hirsch, who helms importing company Terrestrial Wine Co. Born and raised in a rather pedigreed sector of the wine world (his family owns Hirsch Vineyards), Hirsch’s foray into natural wine came as a departure from his family’s more conventional winemaking lineage. “I can’t pretend my last name didn’t earn me certain access before I’d established myself, and I can absolutely acknowledge how gatekeep-y the wine world can be. It’s a problem—and it’s incredibly limiting for newcomers to the scene.”

Hirsch is hardly the first insider to castigate the relentlessly exclusionary quality of the wine world—or the ways it can sour a person’s interest. And therein lies the unique draw of the Super Vino Bros: They’ll earnestly sacrifice their egos so you don’t have to. “We’re still learning so much; it’s just that we’re doing that learning on camera,” says Chris. “And for all our viewers who feel intimidated when they walk into a wine store and see a million château de somethings, I think watching us fumble can be comforting.”

Beyond the novice drinkers who make up a large portion of their audience, however, industry stakeholders—importers, winemakers, bar owners—are listening, too. “[The Super Vino Bros] show up and participate in the culture in a very real way—as fans, not as ‘personalities,’” says Andy Comer, former GQ editor and founder of natural wine club The Waves—where the Bros curated custom selections this past October. “They’re learners, true explorers—spelunkers of natural wine, basically.”

The Bros attend seminars, portfolio tastings, expos and winemaker dinners, often capturing the events on video to bring their online audience along. They show face at pop-ups, and spend their money at the bars and shops they celebrate on their accounts. This February, I spent time with the pair stumbling around assorted wine fairs in the Loire Valley. (Neither of the twins speaks French, though Ryan is well over 100 days into his Duolingo streak.) 

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At the start of La Dive Bouteille—the Loire Valley’s seminal natural wine fair and the reason for our respective pilgrimages—I found myself at a table with the twins, eating homemade pizza in a château in the small French town of Restigné. “I remember saying out loud, ‘Holy shit, I can’t believe we get to be in this room,’” Ryan recalls of that night. 

Zev Rovine, natural wine importer and master of this particular ceremony, played host, while a roster of reps, restaurant owners, buyers and even winemakers ambled around, refilling glasses liberally. “Sometimes I wonder if industry folks still recognize how insanely special those spaces feel,” says Chris.

Before returning home, the brothers flew from Paris to Mexico City for Chris’ bachelor party—where wine discourse was notably less prominent on the agenda. “Just us, hanging and drinking mezcal with a bunch of Jersey boys,” he says. 

This is, of course, the perfect display of their duality. They have no intention to sit at the center of the wine world. They shed and re-don their Wine Guy identities as they see fit—a luxury not often afforded the folks who have built their lives into the scaffolding of this particular scene. 

“Listen: We’re fans,” says Ryan. “As lame as it may sound, that’s exactly what we are. And I sincerely hope we never become so jaded that we believe otherwise.”

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Tagged: culture, wine

Eliza Dumais is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn, New York. She covers wine, food and travel (hedonism, essentially).