2018 Bonfort’s Wine & Spirits Journal Power 100

The Bonfort’s Wine & Spirits Journal Power 100 is a ranking of the 100 most powerful, influential and transformative individuals and trends that are making an impact on the U.S. wine industry.

Power within the wine industry is evolving rapidly with new frontiers emerging that are offsetting and changing the historic power structure that the industry has known since the end of Prohibition.

With distributor consolidation and the emergence of the internet, ‚Äúpower‚ÄĚ is rapidly changing the landscape of how we do business, allowing innovative new pathways to be created for brands of all sizes to compete and market their products across all three tiers of the industry.

Powerful trends‚ÄĒfrom legal marijuana, DTC sales, craft brands and crowdsourcing review apps, to the massive yet confusing Millennial consumer‚ÄĒinclude all major influences shaping the industry in dramatic and unknown ways for the foreseeable future.

Power is also, sometimes, good, old-fashioned cash. Huge amounts of currency is flowing into the industry from billionaires, private equity funds, rappers and actors‚ÄĒall looking for major exits.

How the wine industry reacts and evolves, from consolidation and acquisition, to legal action, will be fascinating to watch.

Cornelius Geary ‚Äď Executive Editor, Publisher

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100 Steve Melchiskey

USA Wine West

Managing Director

Situated on both the East and West Coasts, importing nearly 10 million cases annually, USA Wine West is quickly growing into a significant player. As more and more international groups look for an easy path to clear wine and spirits, Melchiskey has tremendous growth potential.


99 Agustin F. Huneeus

Huneeus Vintners

Managing Partner

Lead by Quintessa and a stable of superb brands as such Flowers, Benton-Lane and Faust, Huneeus has the potential for acquisition by a deep pocketed brand group or private equity.


98 Dennis Kreps

Quintessential Wines


An ever expanding and eclectic portfolio of premium wines from around the world, including Georges Duboeuf, Kreps and his team have a solid portfolio to work with.


97 Karl Wente


COO and Chief Winemaker

Growing family winery with lineage and name recognition making solid wines at affordable prices. Wente has the hustle to take the brand to the next level.


96 John Beaudette

MHW Ltd.


MHW makes it easy for brands of all sizes to import and clear their products into the U.S. market.


95 Rob McMillian

Silicon Valley Bank

EVP and Founder Wine Divison

Rob takes the industry’s pulse each year with his widely regarded State of the Wine Industry report. He’s also the industry’s go-to partner for lending and financing needs.


94 Marc D. Taub

Palm Bay International

President and CEO

A solid portfolio of brands with some hidden gems and an emerging craft spirits portfolio give Taub and family some growing strength in the marketplace.


93 Harry Kohlmann

Park Street Imports


Park Street is a clearing importer of brands from around the world, making it easy for small-to-midsize companies to more easily clear the importation challenges they might face on their own.


92 John Caruso

Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.

President and CEO

An impressive line-up that leads with Joseph Drouhin, Drappier, and Dusted Valley, Caruso has an exceptional portfolio to work with.


91 Chris Adams

Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits Merchants


Classic New York retailer with expanding internet sales, deep and wide selections ranging from $15 – $5,000.


90 Christian Navarro

Wally’s Wine & Spirits

President and COO

Legendary retailer based in Los Angeles, Wally’s will need to continue to grow and innovate to fend off the aggressive Total Wine and More now starting to dominate the area.


89 Jeff Zacharia

Zachys Wine and Liquor


Historic shop that has smartly focused on internet and auction sales. The go-to place for collectors looking for that special bottle.


88 Frédéric Levy



Coravin has done more in the last five years to open up the wine vaults of collectors throughout the world. Their system makes it easy for collectors to take a glass from a bottle without having to pull the cork, helping deplete the nearly never consumed stashes around the world.


87 Derek Benham

Purple Wine + Spirits


Leading with Avalon and Four Vines, Benham’s expansion into spirits with Graton Distilling was the right move, producing one of the best gins we’ve tried in a long time. Forward thinking and aggressive‚ÄĒlook for more big moves from PWS.


86 Patrick DeLong

Crimson Wine Group


With a solid portfolio of estate wineries and well-known brands, CWG has the ability to grow and move up the list over time.


85 Rhonda Carano

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

Senior Execuitive Officer and Manager

Sonoma’s leading winery by production numbers, Carano continues to provide high-quality wines that have become internationally respected.


84 Phillip Hahn

Hahn Family Wines


Hahn continues to produce solid wines that over-deliver for the price. The Smith & Hook brand adds a respected brand and volume.


83 Brett Berish

Sovereign Brands


With a flair unrivaled in the industry and the success of his Luc Belaire brand, Berish has the creative juices to build more brands giving some life to U.S. wine sales.


82 Bill Terlato

Terlato Wine Group


A solid lineup of premium and ultra-premium wine and an expanding craft spirits portfolio give Terlato a leg-up on similar sized competitors.


81 Corey Beck

The Family Coppola


Sitting at the top of one of the industry’s most recognized names, Beck has a deep-pocketed owner with the star power to keep the group growing. A quality lineup of labels including the prestigious Ingelnook make for a great working environment.


80 Gregory Balogh

Maisons Marques & Domaines

President and CEO

An impressive portfolio of international and domestic ultra-premium wines, lead by Louis Roederer, Petrus, Dominus Estate, Scharffenberger, Ramos Pintos, Pio Cesare and many more iconic names. Balogh has one of the finest brand groups at his disposal.


79 Jo-Anna Partridge

Pernod Ricard USA


Sitting just under one million cases, Pernod’s wine portfolio may be a candidate for sale to focus on the higher margin spirits portfolio.


78 Alex Ryan

Duckhorn Vineyards


Look for Duckhorn to move up the list, owned by TSG Consumer Partners with over $5 billion in private equity funding and an eye for luxury acquisitions, their newest buy, Kosta Browne, has the start of a potentially deep luxury portfolio.


77 Carmen Castaldi

Rodney Strong Wine Estates


Sitting just under one million cases, offering a lineup of ultra-premium to premium wines, Rodney Strong continues to innovate and offer exceptionally great wines at each price point.


76 Donny Sebastiani

Don Sebastiani & Sons


A solid lineup of retail wine brands and a move to spirits and water, Sebastiani offers a premium product from a majorly well respected name in the business.


75 Peter Byck

WX Brands

President and CEO

A brand building juggernaut for private label wine, beer and spirits, WX is the go-to player for retailer specific custom brands.


74 Gary Heck



Sitting at 1.7 million cases of sparkling wine and a leading producer of brandy, look for a big push on the brown spirits side in the near future.


73 Joe Waechter


President and CEO

The leader in winery DTC ecommerce and fulfilment, Waechter sits at the center of a huge and growing direct-sales opportunity nearing $3 billion annually.


72 Rocco Lombardo

Wilson Daniels


An enviable portfolio of luxury producers led by Romanée-Conti, Lombardo is a longtime leader in the ultra-premium market who helps luxury brands thrive.


71 Peter Mondavi Jr.

CK Mondavi & Family


With 1.7 million cases and Charles Krug, look for more brand expansion down the road.


70 Andy Beckstoffer

Beckstoffer Vineyards


As a farmer with an eye for quality, Beckstoffer has built the preeminent vineyard portfolio lead by world acclaimed To Kalon, Georges III, and Dr. Crane Vineyards. Luxury winemakers flock to buy his award-winning grapes.


69 Pat Roney

Vintage Wine Estates

President and CEO

A growing portfolio of estate brands has elevated VWE to new heights. With the acquisition of the popular Cameron Hughes Wines, look for more acquisitions to come.


68 Jordan Kivelsedat

Free Flow Wines

Co-Founder and CEO

Kivelstadt invented the modern keg wine. Nobody has done more to move wine in volume on-premise than Jordan. Free Flow is the dominant platform for wine kegging and is just getting started.


67 Aaron Sherman


Co-Founder and CEO

The innovative distribution platform gives retailers and small brands the ability to connect on the internet, allowing the small guy to gain visibility and potential sales with major retail.


66 Andrew Browne

Precept Wine

Founder & CEO

Just shy of two million cases, Precept has massive potential for growth producing high quality wines from Washington, Oregon and emerging regions like New Mexico with Gruet. Lower costing-land and world-class grapes, make them a group to watch.


65 Ryan Bogle

Bogle Vineyards

Vice President CFO

With 2.5 million cases and a brand known for quality, Bogle has growth potential, but most likely will be an acquisition target down the road.


64 Brian Rosen



No player has built a better platform for outsourced sales than Rosen and BevStrat. The former CEO of Sam’s Wine & Spirits in Chicago works as a national sales force for big and small brand groups alike, helping to grow depletions for overlooked or newly launched products that are either too small or just not getting the attention they deserve at the distributor level. Rosen has some of the most experienced and talented sales and brand builders on his team and is leading the charge in an emerging and very important category of outsourced sales teams.


63 John Rydman

Spec’s Wine & Spirits

President and Owner

With more than 125 stores and still growing in the world’s 10th largest economy, Specs is rolling like nobody else. Look for continued expansion and competition with Total Wine and More.


62 Tom Steffanci

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits


With 11 million cases spread out over 30 brands and a robust spirits portfolio, Deutsche is showing other groups what it takes to grow.


61 Rich Bergsund



The perpetual internet startup, Wine.com took in $15 million as late as August 2017. With an outlook on continued growth, the company should be close to profitability.


60 Tom Wark

National Association of Wine Retailers

Executive Director

Representing dozens of independent wine retailers, Wark is leading the charge to open up states’ shipping rights for his members.


59 Charles Smith

Wines of Substance

Owner and Winemaker

Washington’s wildman creates wines that show the big bold wines of his Walla Walla roots, while his marketing and gothic branding have allowed him to create and sell several portfolios in record time.


58 Dave Phinney

Orin Swift

Owner and Winemaker

Creative, and with a knack for knowing what the consumer wants, Phinney has Gallo for a development partner. Look for his pivot to spirits with the recent launch of his new San Franciso-based distillery, Savage & Cooke.


57 Joe Wagner

Copper Cane Wine & Provisions


Cashed up with the proceeds from the sale of Meiomi to Constellation for $315 million, his newest venture has quality distribution and talent to continue the success.


56 Mark Giordano

Pacific Highway Wine and Spirits


Founded by billionaire wine families, Robert Oatley and Giesen, (Alejandro Bulgeroni has an option to invest) Pacific Highway Wines continues to expand at a rapid pace. Giordano has the talent, drive and ample resources to grow this import and sales business to compete with the biggest players.


55 Heidi Barrett

La Sirena


Best known for making Screaming Eagle, Barrett has an array of prestige clients and continues to make some of the highest priced and best tasting wines around.


54 Gary Vaynerchuk

Vayner/RSE/Wine Library/VaynerMedia


With more moxie than anybody in the wine business, GaryVee pivoted to Venture Capital and High Tech, then back to wine reviews. His early seed round investment in Drizly may pay off big. We expect more investments in wine and wine tech soon.


53 Jay-Z

Armand de Brignac


With his toe in the water already with Champagne and Cognac, Jay-Z has the potential to ‚ÄúGeorge Clooney‚ÄĚ a brand into the billion-dollar stratosphere. Napa could use some of Jay-Z’s bling.


52 Sean Combs

Combs Wine & Spirits


Diddy teamed up with Diageo, reinvented CÎROC, acquired DeLeon and is now eyeing luxury wine.


51 Wine Competitions



One of the most important ways for a brand to garner third-party accolades, the Wine Competition offers brands big and small an affordable path to marketing success. Overloaded consumers gravitate to competition awards and medals for assurance of quality and taste.


50 Rob Mondavi Jr.

Folio Fine Wine Partners

Founder, President of Winemaking

Young, talented and with a tremendous lineage, Mondavi Jr. has the potential to take over as one of California’s preeminent winemakers and marketers.


49 Philippe Melka

Melka Estates


Melka is the billionaires preferred winemaker for luxury projects producing a deep portfolio of acclaimed wines that continues to grow each year.


48 Max Riedel



Max, who is of the 11th generation to run the company, has brought a new-found energy, elegance and innovative focus to the brand and its sister brands, Spiegelau and Nachtmann.


47 Bill Harlan

Harlan Estate


The Godfather of California Cult wines, Bill Harlan has created a super-premium group that is second to none in fine wine.


46 Legal and Courts



Since Granholm v. Heald opened the door for Direct to Consumer shipping ten years ago, the courts have been a last resort for challenging the archaic U.S. alcohol laws of all 50 states and at the Federal level. Look for future skirmishes centered on Amazon, 3-tier ownership rights and legal marijuana.


45 The Mondavi Families

Napa U.S.A.


Both sides of the Mondavi’s are Napa royalty. With deep pockets and a focus on great wines, they are quietly building another empire with the next generation of the famous wine family.


44 Jack Dorsey



Winemakers of all sizes have embraced Square for immediate DTC sales with the swipe of a card, allowing fast and easy sales on the fly.


43 Dimitri Haloulos



Nearing 150 stores all on the West Coast BevMo is the default location for shoppers looking for something interesting. Total Wine and More is in hot pursuit.


42 Joel Gott, Roger Scommegna, Charles Bieler

Three Thieves within Trinchero

Thief 1, 2 and 3

Accounting for roughly 2.5 million cases in and out of Trinchero, the Three Thieves, Joel Gott, Roger Scommegna and Charles Bieler are a brand-building juggernaut bursting at the seams with creative energy and top-level distribution.


41 Chris Tsakalakis



Helping millions of consumers identify and buy their favorite wines. Vivino is the default app for consumers and industry around the world. Converting its loyal audience into sales is the challenge.


40 Five Million Cases



The cutoff point where “Big Wine” has influence with “Big Distribution”. Anyone smaller needs to find a partner, a hedge fund or a chair before their music stops.


39 Giancarlo Bianchetti

Fetzer (Vi√Īa Concha y Toro)


With 35 million global cases, VCYT has huge potential to grow in the U.S. market.


38 Dean Ferrell

The Winebow Group

President and CEO

An extraordinary and expanding portfolio that still focuses on estate producers and high-quality wines.


37 Carmine Martignetti

The Martignetti Companies


Positioned well in New England, TMC offers an innovative approach to marketing and brand building that is hard to find.


36 John Devin

Empire Merchants

President and CEO

Focused on the New York Metro area, Devin has a solid portfolio and is well positioned for further growth.


35 Jim Myerson

Wine Warehouse

Chairman and CEO

Innovative with an experienced team, Myerson has transformed Wine Warehouse in a few short years into a well-respected and admired distributor.


34 Michael Johnson

Johnson Brothers


A major player as a top five-distributor, Johnson Brothers is a potential anchor brand for future distributor consolidation.


33 Bill Foley

Foley Family Wines


Billionaire insurance mogul with more cash than just about anyone, Bill Foley has assembled a huge portfolio of international wineries and brands.


32 Barbara Banke

Jackson Family Wines

Chairman and Proprieter

A focus on estate wineries and vineyards, KJ is unrivaled in quality and prestige for a company of this size.


31 Jean-Charles Boisett

Boisset Collection


With 6.7 million global cases and more brand-building energy than just about anyone, JCB is an innovator and force with which to be reckoned.


30 Ted Baseler

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

President and CEO

No longer just a ‘Washington” winery, Ste. Michelle has become an international player with exceptional brands such as Antinori, Nicolas Feuillatte, Torres, Villa Maria and several more in the portfolio. Look for big things in quality down the road as they continue to add international and domestic brands


29 Jim Clerkin

Mo√ęt Hennessy USA

President and CEO

On meeting Clerkin, you are immediately taken with his Irish native charm. You’d almost forget that he is tasked with continuing the growth of the finest luxury portfolio in the market.


28 Chandra Holt

Sam’s Club

SVP Merchandising

As one of the largest retail groups in the U.S., Sam’s has tremendous opportunity to grow its fine wine sales.


27 Fred Franzia

Bronco Wine Company


With a huge assortment of brands, and a focus on quality and price expansions into sake, craft spirits, RTDs, and keg wine, Fred and Co. are innovative, aggressive and willing to take risks.


26 Chris Indelicato

Delicato Family Vineyards

President and CEO

Bota Box leads the way in a solid lineup of premium wines.


25 Robert Foye

Treasury Wine Estates


With an impressive array of prestigious brands including Penfold’s, BV, Beringer and Stag’s Leap, Foye is tasked with growing the U.S, and China. He has the tools to continue the rebuild from the Foster’s days.


24 Tom Cole

Breakthru Beverage


The newly consolidated creation of first Charmer Sunbelt and Wirtz Beverage to form Breakthru Beverage Group, and now a second merger between Breakthru and Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC), forms the 2nd largest distributor in the U.S.


23 Bob Torkelson

Trinchero Family Estates

President and COO

With blockbuster brands like Ménage à Trois, Sutter Home, Joel Gott and the creative influences of The Three Thieves, Trinchero is positioned for continued success.


22 David and Robert Trone

Total Wine & More


Nearing 200 superstores in the U.S. and on a massive expansion, David and Robert are growing a wine and spirits behemoth.


21 Chris Condit

Trader Joe’s

Category Leader – Wine, Beer, Spirits

No major retailer has done more to sell premium wines from around the world at affordable prices than Trader Joe’s. With a cult-like following and an ever-growing foot print, they are positioned for continued growth.


20 Bill Newlands

Constellation Brands


Constellation is looking to offload its wine portfolio to focus on beer, spirits and cannabis. This shows the finicky side of the industry as bigger players divest, chasing better margins and new categories.


19 Patrick Maulfair


Wine Category Manager

With more than 1,200 stores, Publix continues to improve its wine program. Long term it will be a bigger player for better quality wine.


18 Brian Vos

The Wine Group

President and CEO

With Cupcake and Benziger leading the way, Vos’s potential to expand into imports is considerable.


17 Chris Underwood

Young’s Market Company


Showing other distributors how to grow but keeping a family feel, Underwood and his team have built one of the most reputable distributors in the U.S. Craft spirits and an emphasis on premium brands and quality make Young’s the U.S.’s most admired wine and spirits distributor.


16 The Private Equity Fund



Major funds like TSG Consumer Partners are acquiring wine and spirits brands and flipping them for huge returns, changing the landscape for winery and brand acquisitions


15 Alejandro Bulgheroni

Alejandro P. Bulgheroni Portfolio

Vintner and Entrepreneur

An Argentinian-Italian international vintner and a successful entrepreneur in the agriculture and energy sectors, and a marketing and sales team in the U.S. via Pacific Highway Imports, APB thinks big and has the capital to build long term. His 205,000-square foot Bodega Garzon winery in Uruguay showcases estate-grown premium wines crafted by influential winemaker Alberto Antonini and offers visitors an experience that highlights the best in South American hospitality.


14 Allen Cook

The Kroger Co.

Manager of Adult Beverages

Much like Albertsons’ and Safeway’s transformation, Kroger has the potential to bring in higher quality and higher priced wines.


13 Nicole Simpson


Senior Wine Buyer

With a huge list of sub-$20 wines, Wal-Mart has the potential to offer better quality brands if its customer base demands it.


12 Wayne Chaplin

Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits


As the biggest distributor in the U.S. and newly merged with Glazer’s, Chaplin sits at the head of a juggernaut focusing on the biggest brands and portfolios in the U.S.


11 Jacob Applesmith

California Alcohol Beverage Control


Since his appointment, Applesmith has reached out to the licensed community on all levels and has implemented, revised and improved ABC processes and procedures, giving producers, retailers and distributors clearer guidelines for marketing and selling in California.


10 Barkley Stuart

Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America


As distributor consolidation continues, so too does their power. Building the biggest brands for the biggest companies is where the money is, and smaller players, those under five million cases, need to get big fast in order to win the attention of the major distribution players or be left far behind. To quote a complaint of a Power 100 CEO with one+ million cases, “I can’t keep our distributors’ attention, we’re not big enough”.


9 Jennifer Jones

Albertsons Companies

VP Alcohol

Superstar buyer has transformed Albertsons and Safeway wine aisles into a goldmine for premium winemakers.


8 U.S. Postal Service



Near bankruptcy and in need of a vast infusion of cash, shipping alcohol is a potential new revenue stream. Don’t hold your breath.


7 United Parcel Service



Number two in deliveries, huge market opportunity, but still way too conservative.


6 Federal Express



Speeding up wine shipments, fast and effective, a potential acquisition target by Amazon.


5 Direct to Consumer (DTC)



The number one focus for most independent wineries is to grow DTC, increased margins, more control and personal relationships with their respective end-consumers.


4 Legal Marijuana Industry



Huge cash flow is elbowing out wine, beer and spirits. Branded marijuana is creationg an entirely new legal category, disrupting all levels of the alcohol business.


3 Ernest J. Gallo

E. & J. Gallo Winery

COO and Future CEO in 2020

Young, innovative and well prepared, Ernest J. Gallo is getting ready to take Gallo to new levels of brand-building in wine and spirits. Look for major news in the brandy category.


2 Annette Alverez-Peters


General Merchandise Manager, Wine and Spirits

The largest current retail buyer of wine globally, but Amazon’s potential casts a huge shadow. The competition is just starting to heat up.


1 Doug Bell and Devon Broglie

Amazon.com/Whole Foods

Global Co-Wine Buyers

Amazon’s Power is its future potential to disrupt the wine and spirits industry. With Whole Foods, AmazonFresh, hundreds of millions of credit cards on file and a near $1 Trillion Dollar Market Cap, it’s only a matter of time before Amazon figures out the legal pathway to become the largest wine and spirits retailer in the world. It is only getting started.