The 2nd Annual “Top 100 Most Influential People in the U.S. Wine Industry" – 2013

70- Eric Solomon: of European Cellars based in North Carolina is an importer of French and Spanish wines to the U.S. best expressed in his philosophy of “place over process.” Many of his selections receive top scores in the national wine press and thereby expose the population to everything from Cava to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. He was named by Food & Wine Magazine as the Top Importer in the U.S. and Solomon has been featured in every major wine trade publication.

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69- Robert Trinchero: Vintners Hall of Fame inductee Bob Trinchero took over Sutter Home Winery and made Amador County Zinfandel, purchasing fruit from some of the oldest vines in California. In 1972, looking for a way to make the wine more intense, he drained off some of the juice before fermentation and left some natural sugar in it. Say what you want about White Zinfandel, it was affordable, introduced non-wine drinkers to wine, and preserved some old Zinfandel vineyards that might have been lost forever. Wine Spectator gave Trinchero its Distinguished Service Award for “having introduced more Americans to wine on the table than anyone in history.”

68-Evan Goldstein: as a Master Sommelier, author of two books and co-author of several other books on wine and frequently nominated for James Beard awards as Outstanding Wine Professional, his wine education reach is global. He regularly contributes to Santé magazine, Sommelier Journal, as well as Wine & Dine, Singapore’s wine and food publication, and Wine Review, South Korea’s leading wine and food magazine. He is the president of Full Circle Wine Solutions, a global wine education firm.

67- Peter Mondavi, Jr.: Along with patriarch Peter Mondavi, Sr., heads up the flourishing Charles Krug Winery and CK Mondavi Family Vineyards. Amidst corporate buy-outs up and down the Napa Valley, Mondavi has been determined to keep Charles Krug in the family, and to preserve the 850 estate vineyards, farming them sustainably. Additionally he has helped preserve the historical legacy of wine in the Napa Valley by refurbishing the original buildings on the property, thus maintaining one of the oldest wineries in California.

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66- Steve Heimoff: has been the West Coast Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine since 1994, and previously from 1989 to 1994 he was a contributor to Wine Spectator. He is the author of two books on wine, a frequent wine judge and speaker and his wine blog, while pulling no punches, is quite popular in its direct approach to the world of wine.

65-Gary Eberle: has earned the title, the “grandfather of Paso Robles wine.” One of the first to purchase major acreage in Paso, and then build one of the first large commercial wineries long before anyone had ever heard of the area, his tireless promotion of the Paso Robles wine region is clearly evidence today with a region labeled as “the next Napa.” As the single most awarded winery in the country, constantly winning at competitions across the U.S., Eberle continues to promote not only Paso Robles, but wines which reflect a sense of place, while retaining solid value.

64- Daryl Groom: has held numerous positions in the wine industry including Vice President of Winemaking & Operations for Peak Wines International, and Beam Wine Estates, and both Senior White Winemaker, then Senior Red Winemaker for Penfolds Wines in Australia. His foundation was producing Penfolds famed red wine, Grange, which he oversaw six years. He has been named Winemaker of the Year by the LA Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, the Huston Chronicle, Quarterly Review of Wines, and others. He currently produces Groom Wines, and judges at international wine competitions.

63- Clark Smith: is a respected winemaking innovator and wine production consultant. As Adjunct Professor at CSU Fresno he lectures on innovative views of winemaking, presenting new technologies. He is a leading authority on the enhancement of wine structure and a vocal proponent of living soil. He developed a host of winemaking techniques including the use of reverse osmosis to optimize wine grape maturity and tannin refinement through micro-oxygenation.

62- Greg Jones: is a climatologist, and Professor of Geography at the Department of Environmental Studies at Southern Oregon University who conducts applied research for the wine industry. He was named One of the Top 50 Most Influential People in the Wine World by Decanter magazine for his global ability to present climate change to wineries, a subject which needs to be taken seriously. He consults around the world on the relationship between climate change and grapes and lectures frequently.

61-Kenneth Volk: started Wild Horse Winery in Templeton, which he built into a powerhouse national brand. After selling Wild Horse Volk resumed winemaking by starting Kenneth Volk Vineyards in Santa Maria. But what sets Volk apart is his love for and constant support and promotion of heirloom varieties like Negrette, Cabernet Pfeffer, Blaufrankish and Aglianico, among others. With winemakers like Volk many of these relatively unknown wines might never get made, and never be appreciated by the public.