Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Saturday 13 August 2011

Pancho Campo, Jay Miller and '100,000 euros to visit and taste Navarra wines'

Pancho Campo MW

An intriguing article here in the Mercados de Vino about a trip by Jay Miller, one of Robert Parker's team of critics, organised by Pancho Campo MW. Apparently 'Dr' Campo charged Navarra 100,000€ to organise the visit.

As a non-Spanish speaker I have been provided with a brief summary of the article: 

'This article says that Pancho Campo has charged D.O. Navarra €100,000 for a Jay Miller “promotional” tour of wineries and a 14-wine tasting in Pamplona.
The idea is to help the region penetrate into the American market by influencing Robert Parker and his Wine Advocate magazine.
The article does raise a previous attempt to promote Navarra in the US by trying to influence marks in a wine publication (Peñín Guide), calling the practice “dubious.”'
I understand that this matter was briefly debated on e-robertparker, which is subscription only. From a posting on Chris Kissack's The Wine Doctor site the explanation is that there was a $15,000 fee paid for a lecture by Miller.  

Although not in the Bill Clinton lecture fees league, $15,000 is a decidedly generous fee for a lecture in wine circles. It would be interesting to have more details of this lecture – its subject, duration and to whom?

Perhaps it was this tutored tasting shown on YouTube?

Is the $15,000 lecture fee part of the 100,000€ allegedly paid to 'Dr' Campo or was there just a $15,000 lecture fee and no fee paid to Campo?


catenians said...

Surely all wine writers should make a full and frank declaration of interests and possible conflicts of interest like Chris Kissack does?

Yes that includes First Class flights to Buenos Aires and Auckland costing close to £20,000.

Why does a wine writer as opposed to travel writer need to leave his desk anyway?

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Warren. I agree with you on declaration of interests, although transport, accommodation and feeing are normally covered by the country or region that invites the journalists.

If you believe that a wine critic's job is solely to evaluate what is in the bottle then there is no reason for wine writers (who may also be female) to leave their desks.

If, on the other hand, you believe that a wine writer can explain/ bring to life a wine region then visiting that region is essential.

For example I now make sure I spend time in the Loire during vintage time. I'm convinced that this gives me an invaluable insight into each year's conditions during the harvest. An insight I could not have if I remained in London.

I have never flown first class to any of these destinations. The majority of my long-haul flights have been at the back of the plane.

I pay for almost all of my travel and accommodation in the Loire.

Luc Charlier said...

Please, draw the parallel with this European Prof. of Medicine who insisted on flying to a New York conference ONLY by Concorde (a while ago thus) when sponsored by a pharmaceutical company. I have witnessed the case personally. Mind you, the drug at stake would not even be drunk, only injected!

Chris Kissack said...

That's an interesting video; it would be even more interesting if there was more translation available. Jay's comments that it was his "first time here" (the wine fair/tasting or the region?), but that the wines were clearly much better that they used to be, and that they are now "on the radar" particularly piqued my interest.

Jim's Loire said...

Chris. I suspect that trousering $15,000 for a tutored tasting/lecture may enable one to see the wines in a fresh light...

catenians said...

There's a fine line between wine writing and travel and culture writing. I am not going to issue a fatwa on this. Each to their own.

But do doctors visit pharmaceutical factories before issuing prescriptions?

I really think in the interests of transparency a full and frank declaration of all possible conflicts of interests should be made. As Chris Kissack does.

Then let the reader decide for herself if any article needs to be read in a particular light.

Travel writers in newspapers and magazines routinely declare if the accommodation or travel has been paid for or subsidised. Wine writers should do the same.

Luc Charlier said...

Yes, Warren, doctors do: GP’s and Professors alike.
Your very own Brockham Park, one of the jewels of Beecham company, was as much a research center as a meeting point for “clients” from all over the world, before an evening out on the City of London ... But there’s nothing really bad about that, as long as it is fully transparent, as most of you comment.With anything medical, though, the public funding (NHS) and the health issues only make it more crucial still.

Anonymous said...

fyi... your information is wrong. Next time check your facts. You need to clear this up before it's libel.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. Thank you. Please clarify what is incorrect.

catenians said...

Luc: It just happens that a vineyard is usually but not always prettier than a pharma or car or computer factory. So customer management takes place at somehere nicer in these industries.

A "wine writer" is entitled to act as a PR / Marketing consultant for a region or winery. Nothing wrong in taking any sum or benefit from a client if freely offered and publicly declared to allow readers to decide on a possible conflict of interest.

As you say transparency is the key in any walk of life - including wine writing.

All benefits must be declared on wine writers' websites - within weeks and not just at the end of the year as Chris Kissack does which of course is much better than no declaration in the case of (almost?) everybody else.

catenians said...

Interesting post on this

Anonymous said...

There are titles for the individual, co-dependant roles that Pamcho Campo and Jay Miller appear to be playing here. They aren't nice ones.