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

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Robert's silence damages the Parker team

The email (4.10.11) from Asevin that sparked Murciagate

It is now nearly three weeks since the 4th October 2011 'tariff' email from Juan Antonio Ruiz Jiménez was published on Facebook (26th October 2011) and still Robert Parker remains silent. I'm not surprised that I have had no response whatever from either Parker or Jay Miller. However, I am surprised that Parker has not made any public response. 

Parker may have decided that as he contemplates approaching retirement that his reputation is secure and in any case the fuss is all on the unreliable blogosphere. Unfortunately what Parker forgets is that he is now at the head of team and that his continued silence unfairly and unjustly damages their reputations. People start to wonder whether the Jay Campo Spanish circus is replicated elsewhere as this post '
Journaliste ou publicitaire?' 10 novembre 2011 by Marc André Gagnon indicates:

‘Payer un journaliste dans le but de bénéficier de son influence, n'est-ce pas un pot-de-vin? Est-ce que Robert Parker et les autres membres de son équipe reçoivent aussi de l'argent des producteurs ou de leurs associations? Peut-on accorder du crédit aux notes données par des personnes qui acceptent de l'argent des vendeurs de vin?’

Although I think Gagnon is wrong in suggesting that Miller is charging the wineries of Murcia for his proposed visit, the questions are asked and hang in the air unanswered. Certainly the linking of a fee paying master class to a brief visit by Miller to the region is an uncomfortably cosy arrangement, if The Wine Advocate's ethics apply to Spain.    

Parker's team includes a number of distinguished and hard working reviewers who frankly deserve better from their boss. When the story broke Parker could easily have issued a statement saying that he was looking into the Murcian 'tariff' as he takes allegations casting doubt on the independence of his reviewers very seriously. 

Instead the only public comments published have been nominally in the name of Asevin but surely written by Pancho Campo MW and The Spanish Wine Academy. It would appear that not only has Robert Parker delegated the organisation of Jay Miller's Spanish trips to a PR and marketing company (Pancho Campo MW – Institute of Masters of Wine website: collaborates with Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate organizing their visits to Spain) but has also now given  Campo responsibility to handle PR for Team Parker.


Hervé LALAU said...

It also indirectly damages the reputation of ALL wine journo's. We have no choice but to denounce what seems unfair or unethical.
I wish this whole affair were all imaginary, all WK-stuff, all libel and envy, but only Mr Parker can prove it is not the case.

Jim's Loire said...

Hervé. You are quite right that by extension Murciagate potentially damages the reputation of wine writing. It is, however, the reputation of Parker's team that is most immediately at risk and it is very strange that RP appears not realise this.

Pancho Campo MW claims through the statements issued through Asevin that the publication of the email is an attack on Parker and an attempt to damage his reputation. It isn't Campo is doing a good enough job at undermining the reputation of Team Parker and The Wine Advocate without needing anyone else's assistance.