Friday, August 30, 2013

The 2013 Decanter Wine Power List

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller with Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier in Washington DC. Olivier Bernard is also the President of the UGCB and #40 on the 2013 Decanter Wine Power List

When the British Wine Journal Decanter released the Decanter Wine Power List 2011 – the 50 most influential people in the wine world – I was very surprised (and pleased) to find myself - with my fellow bloggers around the world – on the list: the Amateur Wine Blogger made its first appearance at number 16. This year, the Amateur Wine Blogger is no longer listed.

Vendredi du Vin #57: Des Vins Super-héroïques - Des Vignerons Super-héroïques (Super-heroic Wines - Super-heroic Winemakers)

This posting is being published as part of the Vendredis du Vin, a monthly blog event in France. Participating wine bloggers - mainly in France - are all releasing postings today under the same heading. This month's Vendredi du Vin is orchestrated byTom Delanoue from Reims: "C’est donc avec grand plaisir que je vous propose de plancher sur ce thème des vins super-héroïques pour les vendredis du vin des mois de juillet/août 2013. Est-ce que pour vous une bouteille est un super-héros à part entière ? Ou peut-être un vigneron ? A moins que vous ne soyez convaincu que le héros de votre enfance – fût-t’il Super Dupont – a une bouteille préférée… Bref, faites vous plaisir !"

I am presenting and reviewing the 2013 Decanter Wine Power List: The 50 super.heroes in the wine industry around the world.

2013 Wine Power List

Here is this year’s list.

1 Pierre Pringuet (Position 1 in 2011)
CEO, Pernod Ricard, 63 - the 60-year-old executive presides over the world’s fourth biggest wine company, Pernod Ricard, owner of brands from Champagne Mumm and Perrier-Jouet to Jacob’s Creek and New Zealand’s Brancott Estate. Pernod Ricard spans both the mass-market and premium end of the global wine market.
2 Wu Fei (8)
Chairman/general manager COFCO Wines & Spirits, 49
3 Eric de Rothschild (2)
President, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite), 72 – he has looked after the portfolio of Domaines Barons de Rothschild for 37 years. He has shot up from number 20 3 years ago on the basis of Chateau Lafite’s huge influence in China.
4 Annette Alvarez Peters (6)
Assistant general merchandise manager for wine, spirits and beer, Costco, 51
5 Mel Dick (4)
Senior vice-president, Southern Wine & Spirits of America; vice-president of wine division, 77
6 Robert Sands (5)
Chairman, Constellation Brands, 55
7 Michel Rolland (18)
International consultant, 65
8 Aubert de Villaine (30)
Co-owner/co-director, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, 73
9 Robert Parker Jr (3)
Chairman and CEO, The Wine Advocate, 65
10 Jancis Robinson
MW OBE (10)
11 John D Watkins (–)
CEO, ASC Fine Wines (age withheld)
12 Yang Wenhua (–)
Managing director, C&D Wines, 43
13 Steven Spurrier (13)
Consultant editor, Decanter, 71
14 Bernard Arnault (11)
Chairman and CEO, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, 64
15 Dan Jago (14)
Group wine director, Tesco, 53
16 Pierre Castel (19)
President and founder, Groupe Castel, 86
17 Gina Gallo (15)
Winemaker, E&J Gallo, 46
18 Nobutada Saji (12)
President, Suntory, 67
19 Robert Shum (17)
Founder, Aussino World Wines, 50
20 Eduardo Guiliasti (9)
CEO, Concha y Toro, 61
21 Miguel Torres Maczassek (–)
General manager, Miguel Torres, 38
22 Mathieu Chadronnier (41)
General manager, CVBG Grands Crus, 35
23 David Dearie (–)
CEO/executive director, Treasury Wine Estates, 50
24 Jean-Charles Boisset (25)
Proprietor, Boisset Family Estates, 43
25 Jeannie Cho Lee MW (26)
Journalist, 44
26 Stéphane Derenoncourt (33)
International consultant, 50
27 David Pedrol (–)
Product director,, 32
28 Pierre-Antoine Castéjà (34)
Managing director, Joanne Bordeaux,
29 Tony Laithwaite (20)
Chairman, Direct Wines, 67
30 Marvin Shanken (21)
President and founder, M Shanken Communications, 69
31 Simon Berry (27)
Chairman, Berry Bros & Rudd, 55
32 Bob Peter (–)
President and CEO, Liquor Control Board of Ontario
33 Magdalena Gerger (–)
CEO, Systembolaget, 49
34 Denis Dubourdieu (37)
International consultant, 62
35 Allen Meadows (40)
Writer and publisher,, 59
36 Jacques and Eric Boissenot (–)
Consultants, Laboratoire Boissenot
37 Piero Antinori (35)
President, Marchesi Antinori, 74
38 Ch’ng Poh Tiong (32)
Publisher, The Wine Review, 57
39 John Kapon (31)
CEO, Acker Merrall & Condit, 41
40 Olivier Bernard (–)
Owner, Domaine de Chevalier; president, Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, 53
41 Yasuhisa Hirose (48)
President, Enoteca, 63
42 Paolo Pong (–)
Owner, Altaya Wines, 36
43 Pedro Parra (49)
Soil expert, 43
44 Li Demei (–)
Consultant winemaker, 43
45 Stephen Browett (–)
Chairman, Farr Vintners, 53
46 Gary Boom (39)
Managing director, Bordeaux Index, 54
47 Eduardo Chadwick (–)
President, Viña Errázuriz, 53
48 Judy Leissner (–)
CEO, Grace Vineyards, 34
49 Frédéric Rouzaud (46)
Managing director, Champagne Louis Roederer, 45
50 Michael Hill Smith MW (42)
Co-owner, Shaw + Smith, age 58


The list reflects the two dominant trends of the international wine world: globalization and the rise of Asia.

Ten of the 50 listed luminaries have a strong Asian connection. 2 years ago, there were only 6 of them. New on the list this year are: Yang Wenhua (12), Paolo Pong (42), Winemaker Li Demei (44) und Judy Leissner ( 48), CEO of the Chinese winery Grace Vineyards. You can also add to them a number of names from the West with strong ties to the East, like John D Watkins (11), David Pedrol (27) and David Dearie (23).

Wu Fei, head of the wine and spirits division of the COFCO, China’s state-owned Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation, is the new #2 (up from #8 last year). COFCO makes wine (Great Wall brand), invests in wine properties (Chateau Viaud in Bordeaux) and is a key potential partner for anyone in the world who wants to sell bulk wine into the Chinese market.

The China connection also might explain Aubert de Villaine’s rise from #30 to #8. Aubert de Villaine is co-owner of Domaine de la Romanée Conti (DRC). 2013 has been seen by many as the year that Chinese investors and collectors lost interest in Bordeaux and turned their attention to Burgundy. So, no surprise that DRC, perhaps the most sought-after Burgundy wine, would surge in the ranking.

From a German perspective, I am surprised that Alexander Margaritoff does not show up on the list. He is the CEO of Hawesko, the largest wine trade company in Europe and the largest on-line wine retailer in the world.

Here are the wine writers on the list: Robert Parker (9), Jancis Robinson (10), Steven Spurrier (13), Jeannie Cho Lee (25), Marvin Shanken (30), Allen Meadow (35) and Ch’ng Poh Tiong (38).

In compiling the Power List, Decanter consulted the following people: Pedro Ballesteros MW, Jon Bonné (San Francisco Chronicle), Gary Boom (Bordeaux Index), Jim Boyce (, Stephen Browett (Farr Vintners), Andrew Caillard MW, Bob Campbell MW, Mathieu Chadronnier (CVBG Grands Crus), Ch’ng Poh Tiong, Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Phil Crozier (Gaucho), Charles Curtis MW, Victor de la Serna, Ian D’Agata, Pierre-Henri Gagey (Louis Jadot), Peter Gago (Penfolds), Anthony Hanson MW, Michael Hill-Smith MW, James Lawther MW, John Livingstone- Learmonth, Giles MacDonogh, Nico Manessis, Debra Meiburg MW, Jasper Morris MW, Fiona Morrison MW, Joel Payne, John Platter (Platter’s Wine Guide), Fabricio Portelli (El Conocedor), Peter Richards MW, Don St Pierre Jr (ASC Fine Wines), Eleonora Scholes, Larry Stone, Paul Symington, John Terlato (Terlato Wines International), Miguel A Torres.

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