Maryland isn’t known for its wineries but it does lay claim to the man generally regarded as the world’s most powerful wine critic: Robert M. Parker Jr.
Now Parker, of Monkton, has announced that he is phasing out the print version of his influential newsletter the Wine Advocate and turning over editorial control to his Singapore-based correspondent, Lisa Perrotti-Brown.
As first reported yesterday in The Wall Street Journal, Parker is selling “a substantial interest” in the Advocate to “a trio of Singapore-based investors who will take over its day-to-day financial operations.”
It’s major news in the wine world if there are big changes in Parker’s operation. His ratings have been capable of making or breaking entire wine-producing regions in Europe.
Although founded on the principles of influence-free consumer reporting (Parker always liked to cite Ralph Nader as an inspiration), some of his correspondents “have not maintained arm’s length from the trade,” as the wine newsletter Dr. Vino points out.
But if the shift represents a turning point for the publication, it may be as much about finding new markets as about updating the publishing platform and ethical stance.
Parker told the Journal they’ll be putting more emphasis on Asia’s growing wine industry and basing a correspondent in China.