If you work or invest in the wine business then you will have at least asked yourself on more than one occasion:
“What will happen when Robert Parker retires?”
Good question! Blogs, forums, social media machines are filled with speculation as to what would happen to the market and we too are eager to know how the lay of the land would change.
That said, the question that we would like to explore is:
“Who benefits from Parker’s retirement”
As a critic, no one person has ever had more influence on wine prices than Robert Parker. There was a time when a single point increase would shift the price for that specific wine. Over time Parker has gotten bigger, and as a result has become a larger target for critics. That’s right, you read it correctly, the critic has got critics.
There’s no doubt that he’s got his fans too(which is why he is where he is), but as years have gone by, attacks on his scores and character have become more common, and calls for his retirement are slowly getting louder.
There is no doubt that as time has gone on, Parker’s influence over prices has dropped. Yet despite this, and despite the fact that he has amassed many critics, people still want to hear what he has to say. They still want to see his scores and read his tasting notes. Even in person he draws quite the crowd and his passion and charisma leaves people thinking
“he’s still got it…..”
In the span of Parker’s career, two things are commonly held beliefs 1) The tasting business is worth millions (whether because of him or inspite of him) 2) no single taster will ever hold as much influence as he has had….
So assuming he retired today, yes I said today (and no, we don’t know something you don’t….well…we probably do, but it’s a secret), who benefits?
Will it be :
1) Other tasters for the Wine Advocate?
2)Other tasters within the industry?
3) Online bloggers (thankfully not us, we can’t be bothered to critique wine …zzzzzz)?
4) Chateaux that have had bad scores from Parker in years gone by?
5) etc, etc, etc…
Will the tasting business turn cut throat & ruthless? Will everyone work together or against each other?
The question of “Who benefits from Parker’s Retirement” is not often asked and it’s something we’ve enjoyed exploring.
“He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes; he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever” – Chinese Proverb