The Rise and Fall of The Wine Advocate

I’m beginning to think it’s time to let the anti-Parker tirades fade into the past, just as his dominating influence is starting to do. It is clear that Parkerism has reached its zenith and is on the decline. In fact, this recent spate of Parker bashing books are coming a little too late as the natural rise and fall pattern of something like The Wine Advocate was already in place and I think these books are having little impact and seem more like piling on than muckraking. I can think of few less productive uses of my time these days than reading a book about Robert Parker’s sins. The Wine Advocate that everyone rails against no longer exists as Parker has brought in a whole staff of writers all of whom have their own convictions, palates and style. Things have changed not only at The Wine Advocate, but in the wine world as a whole, where the so called “Parkerization” of wine style is also something that is clearly going out of fashion. While it won’t disappear overnight, you can’t miss the growing interest in smaller production wines that express distinct personalities. It is also clear that there is a strong and growing consumer movement building for wines with more moderate alcohol levels. I think its time to let Parker and his Wine Advocate ride off into the sunset on its own and move our focus back to wine instead of personality. Concerning these realities, I think we can even spend some time considering all the good things that Robert Parker has done for the wine industry and consumers during his reign.

While it’s time for all of us to mellow out about Parker and his now declining influence, I think it’s also time for Parker himself to mellow out and assume the well deserved role of elder statesman rather than continuing the vitriolic outbursts on his forum, one of which had this result: Parker fined for defamation - - the route to all good wine. Such outbursts do far more to hurt his image than any book has done.

Anyone who is upset about the the current direction of winemaking and wants to change things would better use their time reading about wine rather than reading about Parker. Robert Parker is, as they say, history.