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

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Campogate: 'Not an official Wine Advocate trip, it's a freelance' Campo claims

Pancho Campo MW: 'Collaborates with Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate organizing their visits to Spain.' 
Pancho Campo MW has defended his actions in The Baltimore Sun

'Campo said in that exchange (the Madrid emails) he wasn't arranging a visit by Miller to any wineries, but rather that he was negotiating fees for Miller to host a seminar. The speaking engagement — not Miller's first — had nothing to do with The Wine Advocate, and the governing body for the local wine region, not any wineries, paid for it.

"It was not an official Wine Advocate trip, it's a freelance," Campo said. "When he does appearances on his own, those have nothing to do with The Wine Advocate."

See article here: Wine critic's representative defends deals

If all of these trips – Madrid, Murcia, Navarra, Valencia were freelance when did Miller have time to do his day job – reviewing Spanish wine for The Wine Advocate and erobert?  

Campos claims are contradicted by Jay Miller, The Wine Advocate and emails.

Jay Miller: 'Miller says he did go to the wineries in question and plans to write about them.' The Baltimore Sun 6th December 2011.* 

The Wine Advocate: email received 6th December 2011 13.51 (GMT)

Dear Mr. Budd,

Yes, Jay will be writing reports on the wines he recently tasted in Spain. However, depending on timing and space limitations in the paper copy, those reports may only appear on the web site.

Sincerely, Joan Passman, Secretary, The Wine Advocate

Emails from regional organisers, The Wine Academy of Spain and Pancho Campo MW:
All make it clear that during Jay Miller's proposed visits to Madrid, Murcia and Valencia he will be tasting, assessing and rating wines following the criteria dictated by Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate. The email sent by Pamela Beltrán (2.11.2011) 14.05 of DO Valencia is particularly clear:

'As reported, we can confirm Jay Miller's visit to Valencia, which will take place on the 28, 29 and 30 of November. During his three-day he will accompanied by Pancho Campo (president of The Wine Academy, the company currently responsible for organizing and coordinating the visit). Miller is planning a wine tasting of each of the three D.O.s of Region for The Wine Advocate, the magazine run by Robert Parker. The details of this tasting are specified below.'


'Tuesday, November 29 - VALENCIA

    · 09.00 - 13.00 - Tasting of 80 wines from DOP Valencia for the magazine The Wine Advocate to be held at the D.O.'s offices).'

I have not suggested that the wineries paid Campo directly instead as he says the money was either paid by the DOs or through organisations like Asevin. Why would DOs, especially in these cash-strapped times, pay The Wine Academy €29,000 (Murcia) Navarra (€100,000), €35,000 (Valencia) or €20,000 proposed to Madrid solely for a 'speaking engagement' running for around two hours?      


However, Miller is also quoted in Jill Rosen's article:

'Miller confirmed Wednesday that Campo helped him arrange free-lance speaking engagements, events where he would receive between $8,000 to $15,000. At the events, often attended by several hundred people, he would talk about his favorite wines, and attendees could sample those varieties.'

If Jay Miller includes the trip to Valencia 28th-30th November as an example, this presumably means that all of Monday (28th), Tuesday (29th) and Wednesday up to 18.30 when the lecture and masterclass started was an official Wine Advocate visit. It became a 'freelance' speaking engagement for the duration (18.30-21.00) of the 'Lecture and MasterClass'.



Finkus Bripp said...

Heck, if they're willing to pay so much to hear someone go bla bla bla for two hours, I'll do it for half the price... but I charge extra for video ;0)

Once again, Jim... great work. FYI: Your feed has been the first one I've been looking for every morning the past weeks and it's reassuring to see that great work is rewarded in the end.

Jim's Loire said...

Finkus. Thanks. You'd be much mire entertaining than Campo was in Valencia!

Gerry Dawes said...

Yeh, freelancing, like this tasting in Navarra, where The Wine Advocate's importance is being promoted.

Gerry Dawes said...

"The real issue we need to talk about is a simple one. How can we continue support a wine industry that allows for a Pancho to be born?"

"Look, I’m not trying to be snarky. Oh wait, I am. Jim Budd, I like you, but seriously get over Pancho. I think your wife might be missing you; the affair has lasted too long. You exposed something corrupt, and great, we’re all looking now, but please go back to being a wine writer!" -- quotes from Ryan Opaz column today on his Catavino blog, Hey, ho! Please let Pancho go! ~ Time for some wine drinking.


Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Gerry. I would suggest that with Jay Miller's reported statement that Campo organised some 'free-lance speaking engagements' does move the story along.

Anonymous said...

This Pancho Campo guy is a riot! How is it that anybody in Spain took or takes him seriously? Too much!

Jim's Loire said...

Anon. I agree parts of this story are hilarious. Unfortunately too many in Spain took him too seriously, although he did pull of the coup of holding WineFuture Rioja while on the Interpol wanted list.

Recently he has managed to trouser substantial sums for organising Jay Miller's 'free-lance speaking engagements', which in the case of the conference/masterclass in Valencia appears to have upset some of the producers who now feel short changed.

Justin Roberts said...

Personally, I think Finkus is right. WineFuture is pointless...

Jim's Loire said...

Justin. Yes really liked the video. The only time I score wines is at a magazine tasting or at a wine competition.

Jim's Loire said...

Will 'arranging free-lance speaking engagements' ever be as well used as the expression Ugandan discussions?

Ian S said...

You'd think that if they'd make up a new excuse, they'd check the previous trail to ensure it didn't contradict their previous comments.

Hilarious reading and a real insight, alebit not a pretty one for the story it tells. Not just a huge embarassment for Parker & Miller, but also for the Spanish wine industry.

Anonymous said...

Not a tennis player, but a coach; not a doctor but a medical student...
Not the first Spanish MW, but the first one searched by Interpol...
Not a journalist, but a PR with a Spanish press card...
With Mr Campo, nothing is really what it seems...
Is he for real?

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Ian. Campo reminds me somewhat of winemaker Hugh Ryman, who I followed during the 90s when his business was falling apart.

Campo makes absurd assertions or claims that he ought to realise can be checked. Possibly he believes that his charm and ability to convince people will see him through.

Campo has claimed that his daughter saw something on Facebook that suggested her father had done 'a bad thing'. This claim then changed to an anonymous phone call answered by his daughter. Did Campo perhaps tweak the story thinking a phone call would have more impact and generate more sympathy than something seen on Facebook?

Unfortunately for Miller his acceptance that Campo arranged for him 'free-lance speaking engagements' quite separate from the Wine Advocate raises a host of new questions.

Jim's Loire said...

Anon: 'With Mr Campo, nothing is really what it seems...
Is he for real?'

A very good question but it is what makes Señor Campo an interesting character – searching for grains of truth amongst the fiction.

Anonymous said...

There's an old adage that says that when you've dug yourself into a hole it's time to stop digging. Sr. Campo obviously never learned that lesson. He does make for great hilarity because every time he issues a staement it makes things smell even more fishy. Great work, Mr. Budd, great work.

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Anon. Campo's first known twitter on this particular hole set the scene for what was to come: ‘I haven’t talked to Jumilla’

Frank Kämmer MS said...

Wow, if this wasn't the sad truth one could really see this as a serial crime novel - and I'm already curious for the next episode.
Great peace of investigative journalism, well done Jim!

Jim's Loire said...

Frank. Many thanks but due credit must go to Harold Heckle who obtained the emails and to Vincent Pousson who published the initial email from Asevin on Facebook back on 26th October.

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

Cada cerdo llega a su San Martin