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

10- Matt Kramer: since 1985 he has contributed to Wine Spectator, but he has been writing about wine since 1976, utilizing a style less formal and more open than most wine writers. He is the wine columnist for The Oregonian, and formerly wrote about wine for The New York Sun, and the Los Angeles Times. Praised for lucidity in his writing he has helped champion small wineries and now the commonly understood idea of terrior. He has seven books published about wine.

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9- Doug Frost: is one of only three people in the world to have achieved the title of Master Sommelier and Master of Wine, which puts him in demand as a writer, speaker and wine judge. He has authored three books on wine, contributes to the Oxford Companion of Wine, the San Francisco Chronicle, Underground Wine Journal, Drinks International, Practical Winery & Vineyard, Wines & Vines, Wines & Spirits, Cheers Magazine, and Santé Magazine, among others. His incredible depth of knowledge and understanding of wine makes him sought after as an educator, impacting a variety of wine lovers, and he does this with humor and pinpoint accuracy.

8- Adam Strum: as Founder and Chairman of Wine Enthusiast Companies and Editor and Publisher of Wine Enthusiast Magazine Strum heads up the largest group of wine commerce and media companies in the world. With more than 800,000 readers Wine Enthusiast Magazine provides editorial content and authoritative reviews and ratings of tens of thousands of wines every year. The Wine Enthusiast catalog and web business is the world’s leading inventor and seller of wine accessories and wine storage with catalogs distributed to more than 300 million wine-related publications in the United States and around the world.

7- James Laube: Everyone knows his name and as the lead taster and wine writer for Wine Spectator, Laube’s influence has been non-stop for almost 30 years. His four books on wine helped earn him a James Beard Award for best wine book of the year.

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Laube’s influence is best expressed via the incredible sales that his recommendations provide to high-end and low-end wineries alike. People read and respect his opinion and therefore wines are bought and sold based on his recommendations. You may not agree with him, but you cannot doubt his influence.

6-Gina Gallo: With over 24 wine brands, and over 70 millions cases of wine produced and tens of thousands of acres of grapes, E. & J. Gallo Winery is the world's largest family-owned winery and the largest exporter of California wine. Gina Gallo is winemaker, spokesperson and all around wine supporter. But beyond that she has tirelessly promoted wine in general and helped quality control and quality assurance for her wines on the backend. Long gone are the days when the name Gallo was associated with Ripple and Thunderbird and their offerings also include higher end fine wines. Sure, they are a wine-behemoth, but they sell more wine than anybody.

5- Rob Sands: As president and CEO of Constellation Brands, Sands oversees 4,300 employees, sales in 125 countries and operations at approximately 30 facilities. Yes, they are a publicly traded company and yes as a distributor, not everyone likes them, but they move an immense amount of wine. Brands include Clos du Bois, Robert Mondavi, Franciscan Estate, and Ravenswood. They remain the biggest seller by volume of premium-category wines priced between $5 and $15. Oh, and they launched 20 new labels in 2012.

4- Wayne Chaplin: is the president and COO of Southern Wine & Spirits, the nation’s largest spirits and wine distributor with estimated revenues of more than $9 billion, about half of that being wine. You may dislike the distribution system in the U.S., but you cannot ignore them. The company has operations in 34 states and Washington, D.C., and also has a distribution license for the state of Texas. They employ nearly 12,000 people, and they move a lot of wine.

3- Marvin Shanken: is editor and publisher of Wine Spectator, one of the top wine magazines in the world. Spectator’s Top 100 Wines has become something of an annual wine bible. In addition to Spectator, Shanken exerts influence via Impact Databank Reports, an annual industry publication which provides raw wine data, and trade publications Market Watch and Food Arts. Today Wine Spectator is read by nearly 3 million people and exerts tremendous influence with its reviews on wines, up and coming wine regions, and food.

2- Annette Alvares-Peters: is the merchandise manager for wine, spirits and beer for Costco, and Costco is America’s largest beverage alcohol retailer selling wine in 433 stores in the U.S and Puerto Rico, and an additional 165 stores in seven foreign countries with 68 million members. Wine revenues alone reached an astounding $1.4 billion for 2012 and 70 % of those sales were U.S. domestic wines. They move an immense amount of wine, including their own Kirkland label, and have made wine much more accessible to the masses.

1-Robert Parker: Love him or hate him, Robert McDowell Parker has had the single most significant impact on wine. His once unquestioned authority is diminishing to be sure - though he’s on track to now focus on China). Nonetheless there is no single person, at this point in time, who has ever wielded as much influence. His 100 point rating system has forever changed how wines are scored and perceived. His influence from his Wine Advocate newsletter still means that winemakers and winery owners craft their wines to suit his tastes, though no one will actually admit it. No other single critic in the last three decades has held that kind of influence, and in this day of segmented media attention, no one will again. Right or wrong, good or bad, Parker’s influence has been monumental. Say what you will, Robert Parker has impacted American wine more than any other single individual.