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Decanter “Most Powerful” List Built Upon Snobbery Rather Than Power

Decanter’s annual “Powerful” list is based not so much on power, clout, or the ability to move markets, but on a snobbish gaze at a small self-indulgent world that is increasingly irrelevant to the vast majority of the globe’s wine drinkers.

Indeed, the wine industry’s obsession with the navel-gazing worship of sacred grapes blessed by the gods since 1855 is one key reason wine remains  a self-marginalized beverage.

Small wonder that so many people who have a real life choose to punt on haut vin’s rituals and mumbo-jumbo and order a vodka or an IPA instead.

The smattering of truly powerful in Decanter’s list — those with the clout to move markets — are buried amid all too many high-profile, but irrelevant, personalities whose presence is due more to the fact that they are all part of  “The Club” rather than actual power. And a fair number of the names on the list seem there as part of the magazine’s way to suck up to those it needs to curry favor with.

The people on this list are highly learned, accomplished and clearly exercise an extraordinary power, but not all of them have the ability to change tastes and move markets as well as Bronco’s Fred Franzia, The Wine Group’s David Kent or Sutter Home’s Bob Trinchero.

It’s hard to see true global power when you’re staring down your nose through disdain-colored glasses.

Decanter List of 2011’s “Most Powerful”

Annette Alvarez-Peters
Piero Antinori
Bernard Arnault
Lorenzo Bencistà-Falorni
Simon Berry
Jean-Charles Boisset
Gary Boom
Pierre Castel
Nicolás Catena
Sylvie Cazes
Mathieu Chadronnier
Jeannie ChoLee
Ghislain de Montgolfier
Eric de Rothschild
Stéphane Derenoncourt
Aubert deVillaine
Mel Dick
Denis Dubourdieu
Wu Fei
Peter Gago
Gina Gallo
Eduardo Guilisasti
Pierre-Marie Guillaume
Michael Hill Smith
Yasuhisa Hirose
Dan Jago
Hugh Johnson
Nicolas Joly
John Kapon
Tony Laithwaite
Eric Levine
Allen Meadows
Robert Parker
Pedro Parra
Ch’ng Poh Tiong
Pierre Pringuet
Jancis Robinson
Michel Rolland
Frédéric Rouzaud
Nobutada Saji
Robert Sands
Marvin Shanken
Robert Shum
Steven Spurrier
Don St Pierre Jr
Serena Sutcliffe
Miguel Torres
Gary Vaynerchuk
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