Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Call It Winegate

Few individuals hold as much leverage over an entire sector of the economy as Robert Parker does when it comes to wine. How he rates wines can be make-or-break for a vintner's profitability. Those who hold such power should be held to a high level of accountability.

And that's why this news story has been getting a lot of attention in the food and wine-related media. According to the WSJ's David Kesmodel:

For decades, wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. has championed a rigid system of ethics, paying for all of his travels to wineries and shunning gifts from the trade. "It is imperative for a wine critic to pay his own way," Mr. Parker wrote in his latest book, published last fall.

But Mr. Parker, it recently has been discovered, hasn't held some fellow writers at his influential newsletter, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, to the same standard.

. . . The trips haven't been disclosed in the newsletter. [One of Parker's fellow WA critics] also has vacationed and enjoyed lavish social dinners in the company of wine importers whose wines he reviews, according to his own writings and interviews with industry executives.

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