Tuesday, July 18, 2017

How Foremost Wine Critic Robert Parker Changed the Wine Industry

Robert Parker started out with a simple ambition: to write a wine guidebook without any of the perceived conflicts of interest present in other wine critics who also sell wines. His philosophy was to make wine criticism consumer-oriented. This was in 1975, a time when he was making a living as a bank counsel.

Image source: telegraph.co.uk
In 1978, he published “The Baltimore-Washington Wine Advocate,” which later on will be renamed simply as “The Wine Advocate.” Nowadays, the newsletter is considered the most influential publication on wines by many enthusiasts, wine lovers, and buyers all over the world, and it directly influences the way wines are priced.

Parker is best known as a Bordeaux expert, and his fame began when he praised the 1982 vintage in Bordeaux, an opinion contrary to that of other critics at the time. This has driven up the price and reputation of the said vintage.

But what really changed the industry is his 100-point rating system, a scale that ranks wine from 50 to 100 points based on the color and appearance, aroma and bouquet, flavor and finish, and overall quality level or potential. While a lot of criticism and controversy surround this system, it is nonetheless followed or imitated by other prominent wine reviewers in the world.

Food critics, business writers, and wine connoisseurs will offer mixed impressions of the uniquely successful, but often arrogant Parker. No one can deny that Parker is the most powerful and influential wine critic living. Some call his palate the world’s most-prized. In fact, his nose and palate are insured for $1 million.

Even more amazing is how Parker got his start. Who would have thought that a visit to eastern France to his then girlfriend and now wife would eventually be the precipitous to his current success and worldwide recognition? Today, “Parkerization” is a by-word in the wine industry.

Image source: wine-searcher.com
Bennett J. Kireker is highly passionate about wines. He runs Wine Club NYC which has grown to 50-strong member since its establishment in 2013. For more wine insights, follow this Twitter page.