Changes at The Wine Advocate? Correspondence with Parker and Miller

Robert Parker set an admirably high standard for ethics in wine journalism. In the introduction to the latest edition of his Wine Buyer’s Guide, he emphasizes the need for wine critics to avoid potential conflicts of interest and lays out the ethical guidelines that he believes they must adhere to. Among other things, he says that is “it is imperative for a wine critic to pay his own way. Gratuitous hospitality in the form of airline tickets, hotel rooms, guest houses, etc., should never be accepted either abroad or in this country.” He also writes: “While it is important to maintain a professional relationship with the trade, I believe the independent stance required of a consumer advocate, often not surprisingly, results in an adversarial relationship with the wine trade. It can be no other way. In order to pursue independence effectively, it is imperative to keep one’s distance from the trade. While this attitude may be interpreted as aloofness, such independence guarantees hard-hitting, candid, and uninfluenced commentary.”

In his correspondence with eRobertParker.com moderator, Mark Squires, Mike Steinberger brought up the “Weekend at Bern’s,” a road trip to the Tampa Bay wine mecca, Bern’s. Click through to read a first-hand account in the erobertparker forums. The Wine Advocate’s Jay Miller, whose editorial ambit includes reviewing the wines of Spain, Australia, and Argentina, was among the attendees. Also there were three importers whose Spanish wines Miller reviews: Eric Solomon, Patrick Mata, and Jose Pastor. Miller’s participation in this purely social event would seem to be distinctly at odds with Parker’s stated policy regarding interaction with the trade.

This isn’t the only example of Wine Advocate contributors deviating from Parker’s guidelines. Last year, Mark Squires, who reviews the dry wines of Portugal as well as the wines of Israel, Greece, Lebanon, Cyprus, Bulgaria and Romania for the Advocate, went to Israel on a trip, in his words in the forum, “”paid by the Israeli government…approved by Bob in advance.”

To the best of my knowledge, Parker has not given any indication, in print or online, that he has relaxed the Wine Advocate’s ethical standards. But in light of these examples, and given that so much of Parker’s authority derives from the perception that his integrity is beyond reproach, it seems fair to ask if the Wine Advocate has changed its policies regarding gratuitous hospitality and interaction with the trade. So I put the question to Robert Parker via email and post his reply here. I also sought clarification from Jay Miller. Further down, I post our exchange.

—–Original Message—–
From: Tyler Colman
To: wineadvocate@erobertparker.com
Sent: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 4:51 pm
Subject: request for clarification

Mr. Parker,

I have always admired your independence. I am curious about some perceived changes at The Wine Advocate and would welcome a comment from you.

In a recent thread, Jay Miller was shown to be on a road trip that included three dinners at Bern’s restaurant in Tampa Bay in the presence of, among others, three importers (Eric Solomon, Patrick Mata, and Jose Pastor) whose wine he reviews for the Advocate. [link]

Separately, Mark Squires admitted last year that he took a trip to Israel that was not paid for by the Advocate–with your approval, he says. [link]

I’m curious how these actions square with the policy in the Wine Buyer’s Guide, which reads in part: “It is imperative for a wine critic to pay his own way. Gratuitous hospitality in the form of airline tickets, hotel rooms, guest houses, etc., should never be accepted either abroad or in this country…In order to pursue independence effectively, it is imperative to keep one’s distance from the trade. While this attitude can be interpreted as aloofness, such independence guarantees hard-hitting, candid, and uninfluenced commentary.”

The recent actions of Squires and Miller have left me wondering: Has there been a change in policy for The Wine Advocate reviewers? If so, have you disclosed that to your readers? What is now allowed?

Best regards,

Tyler Colman, Ph.D.
www.DrVino.com

From: Robert Parker
Date: April 15, 2009 10:18:34 AM EDT
To: Tyler Colman
Subject: Re: request for clarification

Nothing at all has changed for me (I pay 100% of all hotel, travel, food, wine expenses), but I need to verify what the other writers (all independent contractors who don’t write exclusively for me) do..they are aware of the guidelines,…trying to control who they may be friends with and eat with is far too fascist for my taste, but they are expected to pick up their share of the costs of any meals, travel, etc. (which I believe they do, since I consistently am reimbursing them for meal and travel expenses for those articles they do for TWA)…the Berns meals had quite a few consumers as well, and I have no problem with importers wanting to attend and everyone sharing expenses..wish I had gone….RMP

From: Tyler Colman
Date: April 15, 2009 1:51:26 PM EDT
To: Robert Parker
Subject: Re: request for clarification

Thank you for your prompt reply.

I’m still not clear that you apply your stringent standards to your contributors. You didn’t respond to the fact that Squires’s trip was, in his own words, “paid by the Israeli government…approved by Bob in advance.”

And I have heard suggestions that Miller’s trip to Argentina was paid for by Wines of Argentina and that he has toured both Australia and Spain in the company of importers whose wines he reviews (Dan Philips and Jorge Ordonez, respectfully). If that is true–and I’m trying to clarify with you that it is–it could hardly be characterized as “aloofness” form the trade laid out in the Wine Buyer’s Guide.

Again, I have a great deal of respect for the independence that you have delineated as your policy. I’m just trying to clarify if there has been a change in journalistic practice by some of your independent contractors.

Best regards,

Tyler Colman

[No further reply has been received]
******
—– Original Message —–
From: “Tyler Colman”
To: Jay Miller
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 1:34 PM
Subject: Clarification

Hi Jay,

There seems to be a minor hullabaloo about your role in the Bern’s weekend dinners with three importers (Eric Solomon, Patrick Mata, and Jose Pastor). Could you set the record straight about your attendance and who paid for the event? Thanks.

Tyler

Tyler Colman, Ph.D.
www.DrVino.com

On Apr 13, 2009, at 2:56 PM, Jay Miller wrote:
Hello Tyler
First of all, where is the “hullabaloo” emanating from? I’m not going to comment on something I haven’t seen. Send me a link.
Regards, MrBigJ

From: “Tyler Colman”
To: “Jay Miller”
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 3:27 PM
Subject: Re: Clarification

Mostly on email but here’s a link

http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showthread.php?p=2598756

I just saw Jose Pastor’s “3 Dias at Bern’s” so the only question remaining is whether you paid your share of the bill.
Separately, and again for clarification, when you went recent on trips to Argentina or Australia, for example, did the Wine Advocate pay your way?
Best,
Tyler

On Apr 13, 2009, at 3:43 PM, Jay Miller wrote:

You want me to comment on that? JM

From: Tyler Colman
To: Jay Miller
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 5:03 PM
Subject: Re: Clarification

Yes. And, further, I’m curious if you think that either the Bern’s dinners and trips that you have taken (perhaps also in the company of importers) are in keeping with either the spirit or the letter of the journalistic independence laid out in the Wine Buyer’s Guide:

“It is imperative for a wine critic to pay his own way. Gratuitous hospitality in the form of airline tickets, hotel rooms, guest houses, etc., should never be accepted either abroad or in this country.” “In order to pursue independence effectively, it is imperative to keep one’s distance from the trade. While this attitude can be interpreted as aloofness, such independence guarantees hard-hitting, candid, and uninfluenced commentary.”

Thanks in advance for any substantive comment; I intend to do a post on this in the next 24-48 hours.

Tyler

On Apr 13, 2009, at 5:29 PM, Jay Miller wrote:

Tyler, say whatever you want. People who know you are well aware that you predicted in print the demise of The Wine Advocate. I really have nothing to say to you.
Regards, JM

From: Tyler Colman
To: Jay Miller
Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 3:12 PM
Subject: Re: Clarification

Jay –

Where have I predicted the demise of The Wine Advocate? I do not think I have ever made such a grand claim. I have argued that the role of traditional wine criticism may be evolving, but that is far from declaring the demise of a publication. Maybe you are confusing me with someone else?

Again, could you please clarify these issues:
* Does The Wine Advocate pay for your trips, notably trips to Argentina, Australia and Spain in the last year?
* Have you ever toured wine regions in the company of importers whose wines you review?

Thanks.

Tyler

On Apr 14, 2009, at 4:03 PM, Jay Miller wrote:

No, Tyler. You said it plain as day in The Politics of Wine [sic].
Regards, JM

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218 Responses to “Changes at The Wine Advocate? Correspondence with Parker and Miller”


  1. Well, at least he read your book.


  2. Ok. Now I’m hooked. Can’t wait for the next installment.

    I’m impressed by RP’s calm measured responses (perhaps the experience of an attorney with intense inetrrogation?). I’m equally dismayed by what appear to be childish, defensive responses from JM. Completely out of proportion to the admirably respectful tone of your questions.

    When are you going on 60 minutes with this expose?


  3. I need another bucket of popcorn.


  4. Steve Heimoff wrote an article some time ago questioning whether “free samples” are taxable.

    Wonder what would happen to the ratings game if wine samples were purchased at retail in name of objective commentary?

    The only writers I know that purchase at retail are at the Wall St Journal.


  5. Tyler,

    I particularly like how Mr. Miller denies the premise of your question by impugning your objectivity through clever turns of phrase like, “people who know you”.

    Mr. Parker, on the other hand, keeps a cool hand on the tiller as he denies responsibility for the actions of the independent contractors whose reputations he is responsible for building by publishing them in his newsletter.

    Keep digging, that’s all I ask. Keep digging.


  6. Oh this is getting positively interesting now.


  7. When I grow up, I want to be Dr. Vino!

    Seriously, man, this is amazing stuff and I admire the cool and restrained way in which you are approaching this inquiry. What I don’t understand is how supposedly smart “Consumer Advocates” don’t realize these childish discursive turns toward attack will help clear the quickly-spreading public perception of something rotten in the Empire.

    Really great work, Tyler. I will provide a synopsis in Spanish on my own blog and point my English-speaking readers toward here. This is important stuff.

    Now, I’m on a diet and doing the rest of this without popcorn is going to be a bitch…

    Best,

    Manuel


  8. I am dismayed to say it but the way Miller and Squires respond to questions from you and Steinberger remind me of cultist fanatics reacting to media.


  9. Tyler,

    With respect, I think you posted this entry prematurely. You should have given Robert Parker some time to research as he said he was going to.

    You pose as objective, but ebob management will see darker motives due to the timing of this post.

    I think you had a good chance of getting cooperation from Robert Parker before. Now, no chance.

    Sadly, you will just be viewed as an adversary, taking away from the issues of the much-needed reforms at ebob.

    Just my 2 cents.


  10. Brady

    You do have a point, but blogs offer greater immediacy than 24 cable news. The turn around times on stories are even shorter.
    I think that this should be kept in mind by those being approached by bloggers by potentially “hot” topics.


  11. Tyler,

    You are like the Woodward/Bernstein of the wine world today! The Parker response is somewhat carefully worded. Really wish we could get an answer to who foots the bills, but from being at many many dinners with importers and with wine critics in attendance, the importer always picks up the bill. That is MY experience. I won’t name names but it’s been done and will continue to be done.

    I don’t see the big deal in that part to be perfectly honest about getting free stuff as wine people, but what needs to happen is these people getting all the free stuff need to just admit it and then it will be over. Look where Andy Petite is now!

    Dr. BigJ needs to eat some major crow right about now as his credibility, if there was any to begin with, is taking a huge beating. He cannot answer simple questions and is acting childish. He seems to believe it is a conspiracy of sorts.

    What about Meadows when he is going to dinner with all the millionaire burg collectors, does he pick up the bill? Probably not, but I still take his notes at face value because he has proved himself with his brilliant publication and various posts on the ebob board.

    As usual the cover-up is what makes people look bad and not the crime.


  12. Kudos to you for asking these questions in a professional and articulate manner. It’s a shame that you haven’t yet received many direct answers as yet. Even more disappointing is the defensive, angry tone of Mr. Miller’s responses, such as they were. His handling of this situation brings a shadow of discredit on the Wine Advocate. Hope Mr. Parker is objective enough realize it and take measures to correct the situation.


  13. Wow! I haven’t had this much fun since Rockaway-gate!!!

    Thanks you, Dr. Coleman. You continue to bring class to the discussion. Apparently others cannot seem to follow the example. The ever-professional Robert Parker will have to deal with his “free(?)-lancers getting their panties in a bunch. The level of their discourse is rather juvenile and does the Wine Advocate no favors.

    I must say that the Schadenfreude is keeping me entertained, though!


  14. I understand that many have grievances to air here. But I think we should be looking beyond the immediate gratification of Schadenfreude here.
    If the Advocate/eBob staff does not want to respond constructively to the criticism levelled here, so be it.
    However, we should extract some key lessons here and do something positive with them where we can affect change.


  15. It’s more likely that the eBob enthusiasts will circle their wagons once again against a perceived onslaught by the uncultured, unwashed blogger masses.

    This is pattern behavior for them (just ask Lyle Fass and Alice Feiring), and it’s very disappointing, and it’s a big part of the reason I don’t play in their sandbox.

    I’m still taken aback by Mr. Miller’s lack of manners in his responses. At least with Mr. Parker, you could see that even if he didn’t want to directly address the question, he was not above politely dancing around it.


  16. […] Another lively exchange to read and discuss. […]


  17. Keep digging Tyler.


  18. Tyler,

    Great work, as usual. There is no place in the wine business for dishonest critics.


  19. Fascinating conversation and one that speaks to a larger issue regarding the issue of Journalism (transparency: I majored in journalism but sadly was neither summa nor laude…but it was a really good school…does that count in my favor?)

    In the “old world” Publishers and writers all subscribed to de facto ethics and conventions developed over hundreds of years. All these were based on the priniciple of control of the printing press and therefore access to an audience. In the internet world, publishing has been turned on its ear. Anyone can be a publisher. So the question becomes if anyone can be a publisher, do the old rules still apply? And if so, do they apply to forums as well as newsletters like TWA?

    If we’re trying to draw analogies, then a forum is sort of like the op ed page that often reflects the bias of the publisher. In that sense, Squires et al is right. But if we’re all trying to have an open conversation then this sort of heavy handed editing in an environment with no limits on column inches is totally inappropriate.

    In any case this is LOTS ‘O FUN to Watch…keep it coming!


  20. Good questions. The issue is not the acceptance of free travel and samples – I know Neal does this, as I do to – it’s part of being a wine journalist. You need the access to producers and wine regions that this brings in order to write intelligently.

    Instead, it’s more an issue of the stated policy of the wine advocate, and its current practice. RP’s policy is a counsel of perfection that only those of independent means can manage. He has managed it because of the trajectory his career has enjoyed, and the fact that the WA started out small and grew when there wasn’t a lot of competition, and when he had a solid financial base to start from. I admire his stance, but the text at the front of the wine buyer’s guide is now out of date.

    I think it’s still possible to take samples and free travel and write objectively with the consumer in mind.

    Personally, I’m in the lucky position of having so many travel offers that I feel no obligation to those who foot the bill. I’m grateful for them, but they’re getting a lot back in exchange – as a freelancer, I’m not charging them my day rate for my time. I’m no big shot – I’m just starting out. But free travel, nice meals and good hotels aren’t going to sway my judgement – my passion and interest is in the wine.


  21. I agree with Jamie, though I know it’s not the most popular position. The problem is a policy used less as an aspirational ethic than as a marketing tool. Once a position has been written in blood, any divergence is inherently going to result in questioning, criticism, and accusations of (at best) inconsistency, or (at worst) hypocrisy.


  22. Jamie

    If you can become objective in this manner of doing business, then great, but it is apparent that others cannot be so objective after receiving “gifts.”

    If you went to Il Bulli with an importer of Spanish wines, the hardest reservation in the world, you might give em a little nudge in the reviews, right?


  23. […] situation ala Mutineer vs. Steve Heimoff, and the juiciest part of this story, which was posted on Coleman’s “Dr. Vino” blog, actually involves Dr. Vino (Tyler Coleman) and Parker […]


  24. It seems clear to me the point asked in your emails with both Jay and Mr.Parker. Jay’s use of a Red Herring logically speaking to divert the question at hand is a little suspicious.

    I have questioned Parkers ethics for a while now, ever since I heard a wine rep who formerly worked for an importer speak of the close relationship between the importer and Parker…and the very gracious ratings the importer thus received. This is hear-say and by no means proven… but it is what peaked my interest in the exchange all the more.


  25. Another stellar post and thread. You have done precisely what print journalists covering a story should do: ask the right questions of the right people. Jay Miller’s response (or lack thereof) is telling. Stay on it!


  26. What exactly is Dr. Miller being accused of doing? I don’t understand this part of the argument.

    A lot of very silly mud is being thrown around here. I would at least like to know what Jay is being accused of doing. I’d like to read a precise charge.

    Parker runs a partisan wine board. No one has a democratic right to be a participant. Squires might be heavy-handed but I don’t see why anyone in the non-Parker camp, particular someone who knows the wine world well, would want to participate on that forum other than to generate publicity for themselves at Parker’s expensive.

    I’ve never been on that board because I don’t like its direction and the board’s general view of wine. There’s plenty of other places to participate or to blog. Furthermore, I have to see my oncologist and my mother’s nephrologists too frequently to be thrown off a board by Mark Squires.

    The only journalist I know who literally takes nothing is Eric Asimov. The Times gives him a budget to go out and buy the wine he reviews. Otherwise, everyone takes free wine samples to evaluate and it is hard to fault them. A good critic goes through thousands of wines a year and the budget to acquire each wine is prohibitive. The better critics go and visit the growers they review and taste at the domaine. Tanzer and Josh Reynolds largely do this, for instance, as does David Schildknecht and others.

    Much of Parker’s activities are tastings organized sur place. His spring Bordeaux tasting have traditionally been done in Bordeaux, he tastes Châteauneuf in Châteauneuf, etc.

    I draw a line though at the free meals and free gifts and free trips. Parker, Tanzer and Asimov and all the best critics will not accept a penny. No free bottles for personal consumption, no trips, no free luncheons, etc. Yes, there are very few critics in America who have the resources keep up to these standards, which means there are very few good wine critics who can be trusted. No one has to be a wine writer and why not just have a day job and keep it honest.

    I’ve never been in the position of defending Parker but life has taken lots of strange turns for me lately.


  27. One last point, although the Parker crowd may not be my cup of tea, If Miller is being attacked for going out with a bunch of people and splitting the bill than public apologies are called for.


  28. Slippery is the slope you are taking, Coleman.

    Kudos on your bravery, of course, but if you keep revealing other people’s mail, who’s gonna even talk to you in the near future?

    Spicy blog, anyway.


  29. Based on all the comments so far, I feel that one ofthe main ‘issues’ here is still being overlooked. There is a five line between accepting gifts and writing a subjective review and every critic has their own beliefs so be it. As Lyle stated, the problem here is in Squires and Millers childish, aggrevated and snobbish reponses to ALL the inquires. It just shows how much of a cult TWA is. These guys won’t listen or talk to you if you don’t agree with them 100%

    On that note, More troubling is that if Miller is the type of person who won’t talk to Tyler because he insulted TWA I’m his book, then what does Miller expect if he negatively reviews a wine from a producer or importer?


  30. Daniel,

    I am dreadfully sorry for your loss and amazed that you have the clarity of mind to even think in such a trying time… Paz contigo y tu familia.

    Joe and Daniel, if you are large importer of Spanish Caldo and you can grab the attention of a reviewer on the Parker Board and stress for him to taste and rate your wines, you are guaranteed to sell in the USA, Germany, Japan and possibly South America. It is a HUGE CRIME to not afford the same access to all importers of Spanish Wines. It is not enough to go through the expense and effort to ship, get the wines imported just to be sampled by the esteemed psychiatrist, apparently now one has to wine and dine him for 3 day trips to Bern’s etc. When one inquires how to get their wines reviewed in the Parker network this information is not included.

    SO is it fair to the small producer who is producing outstanding wines and being rated by other reviewers??? Is it fair to the small importer fighting for distribution of the 20 or so wines they import? Or what about the board members who are sucked into this ideal that Parker’s reviewers are really advocates for the wine and not swayed by weekends and gifts to rate the best wines truly available? I am appalled at both Squires and Miller’s pompous ass remarks. Parker has a sticky up now asking for board participants to show a little LOVE…how about a little respect and honesty first? How about unbiased reviews on Spanish Wines first? This is not going to go away. I am in the process of analyzing the 727 wines that Big Jay just published, how many of those rated so beautifully and imported into the US are brought in by the 3 he was wined and dined by. And better yet how about how many wines are submitted and NOT included in his review, perhaps they were not available to go with the Foie at Bern’s?


  31. Tyler,

    Interesting that you brought up this point at this time. In a thread on Stephen Tanzer’s website I posted a comment, not directed at Steve, but obviously one that struck a chord. It was my comments about the 2006 Bordeaux vintage and my concerns about the 2008 en primeur campaign (not taking into account what pricing would be). After attending the UGC tasting I posted and did so again that I thought the wines overall were not good and that they reflected the harvest conditions. Most of the wines tasted we lacking fruit, were green, and had bitter sharp tannins and smoked tea scents. All factors indicating unripe grapes. Yes, there were a few good wines. My opinions were shared independently with about 20 other people who also attended the event and we were all in agreement about the 2006 wines. We could not understand how these wines were given such rave reviews by the wine writers and their scores. It was out of whack by what we tasted. Prices for these wines were also outrageous. In fact our conclusion was that 2004 was much better than 2006.

    Not only were my comments pretty much dismissed, but I expressed my concern about wine writers, critics, reviews, scores, advertising and that I could not seen how someone could remain completely unbiased when all of the aforementioned is tied to access, economics, reputation etc… Thus after tasting 2006 and seeing the scores/reviews (I’ve yet to taste 2007), that I felt that for the most part I could not trust the wine critics and that even with good reviews of the 2008 vintage even with decent, but in my opinion they still have too high release, prices that I could not put stock in much that was written moving forward. I did not buy any 2006 so economically it didn’t matter one bit to me.

    As I said I didn’t point out Mr. Tanzer, but this struck a chord from his comments.

    When I see comments from smaller independent wine writers who not only give disclosure, but also witness the powers that be escorted into private tasting rooms away from the rest of the media etc… and see the scores year after year I have to question what’s going on, especially after my 2006 UGC tasting in which we tasted every wine presented and only could give a 90 point score to 1 or 2. The rest were in the mid to low 80s. vs. the critics very high scores and reviews saying that the wines in many cases we almost as good as if not better than the 2005s, oh , and that they (2006) were for early drinking!!!


  32. Iwas told by Dr.J personally that, after the time he was announced as the new WA Spanish reviewer he had an agreement with Parker that his “official” start date would be pushed back a bit. How was this interim period spent? With Jorge Ordonez in Spain. This was not the famous Ordonez bus trip to his producers around Spain, a regular and somewhat utilitarian event made available to key retailers and sommoliers every year. This was, by Miller’s own description, a private hedenistic blow -out affair featuring, among other delights, dining at three different 3-star restaurants. Miller was unabashed in his glee over this perk. And it is somewhat difficult to believe that Bob Parker was not aware of what was going on.

    Did Miller’s delay in his starting date suffice to reconcile this boondogle with the WA’s advertized ethics?

    I have heard similar stories about Dr. J since his “technical” joining of the WA. Several of these have been from credible sources (including sources in Spain)who were presenting their stories in a matter-of-fact, rather than accusatory way. I must say, however, that based on the first episode conveyed to me almost boastfully by Miller himself, I would not be surprised if there were other transgressions, as is also suggested by his hand-in-the-cookie-jar response here. Bear in mind, however, that compared to what I know as fact, this steakhouse dinner episode is a mere crumb.


  33. I spoke to someone who was at the Berns dinner. Dr. Miller paid his way.

    Parker is running a wine publication and a wine board, not a monastery. I think you all owe Miller a public apology about this alleged incident.

    I think Dr. Miller’s reviews of wines are ridiculously over-the-top. I find him to be a horrible wine critic who worships spoofulation and everything I dislike about wine.

    At the same time, I have no reason to believe he is dishonest. I think he honestly likes this shit.

    I am a niche importer. I’m happy to be cited in the Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Tanzer, Meadows or whonever. I’ve never bought free meals for anyone and never buddied around with writers. Furthermore, I’m a loathsome character and no one really wants to spend time with me.

    I’ve been doing this for 20 years and with or without critics, we’ve succeeded. I don’t expect Robert Parker to like many of our Rhône wines because most of them are made in a style he doesn’t like.

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too.


  34. Great post Joe! Keep fighting the battles (both for your health and against these spoofulated wines). We need you around.


  35. Joe Dressner,

    You’re missing the point. It’s not the fact that a wine critic gets a free meal every now and then, period. It’s the fact that the Wine Advocate claims they don’t get the freebies. They SAY they’re running a monastery, above the fray, but they’re not.

    It’s not the meals. It’s the hypocrisy.


  36. Kudos to Joe Dressner. I love his frank responses. Loathsome, hah, well done!


  37. Joe

    I hear what you are saying, but I do not think you are speaking to the potential problem. If this were an occasional meal out, then fine, but even by your own admission, you would draw the line at regular meals, regular trips and regular gifts.

    The “contract employees” that Parker speaks of still have other jobs. Antonio still works on Wall Street, right?

    As a contract employee, that still may/may not hold other jobs (Jay Miller used to won a wine shop, Squires runs a bulletin board) it would be tough to get to taste wines and visit the regions you cover, without a little help from your friends, right?

    Miller has been to Spain a couple of times, Argentina a couple of times, Washington and Oregon a couple of times, Australia a couple of times. Squires has been to Greece, Israel, Portugal, etc.

    These guys are either raking it in on their day jobs to travel this extensively, or someone is footing the bill. If someone is footing the bill (ie an importer, a winery, etc.), how can you have the policy that you are so independent?

    Stop taking freebies, and then you can be independent!


  38. Dear “Mr Spanish Caldo”

    I’m looking forward in your report about those 727 “WA 181″ wines that Jay just publish. May you please do a breakdown by non-honest importers and their wines? “PLEASE DON’T LET THIS TO GO AWAY”!!! I Love it!!

    Also just dropping a line to confirm you that Jay did pay his way as far as I know.

    Hope to see you soon in Japan. What about 3 dias on “CHIPS” & fish”?

    Kampai,


  39. The report of 727 wines, as Jose Pastor is inferring, will contain many wines from the Jorge Ordonez portfolio.


  40. Dan,

    Stop taking freebies in order to be independent is precisely what TWA is supposed to all about. Bob stated in his response to Tyler that he foots the bill for a lot of these freelancers to travel and ‘purchase’ samples, etc. Obviously most writers can’t afford to do this so they have to accept some ‘perks’ but that’s fine. The problem here is 1) That TWA writers are not abiding by the parker code of no handouts, and 2) their denial and arrogance in handling the situation.

    As I said earlier, how can Jay be rude to Tyler because of a comment about TWA in Wine Politics, but yet still be a critic and maintain ‘friendships’ with producers if he were to insult thier wines. A little two-faced if you ask me.

    It’d be nice to have this conversation in ebob where it should be … but we all what mein squires did to that thread.


  41. Thanks Daniel,

    But still I would love to see that report!

    Because, I have some doubts about myself ?


  42. Sending wine samples and paying for wine trips does not guarantee a review. I believe the issue, as has been stated, is if you have a policy forbidding gratuities and are suspected or proven to be doing the opposite, you need to be honest about it. I don’t have a problem with wine writers receiving wine samples, meals or even trips, so long as they’re upfront about it.


  43. Does Jay Miller still beat his wife?

    The man ate out with friends and importers he likes and paid his way. Yawn.

    That’s really the only charge against him.

    What he did before he took the Parker job is really not important.

    Miller likes many wines which I find repulsive. He’s kind of Parker on steroids without Parker’s stature. Thusly, he’s an easy target.

    But honestly, I find this exchange distasteful. Throw some mud, then some more mud and see what sticks.

    Even the name of this thread is libelous — nothing has really changed at the Wine Advocate except they now have better coverage of Italy, Champagne, Burgundy, the Loire, Alsace, Germany and Austria. Not to mention Languedoc. When that changes, you will have something to holler about.

    Of course, Squires complicates matters by being such a ridiculous personality. But that doesn’t make anyone guilty of anything.

    I know nothing of Squires accepting a free trip from the Israel government. I would find that objectionable if it was true.

    Otherwise, Parker (as far as I know) pays for his writers to visit the countries they are covering. This is not a fee they are paying for out of pocket.

    Parker’s response cited above seems fairly straightforward and altogether non-evasive. Again, Squires seems like a jerk and is making it seem that where there is smoke there is fire.

    But I really don’t see any smoking gun here.

    By the way, there are a lot of allegations in this thread made by people who only use their first names. This don’t carry much weight for me.

    Parker has always been contemptuous of his opposition, as those of us who remember the Robert Callahan incident of years back will remember. He is thin-skinned and thinks that his viewpoint is one of a persecuted minority. Of course, this is comical as he remains the most powerful person in the wine world.

    But I see no reason to question his honestly or that of his publication. I just question his evaluations of wine.

    By the way, what is the Dr. Vino policy on freebies. Is their a disclosure policy here somewhere?

    Why don’t we all degenerate to McCarthyite mudslinging?


  44. Joe,

    There are many presumptions being made here, many by you. Your presume that all of this is false. You presume that Squires did not get free trips. You presume that Miller did not get free trips. Dr. Vino asked direct questions and he got indirect, evasive responses. What more can we say? I can tell you much of which Dr. Vino has uncovered is true. You only need to look at some of the actions of these people. The Wine Advocate does not pay for these trips. That is a fact. Now, that you are aware of that fact, I would hope that you would stop the rambling of nonsense.

    How do I know it is a fact? When I visited Mendoza, I met with the very same wineries that Jay Miller did. Some were very open about how they courted him to come to Argentina, as they were all very disappointed that Parker never visited.

    I do not feel I need to say anymore, however, I am amazed you can be so dismissive of these allegations. Many publications (IWC, WS, BH and even Parker himself) have done a great job of distancing themselves from these sort of problems. I mention WS because I know that their trips are paid for by the magazine. Sure, the magazine takes advertisers, but, that has never shown to influence any scores, just pure speculation. On the other hand, since you do not look at the Parker board, you should note that Parker is considering taking advertisers online. In addition, Miller, on his first trip to Argentina, only visited wineries that had paid for the trip. That makes sense, as those wineries should get the treatment, although does that make it right? Why isn’t the WA funding trips to these wine regions? Parker may be reimbursing some meals, but that is about it.

    These allegations are serious, and it is not just mudslinging. Much of this atarted because Mark Squires accused me of being biased. When I shot back, he just tried to make this all disappear, only it does not appear to be going away…this time.


  45. Mr “Spanish Caldo” ?

    I’m still waiting in your list BTW.

    No rush.

    Just ordered some “CHIPS” & fish to go. So I can watch the fishing episode tonight.


  46. The overall issue is interesting and some of the reactions appalling. Parker is behaving like an adult, unlike some of the others associated with TWA.

    I can understand the Israel trip, as the Israeli government has a concerted publicity campaign that pays for journalists, commentators and politicians to visit the country. They want people to get an unmediated experience of both sides in the conflict and operate in an environment of extreme hostility and skepticism. With all of this in mind, a trip to Israel paid for by the government seems to be of little concern. A “Wines of Argentina” trip would seem to be also of little concern, depending on how broad the trade group’s membership was.

    I’m a fan of TWA and like Parker’s palate, so it’s a disappointment to see the reactions. The episode does point out the succession (and rest of world) problem with TWA – Parker is rather singular and hasn’t been cloned, unfortunately. Hopefully we’ll see more disclosure and more adult behavior in the future.


  47. Which Argentine wineries paid Miller to come or paid for his expenses? Do you have names and people who will publicly admit to having done so, something beyond gossip. How much did they pay? If you do, you have a case.

    Otherwise, it is mudslinging.

    I don’t care who Dr. Jay dines with if he pays for his bill. The Solomon/Ordonez/Pastor charge is ridiculous since no one denies Jay paid his way.

    Squires being paid by the Israeli government is a more serious charge. Where is this documented somewhere?


  48. Dear Mr. Hey:

    Accepting money from government agencies would truly be scandalous for a writer. It is kind of the ABC of journalistic ethics.

    I don’t see what is hard to understand about this.


  49. Hey, MR. Spanish Caldo ?

    In case you can’t find it, Here are some leeds, Hermano ?

    WA 181

    Spain’s Top 100 Values (Page 83 to 91)


  50. In addition, the people in online marketing will be able to search their information specific to our destination and it help them and provides suggestions for cheap airline tickets. These are only a few of the distinctions between online marketing and travel agencies.


  51. May I get one of those cheap ticket’s to Tokyo? Feeling Hungry ! Those CHIPS’s & fish didn’t do it for me tonight!! I need some TORO!


  52. Joe:

    I am not sure of the details on Mark Squires trip to Israel but he was invited (and attended) as a journalist by the Durii group (www.vinusdurii.org) to visit Spain and Portugal back in June 2006. This organization is a public institution created by the regional government of Castilla Leon in Spain and The Northern Portugal Development Commission.


  53. Dear Joey:

    Was he a staff writer for the Advocate when he went to Spain and Portugal?

    Squires is an ignoramous, but that’s no reason to accuse him of taking money in violation of journalist ethics.

    As manager of a bulletin board, I don’t care where he’s been and who paid the bill. Garr accepts trips, the Politburo at Wine Disorder is infamous for the handouts they receive.

    What is Dr. Vino’s policy. Does he take free trips, go to free luncheons, get free wine, free pens, t-shirts, etc.


  54. Joe – what you say is all very good, but you are missing the point.

    I don’t think Tyler has a problem with journalists doing press trips – anyone who does is a bit out of touch.

    It’s the discrepancy between the stated policy of the WA and the practice. The practice is fine – it’s just the stated policy implies the rest of us are corrupt to a degree (or at least liable to undue influence) by taking press trips and receiving samples, when this is in fact what WA journalists do.

    This is the second time someone has pointed this out to you, dude, in this comment thread, yet still you fail to acknowledge that this is in fact the issue Tyler is getting at. Are you deliberately being obtuse or just trying to stir.

    I agree with you – if Tyler were criticising WA journalists for accepting meals, travel and samples, then he’d be slightly nuts and should apologize to Big Dr J. But he’s not.


  55. Mr. Goode:

    No one has given any evidence the Miller took a sponsored press trip since he took the job for The Wine Advocate. People say that Squires took an Israeli government sponsored trip and if he did it is a violation of journalistic ethics and I would roundly deny the entire venture.

    Miller ate with a bunch of geeks and three wine importers and paid his way. This is his personal business and has nothing to do with press ethics. I have dined with wine critics, all of whom were careful to pay their bill, and I’m allowed to pick my friends and enjoy myself with them.

    The problem is that no one is giving any concrete evidence that someone at The Wine Advocate violated their stated policy. Show the smoking gun, with real proof, and I will be the first to denounce the practice. But throwing mud and asking who still beats their wive is not proof, even if Squires is clumsy and repulsive in dealing with the charges. Squires arrogance is not proof that there is a cover-up going on.

    I’m not being obtuse and I’m not being a dude. Minimally, if you want to charge me with being obtuse, feel free. But please don’t call a dude.

    I like real proof when I denounce somebody. I know the internet allows everyone to charge anybody with anything and where there is smoke there is fire, but it should not be an excuse for slanderous charges. Show the real proof, not the hearsay.

    You and I disagree about the role of the wine press. I am against the wine press accepting free meals, free trips and free anything. I would argue that the best members of the wine press are firm about this policy and all my personal dealings with the Parker crowd over the years have been done on an honest basis. I have disagreed with their evaluation of wines and find them arrogant and mean-spirited toward opposition, but I have never heard even anecdotal evidence of someone being on the take.

    You admit that you take the free trips and freebies that are constantly dangled in front of the “wine press.” I would argue that’s fine for someone who is a publicist and writer in the wine industry, which basically is what you are doing, but not for someone who is being a critic.

    You are writing about wine, but a critic maintains a distance from their subject. Film reviewers who accept excursions from the studios because they write puff pieces and praise everything they see are not really critics. They are part of the film industry publicity machine. They are writers, but not independent critics. There is a distinction here.

    So, you’re accusing The Wine Advocate writers of doing something you gladly do but being hypocritical because they are following the practices you freely follow and advocate. Hmmmm.

    The obvious problem is it takes considerable resources to do it honestly. John Gilman is going it here in America and I doubt he is making much money. Other’s have started small. Mr. Goode, I believe, used to have a day job and perhaps still does.

    Unfortunately, there are not that many resources to finance a real wine critic on staff and pay their way. So all this means is that there will not be many wine critics but there will be lots of wine writers trying to make a meager living off the crumbs thrown at them by the trade. That’s just how it is.

    Among the wine writers there are first rate people, including Mr. Goode. They are struggling to make a living while struggling to remain independent. There are also a large amount of Ron Brewingtons who are there to collect money for fluff pieces and to live the life!

    The important thing is not to confuse the two métiers. If Miller or Squires have become flaks for the wine industry, lets see the proof!


  56. Joe

    Please email Jay Miller and ask which organization(s) have paid for his trips to Argentina. You are not going to believe what anyone says here anyways. I am not quite sure why you have taken just a vested interest in something that you clearly know nothing about. You have called many of us liars here. I, for one, do not appreciate it.


  57. I don’t know the man’s e-mail and I’m not a lawyer doing a discovery procedure.

    I am not calling you a liar. I want to see a smoking gun.

    I would like to see a statement from a winery owner that he paid for Miller go visit the winery or visit Spain or visit Argentina. Post such a notice and I’m with you.


  58. Daniel:

    I reviewed your material here.

    You write:

    You presume that Squires did not get free trips. You presume that Miller did not get free trips. Dr. Vino asked direct questions and he got indirect, evasive responses.

    That’s their stated policy. Do you have proof otherwise. Then post that proof. Squires giving evasive answers and acting like is an asshole does not constitute proof.

    I can tell you much of which Dr. Vino has uncovered is true. You only need to look at some of the actions of these people.

    What did the good Doctor discover? That Miller ate at Berns and paid his way? That’s fine with me.

    There is also the charge that Squires accepted a Government sponsored trip to Israel. I clicked on Dr. Vino’s link and it certainly appears to be the case. Squires should be fired as a Wine Advocate reviewer and I’m shocked Parker agreed to Squires accepting this bribe.

    The Wine Advocate does not pay for these trips. That is a fact. Now, that you are aware of that fact, I would hope that you would stop the rambling of nonsense.

    My understanding is that The Wine Advocate pays for all the trips, with the exception of this Squires junket. On what basis do you say they do not pay. I have never checked their checking account. Have you?

    How do I know it is a fact? When I visited Mendoza, I met with the very same wineries that Jay Miller did. Some were very open about how they courted him to come to Argentina, as they were all very disappointed that Parker never visited.

    Please leave some facts. How did they court Miller? Who did the courting? Was there an exchange of money?

    In addition, Miller, on his first trip to Argentina, only visited wineries that had paid for the trip. That makes sense, as those wineries should get the treatment, although does that make it right? Why isn’t the WA funding trips to these wine regions? Parker may be reimbursing some meals, but that is about it.

    Where is the proof? It has to be more than gossip or heresay.

    So, I was wrong about the Squires trip and he should be fired. I find it shocking he went on a government sponsored trip and claims to be a wine critic. I don’t care if he has a bulletin board and takes freebies, but he should not be working for The Wine Advocate.

    That’s the only think that really seems documented here. The rest is rumor and the Squires junket was admitted to by Squires himself on his own bulletin board.

    You’re all confusing so much rumors and slander it is tough to sift through everything and figure out what is real and what vitriol.


  59. What strikes me as odd is why Jay simply didn’t reply to Tyler that he paid his way for the mail, plain and simple. That would have addressed the concern. Why, instead, use a lot of verbiage on other points. His failure to simply say he paid his way created suspicion, it seems to me.

    Did he “pay his way” at the dinner, or reimburse someone later?

    If he paid his way at the dinner, then that would seem to put this concern to rest. But why did he avoid answering the basic (and seemingly reasonable) question? After all, Bob immediately and directly addressed his practices to Tyler.


  60. Jay did not reply and Squires did not reply because they are arrogant and bullyish.

    Squires, it turns out, admits on his own bulleting board that he accepted Israeli government money to tastes wines on his Wine Advocate beat. Apparently Robert Parker gave his ok. This, I do find scandalous.


  61. Daniel,

    As a news reporter who is also now a wine writer, I have a good bit of experience in dealing with competing allegations, hearsay, evidence, etc. Strange as it may sound, I think you and Joe are on the same side here. Joe has conceded time and again that when the evidence comes to light, he is ready to call for changes.

    But Joe is doing everyone a favor by being a consistent crank when it comes to banging the drum for real evidence. You’ve obviously been told quite a lot of things from people you trust, and that’s fine. We ought not doubt the integrity of your sources, but as Joe points out, we also ought not take your word for it if the sources are not willing to go public with the information. These are serious allegations, and even if it feels like you have it rock solid, the rest of us should demand more.

    That’s exactly what Tyler was doing when he initiated the email dialogue, and it’s exactly what Joe has been doing all throughout the thread. His recent comments about Mr. Squires only further demonstrate his devotion to evidence-based judgements. The efforts of Dr. Vino and others has engendered plenty of discussion and probing that will likely offer some kind of definitive conclusion, and when that comes, we should all be grateful.

    Tyler, cheers on an important effort.


  62. I agree with Jamie G. above that Tyler’s central premise here is the apparent conflict between The Wine Advocate’s stated policies and what may have been divergances from said policy by two of his hired guns. Seems to me that RMP himself will need to rationalize or take some sort of action. And soon.

    But the fact that the thread has taken on the life of a many-headed beast indicates that the nexus of critics’ power and the enormous but never fully explored questions of wine writing ethics. And with respect to what else goes on, methinks the ferfuffle over Dr. Jay and Mr Squires is small patooties.

    I fully expect this discussion to bring greater scrutiny to the “glossy” wine mags; and int turn, the sincerity and veractiy of wine bloggers will come out smelling like roses by comparison.


  63. Joe,

    Is that a smoking gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me Mark?

    Ye of little faith (Evan, Joe, etc) I ask you to ask the critics their policies and how they conduct their business. It is not the job of Tyler or anyone else to prove any of this to be true. Most of us know it is.

    While we claim innocent until proven guilty, we know that rarely works out.

    If these people have nothing to hide, I am sure they will come out and show receipts for airline tickets, movies, popcorn, bubble gum, wine purchases, bbq grills, etc to free them of this viscious lies we are all telling. Until then…I do not need to reveal anything further. Joe has found his smoking gun, now he can go enjoy the sunny weather in NY!


  64. Hey Tyler,

    I find this exchange tremendously interesting as I myself just posted a similar blog that got an immediate response from the Wine Spectator’s executive editor.

    I would love your comments/feedback on this: http://bit.ly/1axITx
    thanks!


  65. I agree with Joe’s point that without someone with firsthand knowledge backing-up the story, it’s heresay.

    Having said that, the lack of transparency and direct replies from Squires and Miller is disturbing. If Parker and the Wine Advocate want to continue to portray themselves as consumers’ advocates, then we need a clear and forthright answer about the policies of TWA, and how these policies apply to the members of TWA staff (contract or otherwise).

    Another topic that has gotten short shrift here is how the eBob forum is moderated. Currently it seems the policy “at the whim of Mark Squires.” While it may be “Squires” forum, that seems like a mighty capricious approach, particularly given Parker’s ethical standards and given that eBob is the internet’s most active wine forum. Accordingly I’d like to see a Tyler and other wine journalists push for clarification regarding whether Robert Parker is a supporter of free speech and how this stance is applied when moderating the eBob forum. I see that Joe considers eBob a partisan forum, but I don’t think that is necessarily consistent with how the form is portrayed by Parker. Given the consumer advocacy approach of TWA, forum readers should have guidelines for how eBob is moderated, including editing, consolidation, and deletion of threads (much clearer than the vague FAQ that currently exists). I’d also like to understand what his policy is regarding moderators editing threads which they have actively participated in (seems like a conflict of interest). Moderators editing their own comments should also be addressed.


  66. Joe:

    Not sure what you specifically mean by “staff writer” for the Wine Advocate but he was the administrator of the board plus he was writing articles for the WA before he went to the Spain and Portugal trip. His appointment to review table wines from Portugal came a few weeks after his Spain and Portugal trip.

    Jay Miller has gone three times to Spain since he was appointed to review the wines from Spain. The first trip was in September 2006, a few weeks after Parker announced he was going to review the wines from Spain. This is the same trip Calvin mentions on a previous post. The second time Jay was invited to attend the Guía Peñín Best Wines from Spain. This is an event were the best wines rated from the Peñín guide pay about 1500 euros per table to attend and it is also the time were the latest version of the Peñín guide is released. Sort of a Wine Spectators Grand Tasting format. The third time was this past fall to receive the Víctor de la Serna award from the Spanish Academy of Gastronomy. He spent a good amount of time dining with Jorge Ordóñez on all three trips. The only winery he acknowledge visiting was one from Jorge’s portfolio in the Basque country before having dinner at world renowned restaurant Arzak.

    Even if Squires and Miller trips were paid by the WA the trips go against WA philosophy of not participating in wine judgings or trade tastings. I do not think that Parker has placed himself in so much controversy in the last three decades or so as Mark Squires and Jay Miller have done in the last three years. Parker’s legacy and reputation might suffer from his lapse of judgement in selecting these folks to represent the WA brand.

    It would also be interesting to mention the mess created when Parker selected Rovani to review Spanish wines back in March 2006. After selecting Rovani to review the wines from Spain, Ordóñez pressured Parker to review his wines instead of Rovani and Parker complied. Rovani reviewed the wines of the other importers while Parker reviewed the wines from Jorge. Rovani resigned or was fired from the WA, depends who you ask to, just before the the next WA issue came out but Parker released the ratings of Jorge’s wines and left out the wines of the other importers from the next WA issue. Definitely bad timing for the other importers since this was the issue before the holiday season and they were not able to get the right amount of exposure for their current releases.


  67. We all associate with people we work with. I know people who married co-workers. Everyone understands the idea of having dinner with your associates and business acquaintances and I don’t think that’s the issue at all.

    Back when the WA started, the British writers were criticized for reviewing wines from wineries with which they had relationships.

    Therefore the WA website says “When possible all of my tastings are done in peer-group, single-blind conditions, (meaning that the same types of wines are tasted against each other and the producers’ names are not known). The ratings reflect an independent, critical look at the wines. Neither price nor the reputation of the producer/grower affect the rating in any manner.”

    “Independent and critical” – Many years were spent developing a reputation based on those two words. And again – “the producers’ names are not known”. That point is also essential if one is to be unbiased and independent.

    I take RPs statements at face value and I have enormous respect for what he has contributed and continues to contribute. It is indeed possible to go to a winery, even on their dime, and taste their wines, and then bring them back to the office where you will taste them blind and from that tasting, will produce your official ratings. Then the question of who pays for trips or dinners is moot. It’s a simple and elegant and fair way to eliminate any hint of bias whatsoever, which would seem to be a worthy goal.

    Regarding the last issue of WA and Spain’s Top 100 Wine Values, here they are by importer:

    15 Eric Solomon
    14 Jorge Ordoñez
    12 Patrick Mata
    11 Aurelio Cabestrero
    5 Casa Ventura
    4 Carlos Montalvo
    4 Chris Campbell
    4 De Maison Selections
    4 Hidalgo
    4 Steve Miles
    3 Boutique Wine Collection
    3 Elisabeth Imports
    3 Vin de Terra Imports
    3 Well Oiled
    3 Winebow
    2 Christopher Cannan
    2 Folio
    2 Ravensvale
    2 Steve Metzler
    2 The Artisan Collection
    2 Truman Wine Co.
    1 Andres Arribas
    1 Antalva
    1 Axial
    1 Chapillon
    1 CIV
    1 Frontier Wine Imports
    1 Kysela
    1 Opici
    1 Rare Wine Co.
    1 Vinole Wine Co.

    114 TOTAL€


  68. Daniel,

    I want to make my position clear: I’ve got plenty of reason to doubt the critics in question, and indeed their abhorrently poor response to criticism is damning. This is not a court of law; silence or, worse, obfuscation leads me to doubt their innocence. The wine community and wine buyers have every right to consider their response to criticism when determining whether to trust their judgement.

    And I have no reason to doubt your information — not for a moment. I am simply saying that dogged cranks like Joe actually help in the debate because it’s a reminder of two things: First, we haven’t seen evidence of malpractice, and second, the critics in question could easily prove or disprove the claims made against them. By choosing to ignore it for much longer, many of us are forced to conclude that the Daniel Posners of the world have this exactly right.

    I would hope to hear more from the accused, but this looks sadly less likely by the minute.

    However, I do not have the super-cum-omniscience in journalism that Mr. Squires has, so perhaps I’m missing something.


  69. oh, come on. joe is provoking for his twisted version of fun. he doesn’t mean anything he’s saying. he plays devil’s advocate just because it allows him to be clever, and yet a jackass. let’s not lose sight of the core hypocrisy here: a stated policy that they’ve been proven to have violated, in squires’ case. but, which critic doesn’t matter; the cicrling of the wagons does, because it’s revelatory. parker’s “refutation” on his site is, as the wash. post noted long ago, a “not-denial denial.” that means guilt, almost always.


  70. Joe,

    I think your response is a bit disingenuous or perhaps just not not informed regarding asking JM about this subject: You can go to the parker board and simply PM him.

    I am loving this blog. I wish there was this kind of discourse on the parker board.

    gk


  71. Okay, here is the raw data on the wines that Miller rated 90 and above. I really want to get all the data from the other 600+ wines, but I will need to do a lot of research first before I can pull that data out. The importer is not listed on Miller’s report. Probably the easiest way to find out is to go through the TTB list. Being I do have a day job, it is going to take a while to complile this data.

    16 Eric Solomon
    13 Jorge Ordonez
    13 Patrick Mata, Ole Imports
    11 Grapes of Spain
    5 Casa Ventura
    4 C & P Wines
    4 De Maison Selections
    4 Fine Wine Imports, PR
    4 Hidalgo Imports
    4 Steve Miles Selections
    3 Boutique Wine Collection
    3 Elizabeth Imports
    3 Well Oiled Wine Company
    3 Winebow
    2 Europvin
    2 Folio Fine Wine Partners
    2 Ravensvale Group
    2 Steve Metzler
    2 The Artisan Collection
    2 Truman Wine Company
    2 Vin de Terra Imports
    1 Antalva Imports
    1 Axial Wines USA
    1 Christophe Chapillon
    1 CIV_USA
    1 Frontier Wines
    1 Kysela Pere & Fils
    1 Opici Import Company
    1 The Rare Wine Company
    1 Viniole Wine Company
    1 Wine Associates

    I know Metzler Imports a good number of excellent wines from Spain, I wonder if he missed out on some of the dinners?


  72. Dear …..???

    Thanks for taking your time and doing the report, I know that you have a day job, as I guess all the NON-HONEST IMPORTERS that you mentioned that were having dinner do as well. No freebies here Hermano (As far as I know)! We all work as harder as you do.

    BTW… Here is the tittle of Jay’s article;

    SPAIN’S TOP 100 VALUES

    “Imports of Spanish wines remain strong (particularly at the value-end of the spectrum). I did sit-down tastings with at least “40 IMPORTERS” and RECEIVED SAMPLES from at least AS MANY MORE.”

    Also for you to know, I’m not a “large importer of Spanish Caldo” & neither I want to be.

    Mr…….??? wrote;

    The importer is not listed on Miller’s report. Probably the easiest way to find out is to go through the TTB list. Being I do have a day job, it is going to take a while to complile this data.

    (I don’t want to take more of your value time, if you really want that list please FAX to this number 510-237-0076 your e-mail & I will be happy to provide you with that list)

    Mr…….??? wrote;

    how about a little respect and honesty first?

    If it’s asking a lot… That’s what I would like to ask from you.


  73. So here is the answer to your ????’s…. Mr….????

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmp5gFwt7j0

    Kampai


  74. Greg, I didn’t notice you did the math before I did close to the same numbers I think. I agree with much of what you wrote. Your next statement is missing a point as I see it though. “Independent and critical” – Many years were spent developing a reputation based on those two words. And again – “the producers’ names are not known”. That point is also essential if one is to be unbiased and independent. The producers of these wines are not in question right now, albeit they benefit from a nice PR rating, so does the IMPORTER. I understand you are an importer as well, so trust me I am not throwing daggers at you actually to the contrary. It is NOT UNBIASED for an IMPORTER to accompany his wine to Jay Miller for Tasting, plan lavish dinner parties in which $1000’s of wine are consumed and then when Miller is questioned to respond like a pompous ass.

    PR needs to come clean, really clean. I would like to know:
    – wines tasted (all)
    – conditions (decanted – warmed or cooled prior to tasting)
    – importer of each wine tasted (not just the top 100).
    – how & when did he obtain the wines (could shipping be an issue).

    Apparently I struck a nerve with you Pepe. You are not the focus of my query. As you are an importer of Spanish wine and not the one employed by RP, professing to have total unbiased reviews on the wines you review, I have no issue with you. For some reason you have taken some sort of issue with me, perhaps some indigestion from the meal, maybe a strong manzanilla would help. One question though, is the list of the other 613 importers that you want to fax to me, is that available to all importers or do you have a direct link to Miller’s office? Again, you brought it up, just asking. If you do have it, why don’t you just email it to Tyler?

    BTW Tina has really never gotten it for me, more a Mahler fan myself. BTEHO.

    I do take issue with Some importers having the pleasure and benefit to accompany their wines to taste with Miller and the other 40 or more not. Surely that number is off? There were 30 importers listed above in the Top 100 Wines. You mean to tell me that the other 613 wines were sent to Miller by 40 importers? Doubtful.

    I do take issue and question this dinner you had the pleasure to attend which was arranged by the #1 Importer in the list.
    Do all importers get to attend these affairs? I don’t believe this is the case. to quote Daniel’s post on WineBerserks.com
    “How can you assume a critic will be unbiased about certain wines when any of the following occurs:
    1) Your good buddy makes the wine
    2) Your good buddy imports the wine
    3) Your good buddy distributes the wine
    4) Your good buddy that is a 1, 2 or 3, takes you on trips (to the wineries or not), takes you out to dinners, sends you free cases, etc.

    How many wine critics that allow this to happen can really be unbiased?

    As my football coach used to say, “Get your head out of your ass!Note Pepe, I am not saying this to you (don’t want to get you any more riled up than you already are.


  75. Jose:

    What is Dr. Jay Miller’s involvement with Tina Turner and Eric Clapton?

    Jose Pastor was at the infamous Bern’s dinner. He is an importer of Spanish wines. He doesn’t have a single wine noted in the above lists.

    I’m an old-fashioned guy who also graduated with honors in a Masters of Journalism program (a recurring theme here). I believe a good journalist stays independent, but I don’t believe they are monks. I believe everyone has a bias and no one can be faulted for having a bias. Miller likes certain types of wine, as does Parker, which I find repulsive. I don’t care if they taste them blind or with a blindfold, they have a bias and a subjective taste. It is wine, not current affairs, for Christ’s sake.

    I also believe that you are innocent until proven guilty and the burden of proving someone guilty is on the people making the charges.

    Squires is guilty of taking government money to review Israeli wines. He should be fired from The Wine Advocate by Parker as an example. I know Squires is guilty because he admits to it on EBob, saying Robert Parker gave his ok. I also think Parker should be condemned for having one of his writers take government money. What Squires does on his bulletin board is his business, but he is not a wine critic when he takes a government handout.

    That’s the only ruckus I see here that is worth all this verbiage.

    Obviously, all critics can be influenced without under the table payments. So what? Again, they are not monks. That Miller associates Solomon and Ordonez with importing the type of wines Miller likes makes sense, because that is exactly what Solomon and Ordonez are doing with some skill.

    I’m a wine importer and now have a Rioja. I don’t think Jay Miller would like the wine, not because I don’t suck up to him and dine with him at Berns, but I think he would find the wine to be too austere for his taste. Too much acidity and not enough “fruit.”

    Since I don’t share his taste in Spanish wine, I can’t really fault Miller for not liking my producer’s wine. Fair is fair.


  76. Earlier in this thread, I asked Dr. Vino to clarify his journalistic policies. Since he is hosting this discussion, I think it would be interesting to know.

    Hopefully, he refuses fees, government handouts, promotional hand-outs, trips, gifts, meals, etc.

    The other possibility is that he doesn’t really object to any of the charges made against Parker’s people, but just finds Parker hypocritical for not admitting to do the same things that Dr. Vino does.

    I have no idea what Tyler’s policies are, but think it would clarifying to know.


  77. Joe

    Add me to the list of those with degrees in journalism (well, mine was called “communications” which included journalism) though it was magna cum laude, not summa as with Esquire Squires.

    All interesting points, Joe. You may not care about, for instance, blind tasting but Bob himself apparently believes its important enough to put it on each Wine Advocate–stating that “whenever possible” wines are tasted blind, in peer groups. I think the point is–Bob has set a standard (not Joe’s standard, not Wilfred’s standard, but his own written standard) and this is the issue.


  78. I don’t read the text on the front cover of Parker’s magazine and I don’t read his books.

    He should probably revise the text about blind tastings. It’s not really done and it would be impractical for him to do so.

    Furthermore, I’m not particularly for or against blind tastings. They are an interesting exercise for those who enjoy blind tastings, but tasting a wine in context has never deterred me. A good taster can taste a humble or grandiose label without prejudice and tasting in context makes perfect sense to me. Having people around who can tell you something about the wine also seems important.

    There’s nothing objective here. Tasting wine is inherently subjective and you evaluate the written work of critics to see if they are consistent and if you like their views.

    What is important is to be vigilant about avoiding any form of impropriety, particularly if you want your readership to believe your judgement are honest and not based on bribery or direct or indirect corruption.

    Anyhow, blind tasting is another argument and I believe Parker ought to revise his text.


  79. Dear, MR…..??

    Please don’t call me “Pepe” again…. starting now you can call me “MR RILED”!!!!!. Thanks.

    Mr……?? wrote;

    “One question though, is the list of the other 613 importers that you want to fax to me, is that available to all importers or do you have a direct link to Miller’s office? Again, you brought it up, just asking. If you do have it, why don’t you just email it to Tyler?”

    Yes I do have a direct link to Miller’s Office….Here you go MR……???

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-kB7Nmt3IE

    Kampai


  80. You and I agree, Joe.


  81. “There’s nothing objective here. Tasting wine is inherently subjective and you evaluate the written work of critics to see if they are consistent and if you like their views.”

    That’s true.

    I guess I’m one of the only guys w/out a degree in journalism. Instead I ended up with a degree in law. So let’s look at what happens in a courtroom. If a judge has a prior relationship with a party before him, he recuses himself from the case.

    If you want to take the position that it doesn’t really matter anyhow and it’s all about agreeing or disagreeing with a subjective opinion, there isn’t much else to say, but the value of the opinion is greatly diminished. And that’s not what the WA started as or what its reputation is built on.

    The idea is that Caesar’s wife should be above reproach. Of course he trumped up some charges and divorced her and that’s not what I’m advocating – again, I’m not making any accusations but it seems that there’s a shift in WA policy that taints its fine reputation.

    ebob reader – actually the reason I highlighted it is because I found it very interesting that the site refers only to producers. That’s never been at issue and it leaves the Al Gore defense – no controlling legal authority. Too clever by half.


  82. Dear MR or MS…..????

    My soccer coach sent me this direct link for you:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMLFhRhSVM4&feature=related

    Kampai

    MR. RILED UP!


  83. SASSY!!!


  84. that’s right….that’s what’s all this about….SASSY!!!


  85. Daniel P is dead-on, whether Joe likes it or not – Jay’s first trip down here to Argentina was paid for by Wines of Argentina, which is a membership organization, not a government one, that represents only its member wineries. His second trip, likewise, all expenses paid for by W of A, included a private jet to travel between Buenos Aires, Mendoza, and Salta, with none of the wines being tasted blind; and with the exception of some additional wines that he arranged to taste in Buenos Aires, all the wines tasted were those that W of A chose to present him and were from wineries that contributed to the cost of his trip. Can I provide invoices and documentation? No, but I know and often work with the people involved in organizing both trips, and at least from the Argentine end, none of it is in question, nor from an Argentine perspective, is it out of the ordinary.

    [Note: this comment was edited at the request of the author.]


  86. @ D

    if true those points you make are very disturbing. eyewitness accounts with real names would be good but why bite the hand that feeds you…


  87. One wonders how Bob could either let this happen, or not know.


  88. I think the key point is Ethics.
    To be paid for tasting a group of special pre-selected wines is a major issue, but a professional could and must do his/her job objectively and rate the wines as if he or she had bought them… Difficult, but not impossible.
    In my opinion, it is worst that the Argentinian wines Mr. Miller had tasted could be ignored or “deleted” from Mr. Parker’s TWA review /issue on South America after all these critics.
    As far as I know, Mr. Miller was paid for trips, expenses, etc, but not for ratings. I hope his review will be published.
    But in the future, all tastings and ratings MUST BE BLIND, no matter who carry them on.
    From Buenos Aires., Susana.


  89. Maybe he confused you with me saying that WA was doomed?

    Oh, wait sec… we look nothing alike and I don’t have any printed hardcovers for sale! :-)

    I think Mr. Parker needs to chime in on this.


  90. Dr. V – I can’t get to your website home anymore, Did Squires shut you down? The POWER!


  91. Tish

    You worked at Wine Enthusiast for 10 years. Did you ever accept free trips, free dinners, free vacations, etc form importers or wineries from the regions thay you covered?


  92. Parker responded on the Mark Squires-run message boards. His comment is buried deep, probably to avoid drawing attention to it.

    Read it for yourself, but it strikes me that Parker is playing the victim here and ignoring the public admission of Squires receiving a free trip, against WA policy. There was reference to Squires’ trip in Dr. Vino’s original e-mail to Parker, which Parker ignored. Now, in this message board comment, Parker pretends that he hasn’t heard any criticism of Squires and decries questions as “unfounded rumors.” Something smells.

    The Bern’s business is only an issue in the context of Squires having admitted that he took a freebie. After all: If one of the WA writers took a freebie, who else did? Questions beget questions. But Parker skips over the “probable cause” of Squires’ freebie and skips right to questions of Miller and Bern’s.

    It seems to me that Parker is more than avoiding the question. He’s intentionally obfuscating. I thought he was an honest broker before, and that it was simply lack of strict controls that led to these questions. Now, by avoiding the real question and saying that big bad bloggers are out to get him, Parker becomes complicit. For shame.

    Read his words for yourself. He’s comment #11 in this thread:
    http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showthread.php?t=200002

    And here’s part of the text:

    Today…most journalists don’t even call if they want to write about me…no sense having me provide a well documented rebuttal that undermines their story line……today..the lamentable tendency is go after members of the TEAM Wine Advocate….Big Jay has been beaten up on a few blogs(and even here) about his lavish Berns meals…several importers and quite a few wine consumers were at these events, and all expenses divided equally,but that is not the stories being told by a few bloggers. I have no problem with any of us socially interacting with the wine trade as long as expenses are shared…I just had a dim sum lunch with Pierre and his boss-Eddie Millstein last week..and I have written very positive things about the new Remoissenet wines on this board…I paid my way as did all the others..I don’t see this as a conflict of interest…just looking back over my 30 years…I have tasted with hundreds of importers at my local haunt..The Oregon Grille,and before they opened, The Milton Inn…..not ONCE in those 30 years did I not pay for the entire lunch..even when the importers brought an entourage…
    Sorry for droning on…was touched by the graciousness of this thread after reading an e-mail linked to a nasty blog unfairly accusing Jay of being on the take…and wondering just why some people are so malicious when they have no idea of what actually took place…only a matter of time before Antonio,David,Neal,Lisa and Mark receive criticism(they probably already have and I am unaware)…no problem with it if it is factual and justified…but I need to emphasize…if only here…I don’t anticipate fairness from some segments…we see it everywhere in every field…the formula is always the same…they repeat unfounded rumors…invent stories that are totally untrue and easily proven as such…but make lots of noise……and garner attention…and these extremists could care less about the truth…it seems all of us need to stand up for the truth..in anything…since I am so reflective today, I will share one of my favorite quotes…excuse me if it is not 100% precise as I am writing it from memory….
    from the late Martin Luther King..
    “At the end of your life,it is not the hatred or hostility of your enemies that you remember,but rather the silence of your friends”


  93. Hi Dan,

    Seeing your position on this whole thing reminds me I should get my butt down county to your new store. I admire your matter-of-fact honesty.

    In answer to your question: yes, of course, I accepted free trips, dinners, lodging. It was basically a “don’t mention it” kind of attitude toward all that. Further, WE would accept and run articles by freelancers who had taken freebies. And of course, the number of free samples flowing into the magazine was voluminous.

    Personally I never had a big problem with any of that because we never had a policy against such stuff. Given the budget I was working with, it would have been impossible to cover the “world” of wine without accepting free stuff. Even funnier is that I had the “priceless” opportunity to witness WE folks actuall crash free events they were not even invited to. The Col Solare debut in NYC was a classic; PR person wound up standing during dinner because a WE fanny showed up and basically occupied an empty seat. That, of course, was long ago. Perhaps the brass there has become more civilized. But to my knowledge there is still no stated policy on what is acceptable, nor if/how to mention what was actually accepted.

    There are degrees at play in much of what goes on between press and trade. My hunch is that they are still riding the freebie bandwagon, as I frequently see WE staffers at the same dinners I attend. THat’s par for the course, though. See lots of other “professionals” accepting meals, gifts, samples as well. Does anyone but RMP Jr. have a stated policy? I honestly do not know. And even if, say, WS has a policy of not accepting trips, they certainly have attended free dinners, and the value of the samples received at their offices runs into the thousands, dollarwise. It’s a very very gray area.

    I do have some lines I will not cross, however. I turn down (guilt) trip offers because I just don’t want the burden of obligation. Ethics are a highly personal subject, and I am planning to start blogging this week with that as my first topic.


  94. Hello all –

    A few things:

    As I said in my post, there’s a stated policy at The Wine Advocate that calls for being at arm’s length from the trade and accepting no gratuitous hospitality. The policy could not be clearer on this.

    This is particularly important because Parker derives much of his authority from the perception that his ethics are beyond reproach.

    It appears that the Squires trip to Israel, which he himself has admitted, was a violation of this policy. That alone is enough to ask the questions that I did: has there been a change in policy at The Wine Advocate? If so, has that been divulged to the readers? Mr. Parker can deflect and obfuscate on his board all he likes but those questions remain unanswered.

    In this thread, it has come up that two other Wine Advocate contributors have taken press trips. So this brings even more relevance to the question and I hope we would hear a response from Monkton, Maryland soon, either here, via email, or on his blog.

    Now perhaps Joe Dressner, who called this line of questioning inappropriate and demanded a public apology, will offer a public apology of his own now that he has found the “smoking gun” of Squires’s trip?

    (As an aside to new readers, although I enjoy many wines in the Louis/Dressner portfolio and have hailed them as one of the top wine importers in America in my recent book, it is rich in irony to see Joe Dressner wagging his finger here about ethics when last fall I caught him falsifying evidence in a previous claim.)

    A separate–albeit related and worthwhile–question to this apparent violation of ethics policy at the Advocate is whether press trips are kosher.

    Nobody has been asking about my own ethics policy besides Joe Dressner so he may well be trying to simply stir the pot given his previous heckling of me. But in case there are others who are curious, I have an ethics statement on my site. I encourage all writers about wine to state their policies on independence. In my policy, I neglect to say anything about press trips but my rule is that I would never take a press trip from an individual winery or importer. It seems too close to advertorial. But I do think that, within reason, trips organized by regional or national associations can offer freelance writers a very good way of getting out from behind their laptops, talking with winery principals, and, ultimately, filing better copy. I was invited on over twenty five such trips last year and went on one. I have no such trips planned for 2009.

    It’s also worth reiterating a few of other points from my policies. First, although I take ads on this site, I don’t take ads from individual wineries. It’s overly cautious to be sure since the only wineries that really have an advertising budget are not ones that I would likely review. But, as I wrote to Mr. Parker, he has set an admirable goal and I do as he does in this instance.

    Second, regarding correspondence:

    Tips, opinions, or other messages e-mailed to the site owner may be published. If you do not wish to have your messages publicized, you are welcome to indicate that you wish your comments to be kept private. I respect all such requests. I adopt a journalistic policy regarding sources: if confidentiality is requested, it is respected as far as legally permissible.

    Finally, as some allegations have been flying in these comments, here’s the policy on comments:

    Please note that the site owner is not responsible for the content of other users’ comments written as responses to posts. And please be respectful of differing opinions: attack ideas, not individuals, as any posting with ad hominem attacks are subject to immediate deletion.

    Thanks for the comments and emails of support.


  95. Tish

    We will roll out the red carpet…


  96. Just wanted to point out here that there is finally a wine writing / blogging ethics controversy that I’m *NOT* at the center of… :-)

    But I’m running out of popcorn… :-(


  97. The SMOKING GUN:

    On April 17th, 2009 at 9:57 am ,calvin wrote:

    (see above)


  98. Here is how Jay Miller spent his last trip to Australia…according to Jay Miller. This seemed like a great vacation…wonder how much it costs someone? A few points?

    Houseboating Down the Murray River
    October 2007
    Jay Miller

    The Murray River cuts through a significant portion of Australia. One of the favorite Ozzie recreational activities are to take a leisurely (the top speed is 3 knots) trip on the river on one of the 10,000 houseboats docked along its banks. The one we rented has five bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a lounge, a deck on the upper level, and a Jacuzzi.

    On this voyage, our chef was Justin McNamee, owner/winemaker of Samuel’s Gorge, our pilot was the renowned Chris Ringland, and our bartender, Dan Philips who supplied us with cocktails as we awaited dinner.

    Australia has superb seafood and these marrons were beautifully prepared on a bed of squid ink linguini. The matching wines began with the 2005 Terrebrune Blanc which is mainly Grenache blanc. It was tasty but overshadowed by the two Chardonnays and Manfred Krankl’s superb “Rejuvenator”. 2004 is an excellent white Burgundy vintage and Bonneau de Martray’s Corton-Charlemagne is a superb, albeit youthful, example. It offers excellent mineral, slate and white fruit aromas and flavors along with bracing acidity. It has splendid balance and should evolve for at least 5 more years. The Nicholson River Chardonnay exhibits plenty of oak but it is well integrated. This leads to a viscous, rich wine with layers of flavor. It should be drunk over the near term. The 2004 Sine Qua Non “The Rejuvenator” is remarkably rich and full-bodied (15.2% alcohol). It delivers aromas of honey, spring flowers, tropical fruits, and a hint of toasty oak. Layered and youthful, it should evolve for several more years.

    While we waited for the next course, we indulged in the chef’s wine, the 2005 Samuel’s Gorge Grenache. It reveals an enticing bouquet of black cherry and black raspberry with a background touch of cedar and leather. Ripe and intense, the wine is full-bodied and packed with sweet fruit. It needs several years to fully blossom.

    The next course was a stuffed Butterflied Garfish with grilled watermelon salsa and strawberries. The newly created 2007 R Rosé Bon Bon was a delightful match but the Garfish more than held up to the more powerful 1997 Rusden “Christine’s” Grenache and the 1998 RBJ Theologicam, a blend of 65% Mourvedre and 35% Grenache. The Rusden Grenache was the first vintage of this wine. It is an earthy, chunky, mature example of this wine with notes of garrigue, raspberry, and black cherry. It should be drunk over the near term. Ditto for the 1998 RBJ Theologicum. It offers notes of forest floor, mushroom, and assorted red fruits. Seamless on the palate, it is a stylish, lengthy wine which still has several more years of life.

    The Moroccan Quail was complex in its flavors and a good match for three Rhone-inspired wines. The 2004 Rudderless Mataro exhibits a forest floor, mushroom, and blue fruit personality. It has good ripeness but a slightly compact mid-palate. The 2004 Samuel’s Gorge Shiraz offers gobs of primary blue and black fruits. It has a velvety texture but requires several more years of bottle age to strut its best stuff. The 2005 Samuel’s Gorge Shiraz has a similar profile but with more depth and length.

    The Rack of Veal provided a self-indulgent finish to the meal. Intensely flavored, it more than stood up to a couple of large-scaled wines. The 2005 Greenock Creek “Creek Block” Shiraz is decadently thick and rich with powerful blueberry fruit and fully integrated oak. The finish lasts for over one minute. It should provide pleasure for another 20+ years. The 2002 JP Belle Terroir is a collaboration of Dan Philips, Chris Ringland, and Trevor Jones. It offers a splendidly expressive, fragrant bouquet of game, bacon, spice box, and blueberry. Ripe, sweet, and long, it is just coming into its own and should drink well for another 15 years.

    I’m quite sure we had cheese and possibly some dessert but my note-taking had come to an end. We did have one small tragedy, the otherworldly 2001 Chris Ringland Shiraz was corked.

    This “cruise” was a wonderful way to spend a weekend. Kudos to Justin McNamee who has another career possibility should he tire of making wine.


  99. Wow!

    Winemakers and importers waiting on me hand and foot. How does one get this job?

    Well if that ain’t the appearance of impropriety I don’t know what is. I’d love to see the stammering justification for this but I won’t be holding my breath.

    The bottom line is that the actions of members of the Wine Advocate team just do not square with the stated policy on maintaining impartial independence.

    Now the question will be, when did Dr. Jay Miller actually begin employment with the WA but to my eye that is not of consequence. What is more important is when the decision was made that he might be joining the WA and who told the boys in Australia.

    This looks very bad indeed.


  100. Jay:

    I admit I was wrong about Squires. He should quit or be fired for accepting a government sponsored wine trip to Israel.

    Your policies link says nothing about government trips. I agree with what Parker initially wrote about these junkets.


  101. I slit this into two posts by error, my apologies.

    You difference with Squires seems to be that Squires is a hypocrite because he does things that you find acceptable but his boss claims is unacceptable. Things that you could gladly do.

    So, if you were running The Wine Advoocate, everyone could go on junkets and you would make no bones about it, but Parker is at fault because he claims a higher moral ground.

    This is nitpicking. Parker is right that no one can accept money from regional or governmental bodies and claim to influence free. At best they are well meaning hacks, but they are not ethical journalists.

    I know what these tours are like and refuse to take them as an importer. Your daily schedules are done in advance and you have to see who has clout and who the local bigshots want to push in the American market. At night, you dine well. These are junkets pure and simple.

    You always seem to be shocked when I criticize you because you like out wines and speak well of us. This is the whole point, you’re free to write what you want about our wines and I’m making no effort to suck up to you. It is as if you think I owe you something. Perhaps that’s the problem with Jay Miller?

    Should I be inviting you on cruises in Australia?

    So many charges have been made that it is tough to sift through them all. Squires should be out and really you should be defending him for doing a junket you would gladly accept.

    No one has yet given firm evidence about Miller. When they do, I’ll join you in condemning his ethics. But I will not join you in condemning him for something no one has solid evidence about (I do believe in innocent before proven guilty) and simply on the basis that he is a hypocrite. Again, you don’t really have any ethical objections to his actions, just his bosses delared policies.

    PS:

    The “evidence” I tinkered with was a practical joke. Have a sense of humor. It is wine after all.


  102. Tyler:

    May I ask what paid trips have you participated on over the past few years?

    Have wineries offered to pay your expenses to visit them? Importers?

    Or has it only been governmental or regional agencies.

    Why did you omit admitting that you accept these payments in your Policies statement?

    Have you found any concrete proof that Jay Miller accepted money, airline tickets or bribes since he became a Wine Advocate staff member?

    If not, please drop the charges against him.

    Joe


  103. Joe Dressner,

    I’m not sure what your agenda is, or why you’re heckling Tyler like this, but it’s getting old. You’ve made your points. You got answers. You rehash those same points. I for one am tired of it. Be glad you’re not posting on eBob, you would have been suspended by now for your unnecessarily aggressive confrontation and selective memory.


  104. Gregory Dal Piaz:

    Parker’s announcement that Miller was joining the WA team was in 01 September 2006. See link below for the announcement:

    http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showthread.php?t=103145

    Miller’s first published review was for Spanish wines on was WA Issue 168, 28 February 2007).

    The first published review for Australian wines came on 31 October 2007, WA Issue 173. Not sure if there were any reviews he did before that.

    Make your own conclusions.


  105. Okay, this is getting crazy:

    Squires admits that he is going on more press trips, and that he has approval from Parker. Again, this would be fine if it didn’t violate the Wine Advocate policy on freebies. That, at the end of the day, is what this is all about.

    This is bizarre. They’re *flaunting* the fact that they’ve been busted, but they’re not admitting any fault. WTF.

    Squires’ words:

    Mark, as far as the great detectives go, I disclosed on the board months ago that my trip to Israel was paid by their government. This was taken with Bob’s express and advance approval, incidentally, I didn’t exactly do this on my own, nor would I. I have also taken two similar trips to Greece. I will take one to Portugal as well soon sponsored by ViniPortugal, their trade organization, and I’ve had one sponsored by a trade organization there before as well. All of these were granted express approval by Bob.

    http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showpost.php?p=2614185&postcount=30


  106. I have nothing to gain or lose in this race…I don’t have my wines scored nor do critics do I send them to for them to tell me what????

    Now that said… I have the utmost respect for the Parker & the BB and all the moderators INC…Mark S…!!!!, as for Bob he is one very unbelievable person…I have never meet him we did correspond once privately and he was very friendly and kind…WTF I have no problem with the rules and I especially don’t find Mark difficult to get along with… any of the disparaging words that many have called him are repugnant, vial, cowardly and very immature…

    I have and still do hold the WA as having the highest ethics ITB…end of story…

    All you people who sell wine , import wine , call people names and try to get exposure are just riding the back of greatness…you are all evil people with envy, bottom line…

    Why it ok to sell a RP scored wine , but in the same breath you want to make big things out of BS…plan and simple…get over it…

    Why do people attack the Wine King…because with the Internet they would never look the same person eye to eye and accuse them of a crime, convict them and bother them, but on the web you all are so BIG…

    I am very public…so anyone who needs to contact me just e-mail me don’t be a coward and post behind my back…


  107. Interesting. Is anyone following the FTC’s stepping up of consumer protection efforts? They are recruiting experts, and clarifying and modifying their rules regarding advertising and other practices. From what I’m reading, it is possible they could construe Squires actions as taking compensation for advertising. If so, he would then be required to disclose that fact clearly in those articles. Not sure Parker would want that or to be investigated for not making proper disclosure.

    As an aside, one important FTC clarification that relates to our world of wine, is that their existing rules re advertising will now be enforced for things like blog posts, forum posts, cellar tracker reviews, etc.

    http://techdailydose.nationaljournal.com/2009/04/ftc-names-new-consumer-protect.php
    http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/04/14/ftc-to-regulate-blogs-and-social-media
    You can Google the cached AdAge article “Proposed Plan Would Hold Web Writers Liable for False Brand Discourse”


  108. Hmmm…I see nothing here but pure hearsay. Use your own judgement in the long run. Too much reliance on what others score wine, rather than judging on one’s own palate, leads to the reviewers becoming jaded. If you agree and have continued to agree with what the reviewers say, all of this discussion is pretty much moot. You are still going to enjoy the wine. As far as the scoring goes, well, if you are basing your buying on this, that is your choice. Remember, these scores are only a suggestion either way, not to be set in stone as a fact. Think about it guys. Form your own opinions on wine and stop relying on others to call it for you! That’s just my two cents…

    This is the best commentary that I saw today and it makes, by far, the most sense, from Joe Dressner:
    “Squires is guilty of taking government money to review Israeli wines. He should be fired from The Wine Advocate by Parker as an example. I know Squires is guilty because he admits to it on EBob, saying Robert Parker gave his ok. I also think Parker should be condemned for having one of his writers take government money. What Squires does on his bulletin board is his business, but he is not a wine critic when he takes a government handout.

    That’s the only ruckus I see here that is worth all this verbiage.

    Obviously, all critics can be influenced without under the table payments. So what? Again, they are not monks. That Miller associates Solomon and Ordonez with importing the type of wines Miller likes makes sense, because that is exactly what Solomon and Ordonez are doing with some skill.

    I’m a wine importer and now have a Rioja. I don’t think Jay Miller would like the wine, not because I don’t suck up to him and dine with him at Berns, but I think he would find the wine to be too austere for his taste. Too much acidity and not enough “fruit.”

    Since I don’t share his taste in Spanish wine, I can’t really fault Miller for not liking my producer’s wine. Fair is fair.”


  109. You…This is the best commentary that I saw today and it makes, by far, the most sense, from Joe Dressner:
    “Squires is guilty of taking government money to review Israeli wines. He should be fired from The Wine Advocate by Parker as an example. I know Squires is guilty because he admits to it on EBob, saying Robert Parker gave his ok. I also think Parker should be condemned for having one of his writers take government money. What Squires does on his bulletin board is his business, but he is not a wine critic when he takes a government handout.

    Mark Squires if he did or did not get a Pd trip to Israel is pure BS and irrelevant …I call him the US ambassador of wine…He reported a just and even to the side of caution on some wines…he did not play the fool, Mark is no fool…!!! Like it or not…!!! Now on with life and we all should get over something so obtuse…disjointed…transgressed…bastardized…


  110. Sam, that’s a pretty sensible view, and one of Joe Dressner’s most lucid moments.

    But let’s not forget that this thread started (and I consider the threads from the past two posts to be beating as one) over something that is essentially a private, isolated not-so-big deal: deleting a thread on a bulletin board that has thousands of threads. After a simple start, however, this thread has been fueled by subsequent defiance (Dr. Jay), hubris (Mr. Squires), and so far one Oz-like utterance from the man behind it all. It is a soap-operalike explosion of a complicated relationship, namely retailers-to-critics, that has simmered for a while below the surface in wine circles everywhere. As 1WineDude said, pass the popcorn.

    I find it fascinating that after so many retailers have kowtowed to the ratings for so long, TWA’s new guard felt so appalled and/or threatened by pointed criticism — from an established wine writer and established retailer — that they had to delete, then obfuscate.

    Meanwhile, I think 99% of the people reading this thread would agree 100% with your main point: <> So what the heck are we waiting for? Enough with the deification of critics that puts them in such a position to start with.

    In the long run, people will realize and embrace the fact that the single-person opinion expressed in a wine magazine is no different than an informed opinion from a good retailer, a wine mentor, or just a colleague.

    At some point in the future we may look back on this kerfuffle as a seminal point in everyone waking up and sniff-testing the whole process by which wine gets judged and marketed.


  111. Tish quote = Enough with the deification of critics that puts them in such a position to start with.

    In the long run, people will realize and embrace the fact that the single-person opinion expressed in a wine magazine is no different than an informed opinion from a good retailer, a wine mentor, or just a colleague. …End Tish Quote…

    TY …Tish…

    you just hit the ball out of the park…ty…Cheers !!!


  112. Tish, Sam, Joe, and Don Giovanni,

    This “news” just broke 2 business days ago (Thursday). Why not let it pickup some steam and see what happens.

    Mark Squires has admitted to free trips. Why is it so far fetched to believe that Jay Miller did?

    Do you believe he paid for his share of that honeymoon on a houseboat with Chris Ringland and Dan Philips?

    Joe, in particular, appears to be after his own witch hunt.

    Tish, you took free trips and all of the extras while working for Wine Enthusiast, so of course, you would like to see this die as well.

    Sam,

    This is not heresay. Read Mark Squires and Jay Millers writings. Mark on the board and Jay on the Hedonist Gazette.

    Don Giovanni,

    Your points are never clear to me or anyone else. You obviously do not see this as a big deal, however if you were a small winery in Spain, rather than the finger lakes and your wine was not imported by Jorge O or Eris Solomon, you would be pretty pissed off if Jay Miller received samples of your wines for a couple of years and elected not to post scores on them or even return your emails as to why.

    This is an unfair playing field for the wine world. It is unfortunate, because Robert Parker has claimed to be the consumer’s advocate for 25 years, while it would appear some of his “contract employees” elect to be the “importer’s advocate.”

    Jorge Ordonez and Jay Miller were at Bern’s that very same weekend. For those of you that contacted Bern’s about the other dinners, contact them about the Jorge dinner and ask if Dr. J chipped in for the wine that was purchased.


  113. Dan, Tyler, et al…

    I am the last one who wants this to die. Yes, it has gotten convoluted. But in a very revealing way. There is far too little honest wine talk about the topic of honesty. Fine to give it a rest. The most important thing to watch going forward is if RMP/TWA responds to Tyler’s very straightforward question. People care about that answer.

    Meanwhile, I actually started blogging yesterday (http://wineskewer.wordpress.com), to chime in with my own general view on the big gray blob of wine writing ethics.

    Generalites are, of course, just that. The devils surface in the details. Coincidentally, just yesterday I was presented with an opportunity to take a wine trip. Should I go? I can say this: if I do, it will certainly fit fine within my ethical standards.


  114. Yes, I learned long ago that you have to trust your own palate and decide accordingly. The problem, however, is often one of access to wines for tasting purposes. I’ve been fortunate to have a friend who’s a retailer and primarily purchase my intermediate to long term wines from him which he has already tasted from the distributor. He doesn’t always have access to the “top” wines, but I know that I’m getting the best value for my money.

    So for me in many ways the wine critic is not necessary as it should be for most informed buyers. I am routinely disappointed by the critic’s reviews and my own impressions of the wines. I do not have Parker’s palate so his scores are meaningless to me. Decsriptions tell more than the score. The real issue becomes the power that the critics have had over market pricing, especially Parker. Hopefully, with the current ecomonic climate the consumer will take charge again and drive prices to more reasonable levels. of couse any $10-12 bottle with a Parker 90 will sell immediately, but at least it’s only a $10 wine.


  115. The plot thickens…

    It sounds like Parker is easing off on the defensiveness and is starting to take the questions more seriously. He admits his writers aren’t held to the same standards as he holds himself (which muddies the waters, if you ask me). He’s meeting with Jay to discuss matters.

    Link:
    http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showpost.php?p=2614796&postcount=40

    Quote:

    Daniel…I have a meeting with Jay tomorrow to find out what is true and false…I don’t hold the independent contactors such as Jay and Mark to the same stingent standards as I adhere to, and are well-stated in my books….yet I do have serious guidelines regarding conflicts of interest,and they are well aware of them(eating meals with some people in the trade and dividing expenses is not prohibited)….also all of my writers write for other publications,which I believe have no rules of engagement…with Mark and Jay,if the trips were for visiting viticultural regions and learning the lay of the land,and the organization knew in advance that we would demand total access to all wineries,I have not objected even though that is something I have never done in 30+ years…moreover, we don’t have the budget/revenue(no advertising and that won’t change) to finance trips to emerging wine areas..Israel and Greece would be prime examples…Jay tastes with just about every major importer working in his areas of responsibilities,and I know if meals are involved,the bills are split,and I reimburse him…
    Will evaluate if this policy has been strict enough…of course there has to be total independence regarding wine reviews….and I think the reviews already reflect that…in fact they are beyond reproach…but perhaps coverage of some of these areas will have to be sacrificed if I decide to prohibit any of these educational trips….also keep in mind, the majority of tastings for the TWA are done stateside, from bottled wines as we don’t publish unbottled tasting notes from these areas
    If I find any objectionable conduct there will be consequences…


  116. Interesting the Miller hasn’t chimed in on the Parker thread.

    Of course, none of these critics live to the Consumer Reports standard. Consumer reports pays for what they review.

    Lastly, the Wall Street Journal buys everything that Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher review. No samples. This was missed as a source that is totally conflict free.


  117. I seem to remember Dr. J saying that he basically always tastes with importers in this Grape Radio interview:
    http://www.graperadio.com/archives/2007/10/29/an-interview-with-jay-miller-of-robert-parker/
    I really wonder how much of the WA wines are tasted blind? At least with the WS, you can imagine them having assistants to set things up but with the WA, it just seems like some good guys setting up 95+ scores for their buddies’ new world fruit globs….


  118. I hate being late to a party, but I felt I needed to chime in here since this topic closely affects us. We also take trips paid for by associations (not specific producers or importers), much like those that have been discussed. Is it ideal? No, ideally we would pay our own way for everything, including reimbursing the numerous freelance writers we use for their travel (which would be the much bigger issue for us). But that is just simply not possible, not unless we charged a lot more for a subscription or were completely filled with ads (like Spectator, if they can pay for all of their writers, freelance and staff, to travel all around the world, good for them).

    Our viewpoint is simple: if it’s a place that we would write about anyway, then we’ll go. If a freelancer comes to us with an interesting topic, we’ll give it the green light. Otherwise we would either have: pretty poor editorial or no magazine at all.


  119. […] most recent post on Tyler Coleman’s DrVino continues to generate a flurry of comments, criticism and accusations regarding The Wine […]


  120. All this talk about undue influence is great, but we are talking about wine here, not contracts for F-22 aircraft or things that really matter in the world. I think one needs to be aware of conflicts of interest, but there is no such thing as absolute purity, and what FUN is wine if its experienced in a vacuum? I agree there has to be a line between reviewer and industry, but that is almost too much to ask, where a lot of the enjoyment of wine is talking to the producers, ect. Wine in a complete isolation apart from friends, context ect. , is a sterile and boring experience. I bet that anybody who looks closely at themselves will find some kind of compromising situation. We live in a culture based on money talks and nothing but, so the lines will always be blurred.


  121. All this talk about undue influence is great, but we are talking about wine here, not contracts for F-22 aircraft or things that really matter in the world. I think one needs to be aware of conflicts of interest, but there is no such thing as absolute purity, and what FUN is wine if its experienced in a vacuum? I agree there has to be a line between reviewer and industry, but that is almost too much to ask, where a lot of the enjoyment of wine is talking to the producers, ect. Wine in a complete isolation apart from friends, context ect. , is a sterile and boring experience. I bet that anybody who looks closely at themselves will find some kind of compromising situation. We live in a culture based on money talks and nothing but, so the lines will always be blurred. PS.. I really think that people Like Jay Miller, ect are pretty honest with their tasting notes. I know enough that I know I disagree completely with his palate anyhow so for me its moot. for me any Aussie or Spanish wine he gives a 91 to , subtract 5-8 points.. over extracted spoof is his style. But again.. wine should not be taken too seriously, its for the enjoyment of life.. even though I know that the WA influences big business decisions..the whole ratings game is an illusion and ephemeral.


  122. Jason

    I could agree with you to a point, but a lot of wine is essentially a commodity these days. Look at auction sales in 2008 in the United States and abroad.

    In addition, it should be fun. People should hear from critics what are the best wines to drink period. They should not hear about the best wines from just the critic’s best friends. There is no place for favoritism when you claim to be an advocate for the consumer.


  123. Not sure that taking a trip from someone is in itself a problem. The problem comes when there is any pretense of objectivity associated with any reviews resulting from the trip. A critic is valuable only insofar as he or she is independent and objective. For me, that means blind tasting, especially if I have been given any number of gifts by someone associated with a wine.

    Trips organized by producers or importers are clearly not going to result in anything objective – clearly the entire cause is promoting their wine. And if you have someone who knows nothing about the area, his education is now in the hands of Producer or Importer X. Independence is non-existent in this case.

    A trade organization can do it but who is in the organization? If I start an organization with a grand name, say the Association of American Wine Producers, but maybe it’s just a friend and I who are members and we charge anyone else to have their wine given to the critic. To outsiders it seems pretty fair because they don’t know how it works. Government-sponsored trips are probably the way to least influence anyone simply due to the ineptitude of most government organizations. If fair, they may be the best educational trips, but the question also comes up as to who lobbied and who is connected and it becomes nearly impossible for the critic to really sort anything out

    I really don’t think any of those are particularly scandalous in and of themselves. But you cannot claim any independence or objectivity if you are actually scoring wines on those trips. And even if you are objective, who can believe it?

    So you either score the wines later, in a blind tasting, or you simply write up your reviews as travelogues.

    Unfortunately, people actually look at those scores. For a customer who knows nothing, they matter because they’re seen as objective. Even tho the recommendation of a store owner might be better in all respects, customers like to see some independent review – hence the plethora of reviews for pcs, cellphones, movies, restaurants, etc.

    I don’t think anyone need have a policy against taking trips. I do think they should have a policy against knowing what wine they are drinking when they are rating it. As far as arguing about context – it’s meaningless. Who is going to taste the wine on the veranda of the chateau overlooking the vineyards? People will be tasting at home. So take the wines home, taste them blind, and only publish those reviews.


  124. The ethics of wine writing
    22 Apr 2009 by Jancis Robinson

    Today it’s time to disclose …from over the pond…

    http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a20090418.html

    Jancis is very smart to come out with her disclosure…sure it was an e-mail response to a question…

    it seems that the testy economy is making everyone a bit sensitive… all this disruption due to what…?…jealously at best…I have read the position that some importer sent samples to a publication got no response after many years of trying…so instead of taking that energy and promoting product via other publications, as others have…they attack policy…it’s not policy my friends it’s what’s in the bottle…if it was good you would of heard about it…

    Daniel, I hope you understand my post…


  125. Having been banned from eRP since 2001 because I questioned his effect of Wine prices, I am not surprised to see the responses you garnered when question His Royal Palette. Good to know I am still not missing anything.


  126. Great thread – just helped me pass a very long train journey. Now, I’m sure all this debate has made you thirsty. What is your policy regarding disclosure of knowingly drinking good wine whilst posting?


  127. I suppose our situation is a bit different (and perhaps not as worrysome to those here who seem worried about these trips, but perhaps not), but I suppose I ought to make it clear that we do not score wines.

    For those who are against not paying your way all the time, what about insider access? I’m sure everyone is aware that critics big and small get different levels of access to winemakers, wines, barrels, etc. then the general public. Isn’t there a conflict there? You could lose your access if you piss someone off. What about reviews? Many don’t send their wines to Parker, or to Spectator, or both, because they think they will get a score they don’t like. Isn’t there a potential conflict here? These sorts of things don’t affect the really big boys for the most part because they are too big for producers to snub. But what about everyone else?

    My point isn’t to say that everyone is biased or has some sort of agenda to help their friends, it is that I believe this is a much more complicated situation than a simple “no freebies here” policy can cover. Ultimately, people see through you if you show some sort of bias toward your friends or your advertisers or whoever. And ultimately wine critics will rub shoulders with those they are criticizing and will develop friends and those they dislike. They will enjoy certain regions more than others, get behind-the-scenes access as some places and not others, and in general pile up a lifetime of “baggage”. If they are good at what they do, this “baggage” won’t prevent them from doing their job. If not, the public is pretty good at sniffing those people out.


  128. I am not so worried about the trips and meals that these folks take. I worry about their tasting methodology. Mr. Parker makes no bones about the fact that he tastes wines at the wineries with the labels showing and the winemaker standing next to him telling him about the wine.

    I once complained to a very prominent Russian River Valley maker of very expensive Pinot Noir that I was having a hard time finding his wines, and could I buy them from him directly?

    He said that he would be happy to have me taste the wines if I came to the winery. When I said that I only review wines tasted blind at my own tastings, he told me that the other reviewers came to the winery. I asked if he thought that such a practice was ethical, and he replied that gets better reviews that way.

    As I say, the problem is not the trip, it is the rigor or lack thereof in the review methodology.


  129. The Jancis Robinson piece which John D. Zuccarino posted above is well worth reading. Here’s the link again:
    http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/a20090418.html

    Also, Parker writes again… I’m not sure what to make of it. He effectively admits that Miller crossed a line, but he won’t say the same about Squires, and he only says that Wines of Argentina-sponsored trips are out. Huh?? He also plays the victim, saying he’s the target of a “jihad.” Puh-leeze.

    Emphasis added to Parker’s comment below:

    Daniel…I like the fact you are outspoken….but I draw a line when you intentionally distort the actual facts….take your accusation about Jay’s “one week” boat trip with winemaker Ringland and importer Philips….it was a ONE DAY cruise…two days if you count the fact that they slept on the boat and returned to shore the next morning….and it was on Jay’s vacation… after he had worked two weeks for me in south Australia….one more thing…Jay has been friends with Philips and Ringland long before I hired him….asking me to contol the friends he sees on his own time..even if they are in the wine field strikes me as frightening and fascist….I scrutinize all the writer’s reviews,and have never found any case of bias….but I did tell Jay no more vineyard tours paid by Wines of Argentina…even though that has lead to an enormous amount of education in understanding those viticultural regions…
    The next time I do a tasting for Howard Kaplan and Bob Millman(Executive Wine Seminars) in NYC….and we go out to dinner afterwards….if you are invited as you have been in the past….am I in danger of being crucified on the various blogs?…or being accused of being on the take?….this is just how ridiculous this entire jihad has become…show me a wine that got a better score because one of my writers is biased in favor of the producer,importer,retailer….and I will be the first to show him/her the exit sign….

    http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showpost.php?p=2616366&postcount=71


  130. I wonder how many wines from outside the Wines of Argentina Group Jay Miller tasted while he was down in Argentina? He could had stayed a few extra days after taking all the appointments set by WoAG and visit other wineries not part of that group. It would have been a good way for him to take some of the heat of going to Argentina on other folks nickel.

    It would be interesting to know what percentage of wines the WA purchases to review vs the amount of wines they taste with the importers or at the wineries.

    I would also like to know what is the percentage of wines tasted blind by the WA since they state on their publication:

    “When possible all of my tastings are done in peer-group, single-blind conditions, (meaning that the same types of wines are tasted against each other and the producers’ names are not known). The ratings reflect an independent, critical look at the wines. Neither price nor the reputation of the producer/grower affect the rating in any manner.

    Tasting wines with the importers or at the winery in a non blind format is not conductive to objectivity from the taster. Labels and reputations play a psychological weight when tasting wines.

    I would be willing to bet that both percentages would be very, very low.


  131. In one morning Jay tasted roughly 70 wines from 15 wineries that were not part of Wines of Argentina roster. Each winery owner gave the presentation of his/her wines.

    I had indicated to Jay that he should broaden his scope outside of the members of Wines of Argentina and he subsequently requested WoA to allow me to arrange this tasting for him. I do not personally have a relationship with most of the wineries, whose wines Jay tasted. There are over 1.300 wineries in Argentina. Perhaps 150-200 are members of WoA. More than 300 Argentine wineries export to the US. Many wines of these wineries would not meet the 85 point threshhold.


  132. Victor — Just curious, how did you select the wineries that you presented to Jay?

    I also wonder how WoA felt about Jay tasting outside of their member area. Was there much pushback? Have those 15 wineries been convinced to join WoA since the tasting, or asked to share in any expenses after the fact?


  133. Rather than leave another long post here, please follow this link:

    captaintumorman.com


  134. Víctor:

    Thanks for providing that information. I will commend Jay on taking your advice on tasting wines outside the WoA group.


  135. Joey and Victor,

    It is nice that Jay tasted other wines. It is unfortunate that he cannot do so without the urging of a broker. Why can’t he taste on his own? Why does he need all of these people to tell him what to do? I feel like my 3 year old daughter has shown more independence.


  136. Joe D.

    Nicely written, although, maybe you have not followed the “money trail” on Miller. Robert Parker admitted that Miller took funds from the Wines of Argentina.


  137. Joe:

    Thanks for the link. Very interesting. On the independence section that you took from Parker’s book it states:

    “I purchase more than 75% of the wines I taste, and though I have never requested samples, I do not feel it is unethical to accept unsolicited samples that are shipped to my office”.

    I am under the impression that was in the old days but in recent times the majority of the wines he tastes are from tastings with importers and visits to wineries.

    I strongly doubt that 75% figure is accurate in recent years.

    For Spanish wines in the last decade or so the notes comes from his tastings with importers.


  138. Joe:

    I also forgot to mention that those tastings with the importers are never done in a blind tasting format, another point that he makes on his publications.


  139. […] free monthly updates by email (right sidebar). Thanks for visiting!In a recent posting, I published my correspondence with Robert Parker and Jay Miller concerning an apparent divergence between the ethical guidelines set down by Parker and the actions […]


  140. […] then posted a follow up on April 16 in which he describes an email exchange he has with Jay Miller and Robert Parker […]


  141. Envy, truth, bussiness, intrests, ethics, quality and honesty…

    The Argentinians are trying to sell, to scale on their exports, Jay is the bait, Parker is playing fool, and all the talibans who can´t enter the wine world elite are hopping these actions will demolish it… Fools.

    Everyone has intrests, big and small fishes!

    The consumer is so far from nature they think they are drinking VINO, jajaja they have never drinked real VINO, they drink what the market offers not what the soil, atmosphere, living plants and clean souls can do.

    Thats why all is just intrests and money. Not VINO de verdad.


  142. […] Dr. Vino’s radioactive Robert Parker inquiry [link] […]


  143. […] bill) has taken on a sizzling red-hot temperature recently.  This was due in no small part to the writing of Tyler Colman (a.k.a. Dr. Vino), who recently drew attention to an event that was atte….  At one point, it was unclear if Mr. Miller paid for his own expenses at the event (which is […]


  144. […] not, on second thought, comment as it seems a bit of a squall in a Riedel to me, either way the exchange between Dr. Vino, Parker, and the accused is amusing, especially some of the more childlike […]


  145. Tyler:

    A fascinating post and even more fascinating replies.

    But some of this is much ado over nothing. Parker writes, “In order to pursue independence effectively, it is imperative to keep one’s distance from the trade.”

    It’s so nice that Parker has this holier-than-thou attitude. Is he really trying to say that a lunch with a winemaker in Italy or France will influence his decision? We all live in a real world here, don’t we?

    I have been writing about Italian wines for the last six years and have earned what I believe is a certain amount of respect not only for my knowledge of these wines, but also my honesty.

    I have several friends who are journalists in the US as well as England, Germany, Japan, Italy and several other countries who I meet two or three times a year in Italy for consorzio tastings. The consorzios pay for these trips. How else could we go? Wine writing doesn’t pay well enough and the organizers realize that. Are our scores less relevant or believable beause we accept a trip? We clearly couldn’t taste as many wines if we didn’t go and more importantly, we’d be judging wines at home if we didn’t go. Would you believe someone who judged the wines of Oregon or New Zealand or Montalcino if they’d never been there?

    Burton Anderson, the great wine writer who’s been living in Italy for over 30 years and has been writing about their wines says that he does have friends in the business. How could he not, as people make the wines and he has to deal with them to understand the wines and do his job better. He likes some of the wines from his friends, and he doesn’t like others. Simple as that and I think most people would agree that Burton Anderson is a trusted wine authority.

    Parker is playing God here, saying he’s more noble than other wine writers. How else to interpret that?

    Comments on two people that left replies: One person said that if a wine writer couldn’t afford to pay his own way, he should get a regular job. Well for a lot of us who do write about wine, this is our job. We report on these wines, sometimes positively, sometimes negatively. But I’m always invited back as long as I do my job. Professional trip takers get sorted out quickly and are not invited back.

    Secondly, I agree with Tish when he wrote that, “In the long run, people will realize and embrace the fact that the single-person opinion expressed in a wine magazine is no different than an informed opinion from a good retailer, a wine mentor, or just a colleague.”

    Common sense. More of what we need in this business!


  146. Bob Parker posted the following on Squires:

    “Nothing secret..in fact it is very common public knowledge…..I have been tasting with small specialty importers for 25+ years…I visit and taste at wineries,I do both blind and non-blind tastings…I taste at negociants,at centralized locations,at specific chateaux and domaines…I taste in peer groups whenever possible…name a manner in which to taste,and I have done it…..as for the small importers,the only way to grasp their entire portfolio and philosophy is to sit down with them and TASTE…doesn’t anybody remember the very early TWA profiles of high quality importers such as Kermit Lynch,Neal Rosenthal,Peter Weygandt,Eric Solomon,Jorge Ordonez,Leonardo LoCasio,Vias,North Berkely,Robert Kacher,Dan Kravitz,Robert Chadderdon,Kysela Pere et Fils,Alain Jungenet,Peter Vezan,Dan Phillips and many others….it is essential to find and support the small importers/brokers as many of the finest wines emanate from them(none of us have ever sat down and tasted with the giant industrial importers)….any wine critic NOT covering the wines from these small specialists is hardly interested in giving the consumer info about what some of the most conscientious people in the wine trade are doing….seems to me a lot of trolling is going on…and of course I visit many wineries…taste their wines, and learn first hand what they do…if any note is colored …positively or negatively by the fact that an owner or importer was in my presence, then I should go back to lawyering…any legitimate critic evaluates wine in a vacuum…it is all we are asked to do…if you are so easily swayed or intimidated by an owner or someone in the trade,you won’t be working for The Wine Advocate….
    Critics are,and should be independent and judged by the results of what they taste and write…consumers agree or disagree…….there is not one instance of bias,prejudice,or influence in any of the tasting notes all of us have written and published..and it is why I hired the people I did…
    All of us have acquainances in the trade,some can be friends…professional colleagues we have tasted with and visited over the years-my professional relationships and those of David as well as Jay go back 30+ years….yet I have no problem criticizing anybody’s wine …and neither do Jay nor David……we deal with trade people we respect enormously as well as those who are colossal jerks and egoists…their wines all get treated equally,because at the end of the day…each one of us…Antonio,Jay,David,Neal,Lisa,me ,and even the much maligned Squires(who may have the hardest job in the world trying to balance freedom of speech with civilized conduct) …are wine consumers…we put our pen and money where our palate goes…we believe in what we write….so until someone can show just ONE instance of favortism in the 10,000+ tasting notes we write and publish each year,I remain very proud of all of our accomplishments.”

    LET US TAKE UP THE SUBJECT OF “FAVORTISM” FOR A MOMENT, SHALL WE? Let’s say that there was a tasting with a Spanish wine importer with whom Bob has a long term relationship. If objectivity is maintained, it’s no different than tasting samples mailed from producers or other importers, right? But let’s assume: (1) some “friends” of said importer, which friends are professionals of various stripes (producer/critic etc), are sitting in plain view at another table at the Oregon Grill where the tasting is conducted and they are introduced to Bob, (2) there are several bottles of each wine to be sampled boxed up at the table of friends, (3) in addition to multiple bottles, the different bottles have been opened at different times in advance based on prior experimentation focused on how much air-time highlights the young wine the best, (4) the table of friends, in specific recogntition that there will be variations among the bottles, tastes the various bottles and carefully selects the one to be tasted by Bob, and (5) all this is in plain view. Relative to the poor slobs who are mailing in samples, can anyone detect any element of favortism in such a fact pattern? After all, when he is tasting, Bob does so in a “vacuum,” totally objectively. If the bottle of wine that Bob tasted such an occasion was substandard, notwithstanding the prior preparation and selection process, Bob would call a spade a spade – no doubt about it. Of course, that was the no-favortism policy of the past. We all know Bob does not rate Spanish wines any more, and he has separately written on the Squire board that he does not hold his contractors to the same lofty standards….


  147. Perhaps my greatest objection to Parker is the promiscuous use of the ellipsis.

    Herb Caen is no longer with us….I thought.

    What gives….can it stop….


  148. […] is abuzz, yes abuzz I tell you. First it was a week or two ago’s big kerfuffle over Dr. Vino calling out the Wine Advocate on writer Jay Miller accepting all sorts of freebies on his trips, […]


  149. Agree wholeheartedly on the ellipsis; it makes everything he writes in this style very difficult to read. It also makes his lashing criticism of wine “blobbers” (his snarky term for bloggers), who he has described as being unable to string a verb and noun together, somewhat farcical. His own “mastery” of communication by the written word is hardly one to be admired.

    I also recall in Parker’s ten predictions for the wine world’s future about 5 years ago, he predicted the death of print publications, to be replaced by a mass of opinion online, as the consumer became critic. Now I see he was only thinking of users on his own forum with pre-approved opinion; perish the thought that he might be called to book by said consumers (or reactionaries, jihadists, whatever crackpot name he has most recently lashed out with) on blogs where free speech reigns.


  150. Where are the women contributors on this thread?

    Happy Mother’s Day.


  151. […] Slate wine guru, by the way, has been involved in quite the contretemps involving two other redoubtable wine figures, blogger Dr. Vino and critic Robert Parker. […]


  152. […] Wine Advocate. He acknowledges reporting on this blog that initially raised the questions (see my original correspondence with Parker and critic Jay Miller here and a follow up […]


  153. […] is as good a place as any for this recuperating blogger to get back to his keyboard. 40 days after Tyler Coleman posted a piece which started a maelstrom of Parker bashing, The Wall Street Journal’s David Kesmodel […]


  154. […] osservare che il big scandal che coinvolge Robert Parker – e i suoi due collaboratori – nasce dopo questo post di Dr. Vino, uno dei blog enoici più influenti a livello mondiale; ma mentre Dr. Vino ha il suo bel code of […]


  155. […] this ongoing argument. It’s interesting how sanctimonious some can […]


  156. Bravo for Vino. Reading this blog all night was worth the bottle that smoothed it down. The quality of writing on this thread has been terrific. So with daylight now breaking, a few Freudian observations from another with a journalistic background, and whose only sibling is a child psychologist. I speak too – as one from the world of old-money Maryland, who attended a university in the sphere of Miller’s, whose own alumni, nevertheless, dismiss Miller’s post-graduate alma-matter, if they bother to consider it at all…

    Anyhow:

    No one gets to be a talented wine critic without being a hedonist. I would hope too, that a serious critic is a foodie as well. Since pairings are a part of appreciation. Free meals in the world’s best restaurants?. How could he resist? But that doesn’t make it okay. It should have been with an heiress or rich widow(er?) as a date, instead of Jorge. Surely she’d be able to find Miller’s palate worth the time, and her dime (you sold yourself too cheaply MrBigJ). And Miller’s initial wise guy response to Dr. Vino’s e-mail? Hello?!? Probably made after drinking half a case of samples and choked over when he woke up. Maybe RMP was in the room and they both fell out of their chairs laughing when it was sent – knowing who it was going to. Opps. It should still be taken with true humor at its core, however.

    Parker doesn’t just have a great palate. He’s obviously brilliant and the possessor of a great legal mind as well. So his initial response was intuitively well-crafted to seem off-hand and honest (ly honest) while giving no hint of what he really knows.

    If I was asked to summarize this thread for a buddy after, mind-you, washing it down: I would laughingly-say: Miller and Parker, who live near each other, are obviously great buddies who have shared some – MEMORABLE – if unspeakable, times together.

    Flying around Argentina on a private jet?! Good grief. For a hedonist who appreciates the world’s finest restaurants and wines?! That’s like a record company promoter cutting lines of coke for a powerful DJ in the back room. Say a kilo’s worth… And probably, that’s not all. It has obviously been revealed that Miller is one of those guys who can’t say, no. An addict who will sell the silver (in this case WA’s standards) for a fix.

    My guess is that Miller and Parker have some secret shared tales that would have been a blast to share; and that Parker winked and smiled knowing his buddy would have a great time in Argentina and Spain. Maybe he owed him… Though never suspecting, of course, that it would make the WSJ.

    Some friendships though, however memorable the ride, are, in the greater context of life — toxic. And the breakup of this one could be a fly-on-the-wall’s tear-jerker. Though it’s hard to decide which would be more detrimental in this case: staying with a filandering spouse, or publicly admitting their infidelity and the failure of your union to the world in the form of a divorce. Perhaps we should ask Bill and Hillary for their perspective.

    At least that’s the synopsis I’d give my buddy after an enjoyable night of reading this thread while polishing a bottle. With a wry smile and a wink…


  157. Robert Parker himself is not free from “conflicts of interest”. Last ten years he visited Japan several times to do wine events for Japanese wine enthusiasts. The program was planned by his friend Ernest Singer who runs wine importer Millesimes Inc. based in Tokyo. I was told that Parker was paid approximate $30,000 for three day program. He was also treated with extremely expensive dinners (over $300 per person) while he stayed in Japan, besides roundtrip first class air tickets (also for his family).

    The worst thing Parker did was that he reviewed “Koshu Cuvée Denis Durboudieu” which is produced and marketed by the host Ernest Singer. I consider the review was terribly biased.

    http://www.erobertparker.com/members/gazette/hg430.asp


  158. I was wondering, while perusing Miller’s chapter on Argentina in Parker’s latest guide book, why there is no mention of Bodegas Weinert. Their wines are fabulous, though rather old-school, and Parker himself, in earlier editions of his book, listed them as among the best of the country. Perhaps they did not chip in for the private jet?
    Also, in the Spanish reviews, no notes for Pesquera??
    I am not in the trade, just a lowly consumer, but I have drinking, and cellering wine, on a modest budget, for almost forty years. Parker’s books have always been a great inspiration, especially for finding high quality bottles at reasonable prices.
    Just as balance is the most important quality in a fine wine, so is it in wine criticism and commentary.
    It would be a terrible shame if that balance were sacrificed on the altar of ego and greed!


  159. […] He further suggests that I “cast aspersions” at Robert Parker and his staff in my two posts from April and uses the word “allegedly” to describe the trips taken by […]


  160. It looks like this article made its way to Asia and particularly Japan from which
    interesting feedbacks were received.

    An article published in Wands The international Wine & Sprits Magazine for
    the trade in Japan is bringing new information to the scene.
    (Wands website: http://www.wine.or.jp/wands)
    Scan is just over here : http://img40.imageshack.us/i/wandsparker.jpg/

    Quick and dirty translation comes below :

    “Something not brought yet in Dr.Vino’s blog is that Robert Parker himself is not irreproachable.

    From 1998 upon the request of a Japanese importer and in exchange of enormous amount of money, Parker participated to seminars, and contributed to the business of that importer. That company is producing in Japan a white wine from Koshu grape, and is the sole distributor of that wine. In May 2008, Robert Parker scored the wine after drinking it in a high class sushi restaurant located in Ginza, and published it on his website”

    Due to the fact that the original article is in Japanese, such information might never be revealed to the erobertparker.com’s member…The trade will certainly be aware sooner or later…

    The article statements can easily be proved using the following sources :

    Website for the wine scored by Parker.
    http://koshu.org/en/index.php
    “Robert Parker praised each vintage of Shizen wine, including the Shizen
    2007 vintage on a trip to Tokyo in May 2008. Shizen Cuvee Denis Dubourdieu
    remains the only Asian wine reviewed by Robert Parker.”

    Hedonist Gazette
    After reading the hedonist gazette, it’s easy to find the wine Koshu
    (tasted and scored twice !!! Indeed as the name seems slightly different,
    it’s nothing but the same wine)
    http://www.erobertparker.com/members/gazette/hg224.asp
    http://www.erobertparker.com/members/gazette/hg430.asp

    Post from Parker on Mark Squires’ Bulletin Board
    Parker states that the “wines are the brain-child of my Japanese publisher”

    http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/showthread.php?t=146327&highlight=shizen

    The importer producing the wine / Parker’s Japanese publisher is Millesimes. This wine can be found in their PDF catalogue with parker points on page 29.
    http://www.millesimes.co.jp/download/wine_list/0904_millesime_wine.pdf

    Japanese explanations are saying that this wine is the first Asian wine to be ever tasted by Robert M. Parker Jr.

    That’s quite funny to see such publicly available information not mentioned because of the language differences.


  161. […] a synopsis earlier today of the recent policy transgressions, changes and general tone deafness at Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. It advances the discussion since his angle is that the moment of the Internet is now: But while […]


  162. […] dall’annosa vicenda che ha contrapposto Robert Parker ed alcuni suoi lettori, ripresa da Dr.Vino e dal Wall Street Journal. Dissapore ne ha parlato qui. Ricordate? Alcuni collaboratori di Parker, […]


  163. […] Vuonna 2009 viinimaailmassa tapahtuu enemmän kuin pitkään aikaan, kiitos Internetin kasvavan painoarvon, minkä eräs oire ovat olleet äänekkäät sanasodat perinteisten kriitikkojen ja Internetkirjoittajien välillä. Näistä kuuluisin lienee Robert Parkerin ja Dr. Vino -blogia pitävän Tyler Colemanin valtavirtalehtien sivuille päätynyt kahina, jossa jälkimmäinen syytti ensimmäistä omien periaatteidensa syömisestä. […]


  164. […] alas Coleman, who has come by a “Parker head hunting” reputation honestly, declared proof of thesis in what appears somewhat premeditated and only barely […]


  165. […] criticized in the Wall Street Journal for accepting a lavish junket in Argentina, which was first exposed by Dr. […]


  166. […] year, this came to a head with several online “scandals”; one of which consisted of Dr.Vino questioning, quite fairly in my opinion, the ethical standards of Robert Parker’s writers. The follow-up […]


  167. […] Last year, this came to a head with several online “scandals”; one of which consisted of Dr.Vino questioning, quite fairly in my opinion, the ethical standards of Robert Parker’s writers. The follow-up […]


  168. […] rarely feel sorry for people in the wine trade. But poor Jay Miller. It started with a slap-up dinner with wine importers, and questions of integrity followed. This was a few months ago. Now, with the […]


  169. Your observations could be extended in other directions.

    For example, this past week Eric Asimov writes about an important G.Conterno tasting @ EMPk (for Haiti).

    We all know the New York Times is enduring a rough patch – did they front the $ 995? Or possibly Mr Asimov paid his own way. Or….

    Without prejudice, we would all benefit from knowing the arrangement.


  170. Phil

    I could not agree more.

    These critics/writers ought to disclose such arrangements.


  171. […] vanguard continue to make such mis-steps. From Parker’s lambasting of wine bloggers to the allegations of pay-for-play, it’s a tough time to be “old media” in the wine industry. There’s an […]


  172. […] Another lively exchange to read and discuss. […]


  173. […] similar happened when the blogger Dr. Vino called out wine critics for taking accommodations and free shipments of wine from producers whose […]


  174. […] he was recently embarrassed by a lavish junket bestowed by the Argentine wine industry lobby (later documented by wine writer Tyler Colman) upon his right-hand man, Jay Miller—Parker’s core principles […]


  175. I had no idea critics were being paid that way. That really is odd. Great article!


  176. came to this a bit late i see but from my vantage point Mr. PHD Dr. Tyler needs to get a life. any possibly many more of you. you don’t have enough to do.


  177. Jay Miller’s last visit in Barcelona was fantastic. This man came in Monvinic with his friend Pancho Campo. They met some bodegas’ owners and he explained his way to estimate the wines: ”I never write anything when I taste, I just wait to see the light and, the, I give a note”.
    After this meeting, Jay and pancho came to the bar of Monvinic and with some friends they Ask for bootle of wine: Rayas, Marcassin, etc… The bill: 16000 euros! Never seen in this place where wines are as cheap as in french stores (not restaurants…).
    What else?
    Fat Jay and Pancho the robber just forget to pay!!!
    The bill was payed both by a wine merchant in Barcelona an a bodegua’s owner in Priorat…


  178. If you want, we can tell you more stories about “Jay’s Miller 2011 Spain Tour”. Why not about helicopter’s travels in Priorat?


  179. In La Vanguardia (newspaper from Barcelona) when the journalit asked how he was tasting a great wine, this awful man answerad : like I appreciate a nice porn movie…


  180. Funny stories.

    Were you there? Who provided the helicopter? What bodega do they own?


  181. This stupid Pancho Campo MW (Master of Wank) gave all the details in Facebook…


  182. Look at it, even in You Tube!!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ujD7tg7N0A


  183. The stupid Pancho gave also explanations (in Spanish with translation!):
    “Sobre volando el Priorat y el Montsant en helicóptero con Jay Miller, Christopher Cannan y Rene Barbier.
    Flying over the vineyards of Montsant and Priorat with Jay Miller, Christopher Cannan and Rene Barbier.”


  184. Who will corroborate the story of the bar bill?

    16000 euros? What did they drink?


  185. French, american, australian wines…
    Marcassin, Rayas, etc…


  186. Rayas 2001, Marcoux Vieilles Vignes 2001, Amarone della Valpolicella Bussola… You can see some of this bootles on Stupid Pancho’s Facebook wall!


  187. Now, Dr Vino has to investigate…


  188. Ridge, Kistler, some german rieslings… Perhaps to study an understand spanish wines…


  189. Why the anonymity, Les Pi?


  190. Join us on Facebook, you’ll understand…


  191. I don’t buy it. A helicopter with Jay Miller in it could never get airborne.


  192. Excellent!!!


  193. A good summary here

    http://bit.ly/enj0A1


  194. Yes, Daniel, a good summary!
    But we’re not spaniards, we live in France.
    And the big bill was payed (fifty/fifty) by two men: a wine merchant ans the owner of a winery in the Priorat (not René barbier, another one, René payed for the helicopter…). In fact, these 2 men didn’t decide to offer the wines, but they didn’t have the choice; Pancho and Jay never pay, so…


  195. Pancho Campo just delete his video on YouTube!
    But we have a “family picture” with the helicopter…


  196. Shouldn’t 16,000 Euros (or $22,000) in wine largesse–we won’t call it a bribe, but certainly a gift–be reported as a taxable gift, even if it was consumed on the spot?


  197. But a copy was saved, mi amigo!

    We all knew he would take it down.

    Parker wrote this today, “Impressive video by an amateur!…..Pancho Campo, the president of the Spanish Wine Academy(and who was asked to arrange Jay’s tour of Catalonia) took that video…probably the only way of getting a feel/grasp for that remarkable appellation…thanks for posting… when you see the slopes of those vineyards…hard to believe the wines aren’t even more expensive given the fact that machines are of little value


  198. Pancho Campo on Twitter:
    “Still too many vicious wine bloggers out there. Making no money, no reputation, no life, no influence…100% frustrated! Who cares anyway!”


  199. Pancho should be teaching those bloggers how to rob and steal, become a wanted man, and then avoid jail time, by paying people off!

    That would be sweet.


  200. Les Pi,

    Send me an email…

    daniel at …


  201. daniel at?


  202. Jamie Goode is speaking about it now:
    http://www.wineanorak.com/wineblog/uncategorized/pancho-campo-hits-out-against-bloggers/comment-page-1#comment-11193


  203. Blogger/critic independence is a recurring discussion. Portuguese wine bloggers are discussing it once more this week regarding if its acceptable to ask for samples to wine producers or if all the wine tasted should be bought.

    Regarding Mr. Pacho critic, I make money not with my wine blog but with other job. I think that most wine bloggers does not want to make money at all because they write about a passion and are free of industry pressure, precisely because they do not depend from the wineries to make money. There is no frustration at all of making it free of charge.

    Regards

    Alberto
    Drinkedin Portuguese wine blog


  204. You know, alberto, Sancho Campo is always borderline…


  205. Next time you find a video like this, please record it before posting. Now, because they have removed it from Youtube, Pancho and Jay will simply act as if it didn’t exist, and blame irresponsible blobbers rather than their own lack of ethical standards.


  206. Jim

    I believe that someone saved it. At least someone emailed me this morning, to that effect.


  207. Jim, the video is recorded. And it’s always on Pancho Campo’s wall on FaceBook. But we also have a nice photo, if you give us a mail…


  208. […] came Dr.Vino’s blog: an epic post, questioning the ethics of – among others – Parker’s Spanish […]


  209. On behalf of Monvínic, we would like to clarify the misunderstanding that occurred in relation to the dinner held by Jay Miller on January 17th in Monvínic. The dinner cost €1,215.80 and the bill was paid by 4 people: Sergi Ferrer-Salat, Pancho Campo, Quim Vila and David Martínez, enologist. If you want a copy of the invoice, do not hesitate to contact us. We regret that this dinner led to some misleading comments – we can assure you that we do not know the source of this information. Sincerely, the Monvínic team.


  210. Thanks, Monvinic.

    I am stupid, so I always need further clarification. 4 people paid for dinner…1 winery owner, a wine merchant, an enologist, plus Pancho Campo, whose title is chauffeur for Jay Miller?

    Jay Miller paid no part of the meal? To your knowledge?

    Of course, he was out for a meal with an enologist and a winery owner, which in and of itself, is a violation of what Robert Parker set forth in his new “strict standards” last year.

    Just want to make sure that we are all on the same page.


  211. @ MONVINIC: what we want to see is not the invoice but the payment…
    Of course, we have to trust you, OK for the amount, why not?
    It’s funny: you’re Spanish, so you protect the spanish Pancho Campo when you tell us that he payed for this invoice. But Dr Pancho doesn’t need any protection, he never said anything about ethic rules… In addition, we know his philosophy: “money, influence, reputation, etc…”
    You protect Pancho Campo, by the the way, you confirm officially (if you are Monvinic) that Jay Miller didn’t pays for this dinner, that he offended against Parker’s ethic rules.
    Thank you.
    PS: hope we’ll can visit your place who looks fantastic, with incredible prices; we know Jay always choose the best, if he went there, perhaps it’s because you’ve surpassed El Bulli an Can Roca.


  212. Regarding the dinner at Monvínic, Mr Campo said that he paid his share and that of Mr Miller. As far as Monvínic is concerned, Mr Miller’s conduct was beyond reproach and we consider this matter now closed.


  213. Thanks, Mr. Monvinic.

    For you, this topic was never really open. But thanks for coming here.


  214. When I come across an older blog post like this and read the comments, often I like to reply to a comment that was previously posted. I noticed here that visitors cannot reply directly to a previous comment. It would be helpful if you added that feature.

    Thanks.

    Jim


  215. […] point, this ceased to be true. It was only because of some inquiring minds, and one in particular, Dr. Vino, that we discovered that Parker was allowing Wine Advocate contributors to flout his ethical […]


  216. […] the imbroglio of 2009, Parker modified his ethics statement to read: I expect the writers to learn about the […]


  217. I am loving this blog. I wish there was this kind of discourse on the Parker board.and moor…?


  218. To Mr Enobytes….

    any pairing suggestions for popcorn?


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