Robert M. Parker Jr. is arguably the most influential wine critic in the world today. The former lawyer, who turned to writing full time about wine in 1982, devised a 100-point rating system to score wines of different vintages. This simple yet ingenious method—today much copied—not only earned Parker fame and fortune but also demystified the traditionally opaque world of fine wine for everyday buyers. He started his wine newsletter The Wine Advocate in 1978 and today it has more than 40,000 subscribers in nearly 40 countries. His first book, Bordeaux, was published in 1985. He has since published 10 books, including Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide and The Wines of the Rhône Valley and Provence, most of which have been updated several times. Initially, Parker's impact was primarily felt in Bordeaux but now he has expanded his range to include wines from all over the world, especially the U.S., Australia, Spain, as well as other regions of France. His column appears every week in BusinessWeek and on BusinessWeek.com.