We all know that the world of wine extends far beyond Italy. Almost every major European country has its own wine industry. Beyond that, the United States is one of the world’s largest producers and there are many wineries in South America that offer exceptional quality.
There’s even a small, but growing, wine industry in Russia.
The point we’re making is that you can look beyond the Italian wine industry when you’re looking for experts. In fact, some of the most famous faces in wine come from international territories.
It’s some of those people that we’re going to quickly profile in this article.
Personality #1 – Gary Vaynerchuk
Today, most people know Gary Vaynerchuk as a business growth experts and personal branding master. If you’re an entrepreneur yourself, you’ve probably come across his writing, his videos, and the huge following that he has during your research.
But as Vaynerchuk is quick to tell people, his entire persona comes from his love of wine.
His rise to acclaim started with his father’s liquor store. As he matured, Vaynerchuk took the reins of the store and became one of the first to take advantage of the emerging online domain to sell wines and other types of alcohol.
Who knows? Without him you may not have xtraWine in its current form.
As his business empire began to boom, Vaynerchuk expanded onto other platforms. He was one of the first to truly turn YouTube to his advantage and it is on the video sharing site that he was able to cultivate his reputation as a wine lover and expert.
Vaynerchuk doesn’t dedicate as much of his career to wine as he may want to these days. But he’s still an expert with a true passion for the industry. The simple fact is that you can’t deny the influence that he has, particular amongst his primarily American audience.
Personality #2 – Robert M. Parker, Jr.
While Gary Vaynerchuk may have done more than most to bring the world of wine to the masses, Robert M. Parker, Jr. is a true icon of the industry. That’s particularly the case in the United States. However, his highly-educated tastebuds have led to him becoming one of the global industry’s most respected and revered critics.
The simple fact of the matter is that a seal of approval from Parker, Jr. is enough to put any wine on the map. If he says that it’s the real deal, you can guarantee that the winery attached to the bottle gains almost instant prestige.
His prized possessions are his nose and his palette. And people recognise the value of both to the point where he’s able to insure them to the tune of $1 million!
Beyond this, he’s the founder of The Wine Advocate, which is one of the world’s most influential critical newsletters. He also created a 100-point wine rating score that has become one of the standards in the industry.
Anybody who’s seen how the xtraWine team rates wines will notice a little of Parker, Jr.’s influence.
He’s now semi-retired, having handed over control of The Wine Advocateto another respected expert in Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW. But he still gives his opinions regularly and there are few that those who are in the know trust more.
Personality #3 – Pierpaolo Petrassi MW
Heading to the UK now, we have a personality who’s name may indicate Italian origins. But he’s real importance comes from the fact that he’s the Head of Wine Buying at the supermarket chain Waitrose.
You may wonder why a supermarket executive would garner such respect in the wine industry.
It’s simple. If there’s ever been such a thing as a luxury supermarket, Waitrose is it. It’s where the affluent and the elite go to shop in the UK. And as such, its wine selection competes with some of the most prestigious wine vendors in the country. They’re all targeting the same market, which means the entire industry stands up and takes notice when Petrassi makes a decision.
He’s a Master of Wine in his own right. But he’s also built a team of people who have achieved the same designation. This has led to the creation of a team that’s capable of building a thoughtful selection of wines that range from some of the best the Italian wine industry has to offer through to little-known selections from some of the world’s smaller industries.
The fact that he’d not accountable to major shareholders or those with their fingers in the money pot makes his opinions even more valuable. He’d unrestricted in terms of what he can select and he’s doing a fine job of making Waitrose one of the UK’s top wine vendors, despite the fact that it’s technically a supermarket chain.
Personality #4 – Antonio Galloni
We mentioned The Wine Advocate earlier and any regular readers from a few years ago are sure to recognise the name Antonio Galloni.
You could almost consider him a protégé of Robert Parker, Jr.
Galloni made his name as one of the tasting staff members at The Wine Advocate, where his keen senses soon won him the respect of the international wine community. Over time, he ascended through the ranks of the newsletter to become one of its lead critics. In fact, over 30% of the reviews that the newsletter published in 2012 were written by him.
The Wine Advocate lost a very valuable member when Galloni made the decision to leave. But it wasn’t long before he’d leverage his reputation to create something brand new. Today, he’s the founder and lead writer at Vinous, which is one of the web’s most trusted wine publications.
He covers the Italian wine industry, as well as California, Champagne, and Burgundy.
The Final Word
Those are four of the most influential people that the international wine industry has to offer. Each brings their own take to a constantly growing industry and their opinions are respected by many.
If you’re trying to figure out what you’re next purchase should be, you could do a lot worse than to listen to their opinions.