Submissions for the second Decanter survey of the 50 most influential people in the wine industry – the Power List – have begun pouring in.
Decanter asked dozens of international critics, merchants and opinionated wine insiders to say who has most influence in today’s wine world.
The first Power List appeared in Decanter in July 2005 (pictured), when pole position was taken by Constellation Brands chief Richard Sands, followed by Robert Parker, Mel Dick of the US giant Southern Wine and Spirits, Michel Rolland, Jacques Chirac and Ernest Gallo.
Number 50 in the list was Alexander Payne, director of Sideways – the film held responsible for the quantum jump in worldwide sales of Pinot Noir.
Given the significant changes since the first Power List, there will be some new faces among the top 10.
‘Two years is a very long time in the wine industry,’ said Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp. ‘It will be very interesting to see where the influence has shifted, given that some people have died, others have changed jobs, and in several cases, fathers have ceded responsibility to their children.’
Many people who appeared among the first list of wine power brokers are likely to move to a new spot on the list, or fall off altogether.
Since 2005, for example, Rolland has dropped many consultancies and may well go down in the listing. French president Jacques Chirac is soon to be out of office, pioneering winemakers Ernest Gallo and controversial reformer Rene Renou have died, and scions of wine dynasties like Antinori, Torres and Rouzaud of Louis Roederer have been passed the baton.
As well as this, geopolitical centres of power have shifted. ‘The impact of Asian interest in the fine wine market – particularly in China – continues to grow, though how this is reflected in the Power List remains to be seen,’ Kemp said, pointing out that Decanter was the first western wine magazine to launch a dedicated Chinese language edition, in November 2005.
The second biennial Power List will appear in the July 2007 issue of Decanter. Readers will be able to cast their own vote on decanter.com in May.
Written by Maggie Rosen