The Decanter Power List 2013

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Decanter Power List 2013

The 2013 Power List

The fifth edition of our biennial list of movers and shakers in the wine world brings together the 50 most important people who influence what’s in your glass today. Adam Lechmere counts down to number one…

In compiling the fifth edition of the Decanter Power List, we respected the one key criterion that has informed every Power List entry since 2005: who influences the wine in your glass? To lose sight of that mantra might result in a simple compilation of the world’s biggest wine companies, ignoring the army of gifted winemakers, pioneer oenologists, inspiring teachers, consultants (discreet and otherwise) and merchants who strive to improve the style of wine we drink. Similarly, we have not included such figures as Xi Jinping, the president of China, whose clampdown on extravagant gifting in the People’s Republic has had a significant effect on imports from Bordeaux in particular.

Opinions vary of course as to what may ‘improve’ a wine. For one consultant, or one influential wine buyer, improve may mean ‘make more sellable’. For another, it may mean quite the opposite (there are plenty of brilliant winemakers who will show a supermarket representative the door rather than make their wine more friendly to a mass market). But that is not what we are concerned with: we are trying to present a list of the men and women who have some influence, good or otherwise, over the glass of wine you hold in your hand.

The list is as objective as it is possible to be. In the first place we asked about 35 international journalists, winemakers, Bordeaux négociants, academics, merchants – a distillation of the world’s expertise in wine – for their suggestions (see box below). This produced a list of some 200 names, many of which could be dismissed on the grounds that their influence was rather too local.

But what is most telling is how, in a globalised world, it is possible to reach a mass audience while working on what might be a small canvas. There are consultants on our list who seldom get on a plane, and there are others who live as international jetsetters, and (we think) we prove how both make a difference to your wine, wherever you are. You might approve of our choices, or vehemently disapprove, but we hope you’ll agree that this is a snapshot of the international wine world as it stands at this point of the 21st century.

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.