The Decanter Power List 2013
29 Tony Laithwaite (20)
Chairman, Direct Wines, 67 The Sunday Times Rich List puts Laithwaite’s family at 410th richest in the UK. With a turnover of £350m, 50 million bottles shifted, 2,500 wines in stock, 1,000 employees and 200,000 new customers a year, Laithwaites is the world’s biggest mail-order business, operating the Sunday Times Wine Club, and owning Averys, Virgin Wines and Warehouse Wines. It has 11 shops, makes wines in France, has an education centre, and runs a mentoring scheme in McLaren Vale, Australia. Almost a quarter of the company’s business is in the US, where turnover has reached $100m (£65m). The wines are by no means always loved by critics but the head of the business is well respected.