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Luxury Power 50: No. 30-21

In the third of five instalments, we count down from number 30 to 21 of the 50 most powerful people in the world of luxury wine and spirits.

To coincide with our focus on all things liquid and luxurious in the December issue of the drinks business, we have compiled a list of the 50 most powerful people in the world of luxury wine and spirits.

For the complete list, see the December issue of the drinks business.

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30. Bruno Paillard

Age: 58

As the man at the helm of Champagne brands including Philipponnat, Lanson, Chanoine, Boizel and De Venoge, Paillard oversees sales of more than 20m bottles of Champagne a year and has a leading role at generic body the CIVC, making him one of the most powerful figures in Champagne.

Paillard also owns his own Champagne house, Champagne Bruno Paillard, which he founded aged 27 in 1981, the first new Champagne house in nearly a century.



29. Christian Moueix

Picture (c) Joshua Bright for The New York Times

Age: 65

As president of the négociant house Etablissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, the French winemaker oversees production in several estates in Saint-Emilion and Pomerol including the famed Château Pétrus, where Christian makes just 30,000 bottles a year, and Château Trotanoy.

One of the most sought-after and expensive wines in the world, Pétrus prices at auction regularly top £30,000 a case.

Last year in Hong Kong, Acker Merrall & Condit sold a six pack of the 2000 vintage for HK$1,659,200 (£136,313).

The Moueix portfolio includes La Grave, Certan Marzelle, Providence, Hosanna, and, most recently, a share of Belair. Moueix also owns Dominus Estate in Napa Valley.

28. Corinne Mentzelopoulos

Age: 58

Born in France to a Greek father and French mother, Corinne took over the running of Bordeaux first growth Château Margaux in 1980 after the death of her father, entrepreneur André Mentzelopoulos.

With the help of Margaux director Paul Pontallier, Mentzelopoulos has returned the château to its former glory.

However, a quiet year’s trading in 2011 has seen Margaux drop three places and out of the Liv-ex Power 100 top five, to eighth place

“Château Margaux does not belong to us,” says Mentzelopoulos. “We belong to Château Margaux.”

27. David Dearie

Age: 49

The CEO of newly formed Treasury Wine Estates is custodian of Penfolds Grange and Beringer.

Now decoupled from Foster’s, Dearie, who has over 20 years’ experience in the drinks industry, is determined to turn the firm’s fortunes around with a centrally controlled global focus.

Last month Dearie announced he wants to “significantly increase” the company’s brand spend in order to gain a foothold in lucrative Eastern markets and has taken on a new team to focus on wines over £15.

He has also pledged to increase production of the premium end of the portfolio, particularly Penfolds.

26. Stephen Browett

Age: 52

As chairman of Bordeaux specialist merchant Farr Vintners, Browett has major influence over high-net-worth individuals’ fine wine spend.

Joining Farrs in 1984, Browett became a director in 1985. As chief Bordeaux buyer, he decides which wines are available to UK consumers.

For Browett, who is also one of the owners of Crystal Palace Football Club, Bordeaux is king: “Burgundy may rival it for quality but they will never have the volumes to compete.”

25. John Kapon

Picture (c) Helayne Seidman

Age: 39

Head of American auction house Acker Merrall & Condit, Kapon has held global sway since his first independent auction in 1998.

The world’s largest specialist wine auction house is now leading the way in Hong Kong’s emerging market.

Last month, sales of Romanée-Conti at an Acker auction in Hong Kong raised US$14.5m, setting a new record for the highest amount raised at a wine auction this year, highlighting both the importance of China in the auction market, and the fact that Chinese buying habits are diversifying away from Bordeaux and towards top Burgundy.

24. Christian Porta

Age: 49

Porta has been chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers, the Scotch whisky and premium gin subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, since 2004.

Having joined the drinks giant in 1988, the Frenchman now manages Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s, Beefeater Gin, The Glenlivet, and Royal Salute.

Chivas Brothers is the global leader in luxury Scotch whisky.

Chivas Regal has collaborated with fashion designers Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen to create bespoke bottles for the blended Scotch whisky.

23. Ian Ford

Age: 40

The increasingly vibrant Chinese retail scene is reflected in the recent launch of Shanghai wine destination Pu Dao – a fusion of wine school, bar and retail space, backed by Summergate.

In 1998, Ford founded this small wine importing business with the aim of distributing fine wines in China, opening Summergate’s first offices in Shanghai and Beijing.

The company now operates in Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Macau and Hong Kong. In January, Summergate ended a seven-year relationship with Domains Barons de Rothschild (DBR) after it requested a stake in the company.

DBR has since moved to ASC.

22. François Pinault

Age: 75

The self-made French tycoon is a majority shareholder of luxury goods company PPR, which he founded in 1963, that owns famed Médoc First Growth Château Latour, auction house Christie’s, and the Gucci Group.

Pinault is ranked by Forbes as the 67th richest person in the world, with an estimated fortune of US$11.5bn.

His son, François Henry Pinault, is married to Mexican actress Salma Hayek.

Meanwhile 2011 sales at Christie’s, which Pinault bought in 1998, surpassed pre-recession levels.

Pinault also owns one of the largest collections of contemporary art worldwide, worth an estimated $1.4bn, and he has just splashed out £20m on a two-bedroom mansion in Chelsea, west London, which gained notoriety as the bachelor pad of Richard Griffiths’ character, Uncle Monty, in the cult 1987 comedy Withnail and I.

21. Facundo L Bacardi

Age: 43

Bacardi has been chairman of the board of Bacardi Limited, the world’s third largest distilled spirits company, since 2005.

Company founder Facundo Bacardi Masso’s great-great-grandson, Facundo L Bacardi, controls the eponymous Bacardi rum, along with a plethora of other spirits brands, including super-premium Grey Goose vodka, Aberfeldy single malt whisky, Noilly Prat vermouth and Bombay Sapphire gin.

In 2009, Bacardi bought a minority stake in Patrón Tequila.

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