Galloni of Sonoma

When Antonio Galloni suddenly left the Wine Advocate last month, he took the unusual step of asserting that he owned the copyright to his reviews, particularly the as-yet-unpublished reviews of Sonoma 2011. He has now posted on his new web site a detailed, legalistic play-by-play in an effort to justify taking the reviews.

Yet the choice is crystal clear: let the Wine Advocate publish whatever reviews were done as of his departure. He presented himself as the Wine Advocate’s reviewer when conducting tastings in Sonoma and the wineries and Sonoma County Vintners treated him as such. Taking the reviews now seems petty, almost as if he doesn’t think his new site will have enough interesting content to attract readers. Adding “out of my deep respect for Bob” and “in the spirit of collaboration” in the posting only underscores how little respect he has for Parker and appears an unseemly effort to scrape whatever readers he can from the WA.

Moreover, Galloni has twice raised protecting “editorial independence” as a reason for quitting. While the Wine Advocate has grappled with reconciling its vaunted code of ethics with the actions of some contributors over recent years, it seems the heights of absurdity that Galloni brings this up at his moment of departure. After all, he’s the one who asked the same wineries that he reviewed in the WA to contribute wines to his $1,200/head Festa del Barolo event. The fact that he has yet to articulate an ethics statement for his own web site or say how the WA policy irked him undermine this justification for quitting abruptly.ron_burgundy

Galloni told the SF Chronicle a couple of weeks ago, “I don’t want to be an employee.” Clearly, issues with the new regime at the WA are his reason for quitting. Fair enough. But why not just leave it at that, be magnanimous, and move on? Keep the discussion about Burgundy, not Ron Burgundy. Stay classy, San Diego!

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11 Responses to “Galloni of Sonoma”

  1. He learned well from Parker. Ethics, morals nada. Points…. plenty.

  2. AG may be totally right and correct in all of his actions. And I think we all understand why he went in this direction. But he should have just turned the report over to TWA and posted it on his site. He comes off looking petty and doesn’t help his cause. Hopefully he will correct his mistake and get on with his site.

  3. It seems a bit strange that he must have been on WAs payroll when he wrote these reviews. Or if he wasn’t, then there would be no reason to explain himself.
    He doesn’t want to be an employee, but I bet with all of the things going on in the last year or so that Bob doesn’t want to be an employer either.

  4. What? This strains the bounds of credulity! Pettiness and controversy at The Wine Advocate, which has become the School for Scandal in recent years? Who woulda thunk it?

  5. […] setting aside for a moment “Epstein” and the whole Jewish thing. Dr. Vino published a piece this morning about the dramatic line in the sand that Galloni seems to be drawing. It looks like he’s […]

  6. One thing that’s odd: why did Galloni wake up one morning and decide to bolt? It seems he parked a no-frills web site and had no start-up capital for his new project when he talked to both the NY Times and the SF Chronicle. So was he basically hanging out a “will work for food and Barolo” sign and testing the job market? Too bad neither story pushed him on why he was doing an Usain Bolt with no firm plans in place.

  7. Jack – good line!

    Gary – It doesn’t seem that way. The post on his site seems like a doubling down on his position.

    Quizicat – yes, it seems Bob doesn’t want to be a boss, certainly some evidence of that is the “independent contractor” structure of his contributors.

    Gerry – Yes, it is turning into an operatic saga. But I also think it’s alienating people from scores and wine critics who swirl and spit points.

  8. Wow. I shouldn’t be surprised, but somehow I am. So smarmy, so icky.

    Thanks, DrVino, for continuing to beat the drum of ethical behavior!

  9. […] Galloni of Sonoma […]

  10. I am trying to think of something cute to write about comparing our general news media to our “major league” wine critics, but I get a severe stomach cramp every time I think about them at the same time. And then my head explodes, just like Monty Python.

  11. […] the critic. (Apparently there are other pending reviews involving Burgundy, Brunello and Barolo.) I posted a few weeks ago that I thought Galloni should turn over whatever he had at that point and to withhold notes was […]


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