Nominations now open for Wine Person of the Decade! [the Naughties]

wine_person_decadeYesterday on Twitter, we opened a lively discussion about who should be the Wine Person of the Decade (follow along). That’s right, who in the wine world most epitomizes the decade that may one day be called the Naughties? Here’s a summary of the leading nominees thus far–feel free to hit the comments to add others, especially if you have a reason of why they embody the Naughties. Voting starts next week on selected finalists.

@pmabray: two people come to mind Gary Vaynerchuk and Jonathan Newman (formerly head buyer of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board)
@1WineDude: @drvino you’re kidding, right? just give it to Gary V now and get it over with already 🙂
James Molesworth: Michel Chapoutier brought Biodynamics to mainstream…Nicolas Catena, driving force behind resurgence of Argentina….I’d consider both of those categories (which are consumed by the way) way more important than any retailer, ever…
@candidwines: Has anyone had a greater impact on a grape, a region, or a nation’s awareness of both than Sideways writer/director Alexander Payne?
@evandawson: I’d go with someone who took wine away from the pull of sweet, massive, high ABV bombs. I’m sure there’s someone. (Not Nossiter!) I’d say Alice F
@makerstable: Randall Grahm, master of vinous self-reinvention, champion of terroir. Swimming upstream, a little ahead of the rest of the school.
twitter-logo2@RichardPF: For an offbeat pick, Shin & Yoko Kibayashi, the writers of “The Drops of the Gods,” a very influential Japanese wine comic …
@alpanasingh: It would have to be someone who has impacted the value wine market which has improved significantly over the last 10 yrs. Jorge Ordonez?
@dalecruse: @drvino Wine person of the decade is the consumer! Buying more, wider varieties, no longer just listening to what establishment tells them.
@RobertDwyer: Chuck Wagner: Caymus was the most consistent producer in America’s favorite category in the decade.
James Molesworth: Manfred Prum – he’s probably the ultimate low-alcohol producer…so out of date, he’s back in style…
RandallGrahm: Consider Nicolas Joly. Obviously doesn’t make a lot of wine himself, but his impact is far and wide.
@WineExpo: Terry Theise! Reason–> 5000% increase in the market for Grower Champagne
@cathycorison: Jancis Robinson
Alice Feiring: Naughties award? Clark Smith.
@candidwines: I suppose if total influence is my grounds for nominations, I have to consider (thru a clenched jaw) whoever created yellow tail.
Gary Vaynerchuk: hnmmmm people behind sideways or two buck chuck
@sdelong: @drvino wait, it’s all so clear now: Fred Franzia. Clearer than crossflow filtration. Clearer than vigorous enzyme treatments…

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52 Responses to “Nominations now open for Wine Person of the Decade! [the Naughties]”

  1. No offense to Alice, whom I deeply respect, but I threw her name out as a symbolic idea, one that indicates the fad weighted toward 17 ABV wines should and will fizzle. Of course, that’s somewhat wishful thinking, but in my mind the most influential person in wine should be a producer. Someone who makes wine, someone who leads by example.

    To that end, I think James’ idea to go with Catena is compelling. Where was Argentina 10 years ago? Where is it today?

    But I also like someone in the mold of the late Bartolo Mascarello, who refused to change and thus helped show others that fads can be ignored and restraint can still bring greatness.

    Catena, Mascarello, Prum… all good choices.

  2. If we are talking the person who most influenced the “Naughties” both good and bad I think we would be remise in not including…here it comes Tyler are you ready? Your friend Robert Parker!!! While I agree with all the other nominations, they pale in comparison with Mr. Bob when it comes to influencing the consumer, wine buyer, retailer, and producer. One could argue that it is thanks to Robert Parker that we have the likes of Gary V and the ground swell of wine bloggers, all of which look to balance if not replace his dominance.

    I know this is probably going to be a very controversial nomination, however in no way should my nomination be considered an endorsement of Bobby Parker.


  3. I think it’s the US wine consumer, who has become more educated, more refined, and is driving winemakers to make better wine at reasonable prices.

    I also think Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher of the WSJ probably affect more people than Gary V, and they have been saying to trust your own palate for as long as I’ve been reading them. They brought wine reviews to the average Joe (OK, the average Joe who reads the WSJ), and were certainly the biggest influence on me to get me into wine from age 30 to age 40.

  4. How about Andy Beckstoffer?

    His application of corporate branding methods to the growing of grapes may be the most revolutionary thing to come out of the last decade. Agriculture has traditionally leaned toward a “we’re all in this together” brand of communalism. Beckstoffer advocates the hard-core capitalism of differentiation: matching grapes with terroir, aggressively improving quality and limiting yields, and branding vineyards so that the grapes command premium — rather than commodity — prices.

    It’s a radical departure from farming orthodoxy, and it appears to be catching on. If it works, it will change the wine business forever.

  5. Jonathan Nossiter.

  6. Tyler, if the ‘naughties’ are named so because of excess ( first seven years) then it still has to be big Bob. If it is because of the loudness of the millenial wave then it should be the wine librarian Jet-boy. And if it is because of the downward spiral in pricing, the down-tiering of consumption, and the positive move of the general consumer to discover new value offerings in places like Argentina, then it has to be the US economy.

  7. “The consumer” is a cop-out. As bad as Time Magazine’s “person of the year” being “you” a few years back. Everyone gets a trophy!

  8. Gary Vaynerchuk. Randall Grahm. Helen Turley.
    Susannah Balbo. But mostly Gary Vaynerchuk. Like 1WineDude says (and I agree), just go ahead and give to Gary V and get it over with! : )

  9. It really must be (unfortunately) Fred Franzia. If you are all honest with yourselves, you’ll admit that he has had a biggest impact in the U.S. market.

    We would all like to be romantic about it and say that so-and-so is making great wines, but for sheer impact overall….it’s Freddie!

  10. If you want to consider sheer influence on wine in the US, whether good or bad, you might throw Harvey Chaplin (Southern Wine & Spirits) into the mix. The consolidation of wine distribution in the US, mostly during the 00’s, has had–and will continue to have–a huge effect on what wines people buy, how wineries sell wine, which brands get play and which don’t, whether wine shipping laws change (bigger wholesalers, more political clout), etc etc. And Southern would clearly be the largest company in that trend.

  11. Richard Sands- Chairman of Constellation Brands

  12. I think I must agree that it has to be Fred Franzia, and through proxy Charles Shaw and Trader Joes. Two Buck Chuck did more to shake up the wine world than anything else.

  13. Gary Vaynerchuk.

  14. Perhaps his influence is already on the wane, but certainly the last decade was hugely dominated by Robert Parker. His influence on winemaking styles world-over is massive, a bit like the light-bending properties of a ginormous black hole on nearby astral bodies. As I have remarked maybe once or twice, there is now (rather tragically) a great self-consciousness in the wine-business that did not exist before. Winemakers are incredibly aware – too aware, I would suggest – of all of the implications (chiefly fiscal) of every stylistic decision they make. “Tannin management” seems to be such a benign term, at least on the surface, but creating precisely the right textural profile in a wine is now the Holy Grail, at least among the pointillists among us. Parker is a bit like Chauncey Gardner in “Being There,” the right person at the right time who was able to distill the unspoken desire of the anglophonic wine-consuming Volk, looking for “objective” measures of quality without wishing to be bothered by the messy and somewhat subjectivist notion of terroir.

  15. Nicolás Catena is the Wine Person of the last 10 years.(the first decade of this century ends on 2010)

  16. Somewhere Dale Cruse nominated “the consumer” and I second this nomination. All the people mentioned are special and have made positive impacts on every aspect of the wine industry.

    Without the courage of consumers to try, to seek, to hand over their cash, to bring wine home, to share with friends, to make repeat purchases — none of the other nominations have anything to do. Their business efforts would be stuck and in a perpetual rut.

    It’s time, to not take consumers or customers for granted. Let’s say – thank you.


  17. John Casella, the managing director of Casella Wines (the producer of Yellow Tail wines). Like it or not, Yellow Tail is the largest seller of wine in the world. I would guess that since 2000 many of the worlds new wine drinkers started to develop their palette drinking Yellow Tail wines and further expanded their purchasing habits to other wines from all over the globe. In a nut shell, Yellow Tail is responsible for millions of new wine buyers since 2000.


  18. From the perspective of sheer impact on the wine world (from vineyards, to winemaking, to sales channels) the nominees for the Naughties are nothing if not Mega.

    As the owner of a distribution company, I appreciate the technical wizardry of these folks. Fred Franzia identified and then dominated part of market that was underserved; the Yellow Tail folks demonstrated the allure of bright labels; the Southern’s and the Constellations of the world have consolidated brands and extended the market for wine in the US beyond where it ever was before; Parker seems to have cemented the 100 pt scale into our wine culture, celebrating the “explosion” of flavors he loves; others have carved a niche by providing or promoting all sorts of additives.

    But my relationship with wine has nothing to do with Mega. I derive no pleasure from drinking Mega wines, be they expensive and allocated or cheap and omnipresent.
    Who among the front runners have hands calloused by work in the vineyard and winery? These are not the people who make me happy, and for me, that is a cardinal sin. They may have made a lot of money and worked harder than most, but their work does nothing to make me smile as a wine lover. Reflecting on the impact of many of our nominees depresses me. Instead, I offer the person who has impacted my own happiness more than anyone else this decade: Allain Audry.

    You don’t know him, and that’s too bad. Allain ran a shop in Paris called “Les Ultra Vins” into which I stumbled on a Sunday night in 2002. He was hosting a small get together and welcomed me with a glass of something that, like so many of his wines, would have made Alice Feiring jump on a plane to meet the producer. I spent the next two years trading labor for wine on my off days from the restaurants where I was cooking. I went with him to trade tastings in Paris and Anjou and helped with cellar management at his 9th century home in Sancerre. I ate and drank late into the night with his neighbors who insisted on sharing home cured hams and well cellared bottles. I shucked oysters fresh from the Atlantic at Nicolas Joly’s home after the first Rennaissance tasting in exchange for Muscadet poured by Guy Bossard and blends from Alsace poured by Jean Michel Deiss. Allain exposed me to a world in which wine is intimately connected to people, particularly the people who grow it.

    No one has done more for me this decade than Allain whose knowledge, connections, and generosity with his collection taught me that true happiness in wine is founded upon human connections and experiences that simply cannot exist when one lives in a “mega” world. To close out the Mega Naughties, I’ll raise a glass of a wine that you won’t read about on the big boards, that does not have an animal on the label, and certainly won’t be the subject of a lawsuit over the provenance of the grapes it contains. I’ll know the farmer who grew the grapes and the winemaker who captured their essence and I’ll say a quiet, personal thank you to Allain for teaching me how to seek and how to find my own happiness in a glass of wine.

  19. I think, and I suspect I’ll be on the low side of votes here, it should be Robert Parker, in a totally historical fashion. I recall an early day at USQ Wines when someone came in with the WA firmly grasped in his sweaty little hand. Seems Mr. P had mentioned Chateau Pesquie’s basic level Cotes de Ventoux as one of his fav under $15 or so wines.

    At that time, we had somebody else’s basic Cotes de Ventoux, and two (who carries that many Pesquie wines?) Pesquie higher cuvees. I mean, pretty close, right? Nope. This sheep was having none of it. Marched right out in search OF THAT EXACT BOTTLE. The more I learn about wine and the trade, the more I realise how lucky that guy was to find what we DID have, and how hard it would be for him to get that close anywhere else.

    But that was the draw of Robert Parker. His influence was legion, on readers, retailers, and winemakers alike. And, for reasons both historical and aspirational, I’d like to name him as the Wine Person of the Decade. And good riddance.

  20. Lassiter & Franzia. We have a special episode of Survivor featuring the two of them. Could be tasty.

    Otherwise, Joe Dressner.

  21. Fred Franzia for getting us to start believing in value wines.
    Gary V. for changing the whole wine world – or at least helping to chip away at the special occasion/snob factor.

  22. In my opinion Gary V. must be wine person of the Decade because he is changing wine of world.

  23. Gary Vain-er-chuck is most definitely NOT “changing wine of world” or the world of wine. He should be commended for his determination and early use of videoblogging. But his cult has had no appreciable change on wine consumption or the way consumers, except for a few kewl dudes, think of wine.

    The person who has made the greatest impact, which will only grow while Gary gets relegated to the role of another Motivational Speaker, is the appropriately named Eric LeVine, the founder, in 2004, of CellarTracker. Not so much for his cellar management program, which is excellent, but for the capacity of his website to “crowdsource”–to provide an online forum for more than 82,000 individuals to compile notes and scores on recent releases and then share their opinions among each other and with the entire world.

    CellarTracker is the TripAdvisor/Yelp/Chowhound of our industry. Just as the decade should be known for the growth of the Internet, so too should we acknowledge what the early adopters of this technology have done. What sets Eric apart from the various professional cyber commentators is his emphasis on People’s Choice, and not just man-on-the-street people, but discriminating wine loves who just happen to ~buy~ wine, some to collect, but most to drink with their meals and for social occasions.

    Surprised no one else has placed his name in nomination.


  24. Jon Kapon deserves mention. Acker’s auctions, especially their monthly online auctions, have made wines that were previously reserved for the elite available to the average consumer.

  25. I agree with Tom. Eric LeVine’s CellarTracker is the biggest and best thing in wine over the decade.

  26. Another vote for Eric LeVine. In addition to Cellartracker, he is one the most rational and most interesting commentators on wine boards.

  27. Good votes for CellarTracker, but what about the predecessor to his site: Wine Searcher? They have been around since the start of the decade and have had more of an impact – not sure who the founder is.

    Or more recently, Snooth in the US (according to Quantcast they have 10 million users per month!), or VinoGusto in Europe (5 or more languages now).

    I dont think anyone mentioned above actually impacts as many people as these sites do on their own.

  28. Tom, Wes and Dave,

    I am humbled at the mere suggestion that I might be considered. That said, the thing about CellarTracker is that it is explicitly NOT about me. I have been fortunate to bottle up the right combination of homegrown technology to attract a critical mass of users. At this point, while still young (yes 5 years old is still young), CellarTracker is a living, breathing thing unto itself that supersedes me, my code, my database etc. It has more to do with the contributions of the many engaged users than anything else. So a vote for me is actually a vote for the community.

    To Jerry, Wine-Searcher certainly does predate me and I think stretches back to 1999. CellarTracker started as my hobby in March, 2003 and was publicly launched in April, 2004.


  29. Fred Franzia. His impact has been huge in terms of wine drinking, wine sales, market size, etc. Of course, that is very much US based, but think were the wine market would be now if Franzia did not absorb all that extra juice? And total wine sales?

  30. provides an excellent service and one could argue that the various comparative shopping guides, as with the more general pricegrabber, have had a huge impact on the industry, just as Amazon has, in driving down costs to the consumer. They deserve consideration. (the inventor is in Australia; he came out to one of the industry confabs held in Napa recently).

    I still stick with Eric. I thought about nominating the generic CellarTracker member just as Time designates a group from time to time for its “person of the year”. But without Eric’s site they couldn’t perform their function of assessing wines. Eric thought he’d just develop a way to keep better track of the wines in his and friend’s cellars. But over time another aspect emerged–the rating of wines.

    Of all the phenomena associated with the rise of the Internet I still believe the most significant is the placing of the consumer in the forefront of product and service criticism. The Amazon reviews and then the comments on the reviews contribute real value beyond the site’s low prices. Now all retailers have added such mini reviews. It’s almost remarkable that Verizon’s customers are encouraged to evaluate through stars and notes the phones they sell. Engadget’s commentary now seems to be more a set of launching pads for the myriad comments of techies. Yelp and Chowhound have displaced the local restaurant reviewer, movie reviewer, on and on etc.

    If nothing else CellarTracker ratings substantiate or challenge the results of the experts. The other day one of the blogs was discussing the best of ’09 lists: Spectator’s Columbia Crest 2005 Cab Reserve (95 pts) and Enthusiasts 2006 Cambria Julia’s Vineyard Pinot (93 pts.) The awards are given using several criteria not just points,however…. 125 CT members gave the CC Cab a median 92 pts–the same ballpark as Laube’s review if one considers standard deviation. 126 CT members gave the Cambria a median 87 points. Worth checking with other people who buy wine for dinner.

    Yes, we still see RP, WS, WE CG ST attached to write ups on the various wine etailer sites. But now the stage is set for the more meaningful CT initials.


  31. The person who eptimoizes the wine person of the decade will not win a popularity contest on Tyler’s blog. I nominate Harvey Chaplin, the Chairman and CEO, of Southern Wine and Spirits. Harvey is a great american success story working his way up the industry as a part time mail room clerk at Schenley Distillers in the 1940s, to co-founding Southern in 1968 to creating the dominant wholesaler that Southern is today. In the past decade, he and his smart team that includes his son Wayne, Mel Dick and Brad Vassar, to name a few, have now grown the Company into well over ten billion in sales in thrirty markets which include almost all of the most populous states. They distribute over 5,000 brands, have more influence in the wine industry and have brought about massive wholesaler consolidation. Some of Southern’s positions like wholesaler consolidation and opposition to direct shipping are certainly upsetting to many wine lovers including me (as I have supported direct shipping vocally and continuously). Nevertheless, Southern has changed the landscape of how wine is sold in this country and Harvey’s leadership into growing Southern to its present dominance is something that must be respected as it still accounted for the overwhelming majority of how wine was sold in the past decade. Perhaps, the next decade will bring dramatic changes opening up direct winery sales, expanded internet sales and more creative distribution channels, but for the last decade Harvey Chaplin deserves the title of Wine Person of the Decade.

  32. Paul Walsh of Diageo.

    This was perhaps the one company that brought large quantities of Bordeaux into the US every year irrespective of quality. The rest of American market, notoriously vintage conscious, chased the great vintages and bought a fraction in lesser years.

    Diageo’s decision to pull out leaves a huge gap in the marketplace. The only American action will be at premium prices for great vintages (they can’t buy direct any more, so there will be more intermediary profits before the wines get to consumers) and there is going to be precious little wine from the secondary ones that has not been presold.

  33. I have to agree with CellarTracker and Eric. “Social Media” is changing how almost all commerce is taking place. Even though Gary Vee is the maven of social media – CellarTracker is what is bringing it to the world of wine. The community reviews have shaken the world of the professional critics. Reviewers, and eventually retailers, not directly linking to CT will find themselves losing ground to those embracing the community.

    CellarTracker may not be something the mass of casual wine drinkers use but the connections to it are reaching out far and wide. Clearly, the future will be one where even the casual wine buyer will check his or her mobile device for community reviews before picking up that bottle to take home to dinner or ordering off of a restaurant wine list.

  34. Does Al Gore count for inventing the internet? Wineries, wine bloggers and consumers all owe the internet a great deal of gratitude for allowing access to new markets, knowledge of new wines as well as giving us an easy vehicle to write about it and share our passion with the masses.

  35. Broadly speaking, we’re seeing two trends here: “Wine to the masses” people like Franzia and Yellowtail, and people whose work, be it in new media (Gary V., Eric Levine) or winemaking (Nicolas Joly), is generally known only to those with a serious interest in wine. I don’t suggest these are mutually exclusive groups, but are the figures whose impact has an effect on the winedrinking habits of both my mother (can’t stop talking about Redwood Creek Pinot) and my blind-tasting group?

    I think some of the suggestions related to consolidation – Constellation, Southern W & S – may be most on track for being the most influential figures of the past decade. Whatever price point you buy in, whatever region or grape you prefer, these business changes have had an impact, good or bad, on what you drink.

  36. the epitome of naughty and nice combining in the ultimate wine personality of the decade for one of the strongest categories in (american) wine would be charles smith of k vintners/charles smith wines and david o’reilly of owen roe/o’reilly’s/corvidae. both have collectively done more positive things for washington winegrowing, winemaking and wine marketing than everyone else combined!

  37. One other: the husband and wife team who persisted and ultimately prevailed (with the help of various wine industry groups)at the Supreme Court in the Granholm decision defeating the wine oligarghs.

    I also support the Fred Franzia (and the two other Franzias) nomination for Bronco’s initiative in bringing decent table wine to the masses (we’ve always had mediocre jug wines like Almaden). The marraige of Two Buck Chuck and Trader Joe’s may be the match of the decade. My classmate Fred certainly fills the bill for “naughty” which he’d be the first to acknowledge.

  38. Increased public awareness, and proliferation of affordable wine has allowed a remarkable number of people access to wine. Along with this came a market vacuum for loud, stupid commentary which completely ignores the function (and true aesthetic nature) of wine. No person in the decade did a better job of exploiting this feedback loop than Gary VAY-NER-CHUCK.

  39. I really like the idea of Eric LeVine and CT. The very fact that Eric says it is not about him is reflective of how important it is. It is the same as that elusive consumer nominated earlier, and it is more indicative of a switch away from WA, RMP, etc. I, and many of the younger wine savvy generation, will look first to peer reviews on CT and only later to professional reviews. I buy wine that way every day (or all too nearly!)
    RJP has had and continues to have, great impact, but I think that it was greater in the lead up to and early part of the decade that his impact was greatest, and I think that for the last couple of years the influence wanes.

    I understand the idea of Fred Franzia because this has also been a year of increased wine consumption in america, but I think that the person of the decade in wine should be one who looms large in the “world of wine” as opposed to one who touches many albeit in a much smaller way. Maybe I am just biased by the lack of glamour there (not that I find cellar management and tasting note programs all that sexy either, but vital yes).

    BTW, Lassiter? Please!

    First runner up – RMP

    Miss congeniality – Gary V, great work Gary!

    “Scary scenario” candidate – climate change

  40. Okay, seriously: It is one thing to praise organic/biodynamic producers. It is quite another thing to put your money where your mouth is. Joe Dressner is bringing wines to the U.S. that are remarkable expressions of terroir. You can read his principles here.

  41. Admittedly, my nomination of Eric Orange, founder of, is self-serving. He’s my boss. Nevertheless, Eric’s role as creator of a unique worldwide wine marketing service deserves your consideration.

    First, some facts:

    >, a post-it-yourself website launched in 2000, is now the world’s largest calendar of food, wine, beer and spirits events.

    > Over 250,000 events posted, with listings from all 50 states and throughout the world.

    > Millions of page views annually.

    But, let’s be honest, the numbers that really count come with dollar signs. Where can wineries, restaurants and retailers, regardless of their size and marketing power, reach their target audience — free. accomplishes that with localized listings aimed at people seeking food/wine event information in their area. It’s a win-win scenario that connects consumers and the wine world for mutual benefit.

    If that sounds ho-hum, it would be wrong to dismiss as just another online bulletin board for event information. The website’s expanding array of resources (including videos, blogs, a wine label library, an event notification newsletter, wine-themed articles, wine educator listings, RSS feeds and Web apps) demonstrate Eric’s commitment to keeping pace with changing technology. has long been recognized by food/beverage industry pros as a wine marketing leader. See: Praise also comes from site users — consumers who welcome an easy way to expand their wine experience close to home, wherever home happens to be.

    The theme here is “person of the decade,” so I’d argue that 10 years ago Eric Orange saw a need — put wine buyers and wine sellers in touch with one another. Then, using the still-evolving Internet, he created a website to fill that need. In the process, he carved out a prominent place in a relatively new field (online marketing) we take for granted today.

  42. If we are allowed to nominate several leaders I would second the nomination of EVO–the other Eric. has performed a real service in getting more consumers to turn out for wine events and receive an introduction to our beverage of moderation and pleasure. And like CellarTracker it’s a natural application of the Net. I’ve used it to good effect (I think), though I have to admit that can be counted on to turn out the bodies.

  43. I vote for Gary Vaynerchuk!

  44. The two people who have most influenced my wine-related actions and behavior have been the Erics, via CellarTracker and LocalWineEvents. These are almost daily parts of my existence.

    However, from the biggest picture vantage point, I believe of greatest impact for the decade were Franzia, and even more importantly Robert Parker. Parker (who, it should be kept in mind, isn’t just RMP in the Wine Advocate) has shaped destinies and changed business plans of innumerable people in the wine world, and influences millions of buying decisions daily. Eric Levine would be appalled at being thought of as an Emperor of Wine – but somehow – like it or not – nobody really thinks that’s a completely absurd notion for RP, because he HAS been that impactful the past decade.

  45. […] Vino is accepting nominees for Wine Person of the Decade. Read down the comments for some interesting takes on who shaped wine over the last ten years. Gary […]

  46. […] wines class, click here. Thanks for visiting!Thanks to everyone for the fascinating discussion suggesting nominees for the Wine Person of the Decade. Now it’s voting time! To make the voting somewhat more manageable, a select committee (that […]

  47. RP/WA is clearly the most impactful in this time frame. I do predict this will not be so by 2020. It will probably be a blogger or the entire category as RP and his team age out.
    All of this IMHO, of course

  48. Has anyone nominated Fred Franzia?
    I am sympathetic to the idea that “the consumer” is the wine person of the decade and I think you can argue that the Two Buck Chuck phenomenon was an important part of that story.

  49. Truly, to taste and become familiar with many wines remains the wine lovers’ personal passion and responsibility and nobody else’s response can be a substitute. But knowledge comes to us from outside ourselves. It comes from reading,listening, tasting and sharing.
    We learn to love the subject/product.Perhaps love and knowledge go hand and hand? If so, we must acknowledge those who first started us on this track.And as we move forward into a new decade, it may be Gary who allows us to experience wine at an accessible and affordable price and Eric who understands that with love, we always want to know more and to be fearlessly able to express our feelings.

  50. I was pleasantly surprised to see mentioned as a potential candidate. The actual founder who does not like the limelight had the vision and fortitude to come up with a wine price comparison search engine in 1999. Wine-Searcher was the first online wine site to bring price transparency to the world of wine. Wine-Searcher continues to be the world’s biggest and most used search engine for wines. It offers FREE access and FREE listing and has a database of over 3.6 million wine offers and over 15,000 wine merchants. The site attracts over 1 million visitors per month and over 32 million searches are made by users around the globe every year.

    While I must declare that I work for Wine-Searcher, the founder deserves a consideration.

  51. Wished I saw this before the final list was tallied. David Studdert & Matt Rutledge masterminded and have brought quality West Coast US wine to US consumers with an innovative twist of having the winemaker involved in the community forums for each offering.

  52. I do love Gary V – but he get so much glory as it is (sorry V.)

    It’s people like Eric Orange founder of and – sites that offer info, trivia, even publish a weekly newsletter (The Juice) and offers wine & food postings — all for FREE!

    With all the free promotion and information for (the masses) I think every bar, restaurant, vineyard, tasting room, festival, event giver who ever posted – plus fans & subscribers should also nominate Eric.



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