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

Monday 5 December 2011

Jay Miller leaves The Wine Advocate

Pancho Campo: "Where's my meal ticket gone...?"

Dr Vino reports here that Jay Miller has left The Wine Advocate, saying that the following announcement has appeared on Robert Parker's website:

Parker says: “After several months of consideration, Big Jay, who has done such a thorough and professional job of bringing emerging wine regions such as Spain, South America, and the Pacific Northwest much needed coverage and attention, has decided to return to wine consulting, lecturing and wine retail.”

Miller says: "Some may believe my stepping down is in response to my critics. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have felt constrained in responding while still on The Wine Advocate staff. While the office has defended my actions, justifiably, now it is time for me to speak for myself… I leave The Wine Advocate with a clear conscience. I have never accepted (or requested) fees for visiting wine regions or wineries."

I would like to stress once again that I did not accuse Jay Miller of taking money for visits or tasting wines for The Wine Advocate. Indeed the only concrete suggestion that this might be the case came from Pancho Campo himself in the email sent from Tuscany on 3rd June 2011 and Campo is hardly a reliable witness:

'Private visits off the set agenda, as this would be, rarely take place, and not for a price below 40,000 euros. The fact that Jay has agreed to stay 2 days more, and for half the usual price, is a miracle and an opportunity that Madrid will find it difficult to have again.'

However, the series of master classes that Campo organised to coincide with visits that Miller made to a number of wine regions as official reviewer of The Wine Advocate was, at best, uncomfortably cosy. Furthermore, Miller appears to have failed to question closely enough the way Campo was organising his agenda of visits to Spanish regions.

José Peñín's sharp criticism of Campo over the weekend further highlighted how the link between Campo and Miller was untenable. While it is almost certain that Miller had anyway intended to retire before much longer, both he and Parker would surely have preferred that he left in more glorious circumstances.

Neal Martin will take over reviewing the wines of Spain, Argentina, and Chile for the publication. David Schildknecht will review the wines of Oregon and Washington.

I'm certain that Neal Martin will not be using the services of Pancho Campo MW and will do a fine job, although his portfolio is now huge, as is David Schildknecht's. My guess is that this may well be a temporary measure and that, in time, a new writer will be recruited to Team Parker. I suspect, however, that Parker's description of Spain as an 'emerging wine region' will not make Martin's task easier. And, as El Mundo points out, Martin is on record as having said that Spain and its wines was not exactly his favourite subject.

Neal Martin has commented on erobert:

Doubtless Pancho Campo will have to reconsider his concept of organising speaking or marketing events, for a 'going rate', that uncomfortably coincide with official tasting visits. Both Murcia (€29,000) and Valencia (€35,000) will be wondering how they can amortise or recover the substantial sums they paid to Campo for bringing Miller to them.

Throughout this story of the way Campo ruthlessly manipulated his position as Miller's Spanish gatekeeper I have worked very closely with Harold Heckle, long established wine writer based in Madrid. It was he who obtained a copy of the damning email from Campo to DO Vinos de Madrid. Harold is ceratinly the co-author of this story. My thanks also to our sources, who passed on crucial copies of emails. Both Murcia and Madrid launched desperate searches to find the authors of these leaks. Was last week's last minute offer to the DO Vinos de Madrid that Miller would taste their wines for nothing part of a deal that Campo concocted with the DO – 'look for the leaker and I'll deliver Miller'?      

I'm also very grateful for all the support I have received, especially after the possibility of legal action was raised.

eh! Toro?

See also post on Vinography here.

Please see statement from David Schildknecht here


Anchois said...

Probably needs to spend more time with his family.

Chris Kissack said...

Jay defends himself in his own words over on, which I shouldn't reproduce here for copyright concerns, but Jay makes one statement worth referencing:

"I leave The Wine Advocate with a clear conscience. I have never accepted (or requested) fees for visiting wine regions or wineries."

Which begs the question where all the money paid to Pancho Campo, as described in your posts Jim, actually went to?

Jim's Loire said...

Chris. I assume that they went to Pancho Campo and the Wine Academy. Campo has described them as 'management fees'.

Anonymous said...

Good job, Jim.

Anonymous said...

I also see the "free tasting" offered to DO Madrid as an attempt to get DO Madrid back in the WA report, so that people can't go on saying the choice of presented DO depends on money paid, and thus the WA report is biased.

Lee Newby said...

Well done, it's hard to argue with the trust, but sounded like Parker was going to last week, the facts won out. I guess no Lawyers at 50m, eh!!!

Anonymous said...

Great job Jim.

It appears that the Wine Academy is getting a press release very soon.

Anonymous said...

Mr Parker seems to hint that Mr Miller had already been considering his resignation for a long time. But this does not fit well with the fact that he accepted to visit several regions just a few days ago, including Valencia and Madrid (that one for free). How could he commit himself to taste and review the wines if he knew he could not have anything published?
One would rather think that Mr Parker unexpectedly asked Mr . Miller to resign. But why would Mr Parker say otherwise?

Anonymous said...

If Miller's resignation was in the works as stated by a few sources, Parker definitely gave a nice send off to Miller (Three paid trips and a nice compensation for the "master class").

Regardless if it was a retirement or a forced departure from recent controversies, this does not help Parker's reputation.

Jim's Loire said...

Many thanks for the various comments.