William Deutsch

Darryl Estrine
William Deutsch

William Deutsch put some of the world's most popular wines on America's tables: France's Beaujolais Nouveau and Australia's Yellow Tail.

The son of a Hungarian immigrant who ran a butcher shop in Queens, N.Y., Deutsch knew nothing about wine while growing up. But after college, when the accounting firm he worked for sent him to audit a wine company, he found a passion and a career. After working in sales, Deutsch started an import company in 1981. He convinced French vintner Georges Duboeuf to let Deutsch sell his wines on the East Coast. Beaujolais Nouveau was relatively unknown then, but Deutsch turned the annual release into an event. Nouveau became the first French wine many Americans experienced.

In 2000, Deutsch partnered with John Casella of Australia on a new wine brand. They dubbed it Yellow Tail, and by 2008, Deutsch was importing 8.4 million cases a year. His children now run a thriving company that both imports and produces wine. Deutsch earned Wine Spectator's Distinguished Service Award in 2009.