“Cash For Tastings” Controversy Rolls On

Some of the biggest names in the world of wine criticism have been left tarnished of late as the controversy surrounding Jay Miller’s resignation from the influential publication, The Wine Advocate rumbles on. Miller’s resignation follows a growing number of accusations from bloggers and wine makers that Miller was charging money for tasting wines and for subsequently publishing the results in The Wine Advocate.

Robert Parker, the leading critic for the Advocate and indeed, almost unquestionably the world’s most influential wine writer, has always been ferocious in his insistence on the independence of critics, even going so far as to ensure critics paid for their own meals and accommodation. Although Parker has so far defended Miller and pointed out that his resignation had been a topic of discussion well before any controversy erupted, the accusations and timing of Miller’s departure have certainly cast their shadows.

The accusations centre around a series of e-mails between Pancho Campo, the founder of the Spanish Wine Academy and alleged “gate keeper” for Miller, and the consejos reguladores for Vinos de Madrid, the representative body for the wine makers in the small wine growing region surrounding the Spanish capital. The e-mails would seem to suggest Campo was charging large sums for Miller to come to the region, taste some wines and later publish his scores in The Wine Advocate.

The Wine Advocate, Robert Parker, Jay Miller and Pancho Campo all deny any wrong doing and The Wine Advocate has launched an independent enquiry into the accusations.


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