Never has there been a more influential wine critic than Robert Parker, the founder and long-time editor of a newsletter known as The Wine Advocate.
Parker helped champion the use of the 100-point grading system, and a rating of 90 or higher from Parker often was the difference between a specific wine selling out quickly or lingering on supermarket and wine shop shelves.
I’m no mathematician, but even I realize that the difference in quality between a wine rated 90 and one rated 89 would be almost impossible for one to describe. Yet in the wine world dominated by Parker’s opinion, an 89 often was met with dismay by the person who made the wine—and with downright depression by the people who had to sell it.
Those who follow wine closely know that Parker has been far from a one-man show for many years now. Other reviewers have been assigned specific geographic regions and/or types of wine for some time.
Recently, rumors had been circulating that Parker was strongly considering retirement. As very small details of planning and negotiations became public knowledge, everything seemed to be pointing to the “R” word.
But it turns out that Parker is not calling it a day. Rather, he has sold a “substantial interest” of his company to a group of investors based in Singapore. Lisa Perrotti-Brown, who is based in Singapore, has been named the new Editor-in-Chief of The Wine Advocate, while Parker remains the CEO and Chairman of the Board—and, more importantly to his legion of followers, he will continue to review wines from France’s Bordeaux and Rhone regions.
The Drinks Business has the full story here.
What impact will the sale of The Wine Advocate have on the wine business? Even if Parker remains greatly involved in the publication, will the public’s perception be otherwise? And most important of all from a marketing perspective, will a “Wine Advocate 90” continue to carry as much marketing punch as it has for so many years?
Those are the great unanswered questions as the most influential wine critic in history moves on to the next chapter of his life.