Decanter magazine's biennial list of the 50 most powerful people in the wine business took a lot of criticism. As one wine type told me after reading the rankings: "Who are these people?" Lewis Perdue, the editor of Wine Industry Insight, wrote that the list "was 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."
It is an odd list. The usual suspects are there — Robert Parker, Jancis Robinson, Gary V. — as well as a host of European and Asian names who matter to Decanter's Bordeaux-centric audience. But there are a lot of names missing. Purdue emphasized the absence of the men who run three of the leading cheap wine companies in the U.S. and sell hundreds of millions of dollars of wine, Fred Franzia of Two Buck Chuck, Bob Trinchero of Sutter Home and David Kent of The Wine Group. Also missing: Eric Asimov of the New York Times and Jon Bonne of the San Francisco Chronicle, who have moved more than few markets in their time.
Yet Decanter somehow found room in all that rarefied air for what it called the "amateur wine blogger" at No. 16. "As social media continues its relentless online spread, everyone is now a critic," the magazine said. Why that is and what it means, after the jump: