Decanter has published its bi-annual Power List of the 50 most influential figures in the international wine world - and Pernod Ricard's chief executive is in top position.
Pierre Pringuet, CEO of ‘arguably today’s most diverse, far-reaching major wine producer’ has knocked Constellation’s Robert Sands from the number one slot.
The 60-year-old executive (pictured), number 10 in 2009’s Power List, presides over the world’s fourth biggest wine company, 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, giving it ‘an enviable perspective on the rate of change currently affecting the wine world,’ Decanter argues.
In second place is Eric de Rothschild, who has looked after the diverse portfolio of Domaines Barons de Rothschild for 37 years.
He has shot up from number 20 on the basis of Chateau Lafite’s huge influence in China: ‘as the world’s premium producers blaze a trail east, it is in Lafite’s footsteps they tread.’
Robert Parker goes down one to number three: his power as the world’s most influential wine critic is not in doubt, but as he farms out more and more key regions, ‘it is continuing slowly to diminish,’ Decanter suggests.
Elsewhere in the Power List the huge influence of the Far East is evident, with Don St Pierre Jr of ASC Fine Wines in China moving from number 16 to number seven, Wu Fei of Chinese giant Cofco comes in at number eight, Robert Shum of Aussino moves from 28 to 17, and Nobutada Saji of Suntory – now owner of ASC – comes in at 12.
Finally, making a first appearance at number 16 is a character whose influence has grown exponentially over the last two years: the Amateur Wine Blogger.
‘As social media continues its relentless online spread, everyone is now a critic,’ Decanter says.
Editor Guy Woodward earmarked three major trends in this year’s list: the rise of Asia, the empowerment of the consumer and the increasing diversity of the wine world.
‘The fact that we argued long and hard about our number one speaks volumes for the continuing democratisation of wine and the slow move from the power of single dominant forces,’ he said.
The 2011 Power List appears in the July issue of Decanter magazine, out now.
Written by Adam Lechmere