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Miller Time, One More Time

2011 December 9
by Mike

On Monday, after I posted David Schildknecht’s email regarding Jay Miller’s departure from The Wine Advocate, another friend emailed me with a couple of thoughts. He said that if Miller and Robert Parker knew back in January that Miller would be stepping down at the end of 2011, it raises some obvious questions. One is whether Pancho Campo was apprised of Miller’s plans and, if so, when he was told. Another is whether the regions that paid hefty fees to have Miller visit them during his two trips to Spain this year were told. Navarra reportedly shelled out €100,000, or roughly $133,000, for a stopover by Miller in July. Valencia coughed up €35,000, or almost $47,000, to get a few days of his time on his swing through Spain last month, and Murcia paid €29,000, or around $39,000, for a multiday dog-and-pony show during the same trip. It’s hard to imagine that any of these regions would have agreed to such extravagant sums had they known Miller was leaving The Wine Advocate, particularly given the dire state of Spain’s economy and the financial difficulties besetting the Spanish wine industry. If it turns out that the information was not disclosed, my friend said, it would look really bad for Miller and The Wine Advocate, and for Campo, too, assuming that he was in the loop. I agree.

Parker appears to have done a complete volte-face regarding the Spain controversy. Last week, he threatened to sue Jim Budd, the journalist behind the story; this week, his assistant graciously replied to an email inquiry from Budd, and according to The Baltimore Sun, Parker has launched “an international investigation focusing in particular on Campo.” As for Campo, he had said that he would be announcing this week how he and his lawyers planned to respond to the claims against him; so far, there has been no announcement. Campo did tell JancisRobinson.com that he will no longer be working with The Wine Advocate. Campo is a Master of Wine, and there are now calls for the Institute of Masters of Wine to open an investigation into his activities. Judging by what has come to light thus far, I suspect that if anyone is going to be sued, it is Campo himself.

In the meantime, the story has been picked up by the mainstream press. The Baltimore Sun, Parker’s hometown paper (Miller’s, too), has run two stories about the scandal. It even scored an interview with Campo, who insisted that no Spanish wineries ever paid money to have Miller visit them or taste their wines, and that any speaking fees Miller earned during trips to Spain were in a “freelance” capacity. (With Miller leaving The Wine Advocate under a cloud, Campo defending himself in the press, and Parker moving to distance himself from Campo, one can see the outlines of a circular firing squad beginning to form).  In a sign that the controversy has truly gone viral, Gawker posted an item about it Tuesday under a British tabloid-like headline, “Professional Wine Snob in Booze Junket Payola Scandal.” (Gawker said that The Wine Advocate is considered “very well-well-well by the la-dee-da set.” Sorry, Bob, but I am claiming that line for my motto. “Wine Diarist: Very well-well-well for the la-dee-da set.” I like it.)

Ironically, just as the Miller story has caught the notice of the mainstream media, some voices in the wine world are claiming that it is a trivial matter—jaywalking, in a manner of speaking—that has been blown out of proportion by bloggers who are jealous of Parker and looking to knock him down. A few of the tut-tutters seem confused about what the issue is here. The issue is not the fact that Miller pocketed speaking fees during visits to Spain; the guy is entitled to earn a living, and if he can get people to shell out thousands of dollars to hear him talk about wine, more power to him. This is not a speaking-fee scandal; it is a pay-to-play scandal. The emails Budd posted last week show Campo and a colleague of his, Adela Richer, telling officials in the Madrid appellation that a two-day visit by Miller would cost them €20,000, or around $27,000. The itinerary would include a tasting of wines that “have a U.S. importer and which Jay has not previously scored. (A prerequisite for their appearance in the publication)”.  Based on these emails, it appears that Campo was selling access to the pages of The Wine Advocate, something that is completely at odds with Parker’s ethical guidelines and inconsistent with any notion of journalistic integrity.

The question now is whether any of these regional associations were told that Miller would be stepping down at year’s end. The emails offer no answers, just clues. In an email dated June 3rd, Richer encouraged Madrid officials to agree to a Miller visit the following month, warning that if they failed to act “Jay won’t be able to do it until well into 2012.” After a lukewarm response to that email, Richer upped the pressure: “And, you know, the bus passes only once. In 2012 things could change and it could be that we may not even be able to taste Madrid wines.” Campo, in an email that he sent to Richer and one of the Madrid officials on June 3rd, said, “This is a unique opportunity for vinos de Madrid, seeing as how this DO is not in Parker’s plans to be visited in either 2012 and 2013. Private visits, off the set agenda, as this would be, rarely take place, and not for a price below 40,000 euros. The fact that Jay has agreed to stay 2 days more, and for half the usual price, is a miracle and an opportunity that Madrid will find it difficult to have again.”

What was being sold here wasn’t just the opportunity to have Miller review the region’s wines; it was the opportunity for local winemakers to mingle with him and to gain greater insight into his preferences—in short, to cultivate a relationship with The Wine Advocate’s Spain critic. Was the urgency with which Campo and Richer seemed to pursue the Madrid deal—even offering a deeply discounted price—indicative of anything? Impossible to say. But as my friend suggested in his email Monday, if the regional organizations that were hit up for money weren’t told that Miller was leaving The Wine Advocate, you have to ask yourself why that detail was withheld.

A couple of things to note. The proposed Madrid visit in July didn’t happen; according to Budd, the appellation balked at the cost. Despite Campo and Richer’s insistence that the July date was the only possibility for 2011, Miller ended up doing a tasting of Madrid wines during his most recent visit to Spain, free of charge.  Also, Robert Parker’s assistant, in response to an email from Budd earlier this week, said The Wine Advocate will be publishing Miller’s tasting notes from his last trip, but that they may only appear on the eRobertParker.com website.

I assume that this story will continue to unspool. If I were a Wine Advocate subscriber, I would want answers to the following questions:

-Why were Campo’s services enlisted by The Wine Advocate, and who made the decision to use him as Miller’s handler in Spain?

-Did The Wine Advocate pay for Campo’s services, or were they given free of charge?

-Did The Wine Advocate pay for Miller’s three trips to Spain this year?

-According to David Schildknecht, Miller and Parker knew back in January that Miller would be leaving The Wine Advocate at the end of 2011. Was Campo told of this, and if so, when?

-In the course of arranging Miller’s visits to Navarra, Valencia, and Murcia, did either Miller or Campo tell officials in those regions that Miller would be stepping down from The Wine Advocate at year’s end?

-Miller told The Baltimore Sun that he was paid $8,000-$15,000 for each of the speaking engagements that Campo arranged for him in Spain. Did The Wine Advocate receive any money from the events that Campo organized in Navarra, Valencia, and Murcia?

63 Responses leave one →
  1. José permalink
    December 13, 2011

    Howard:

    Regarding knowledge on a region and its grapes, it always helps the reviewer to know about them, especially if the reviewer is throwing drinkability windows on the wines reviewed. Without that experience the reviewer’s drinkability windows are shots in the dark. It does not help when a subscriber asks the “expert” on white varietals from Galicia and he mentions Verdejo (Native grape from Rueda, not authorized in Galicia) as part of his answer.

    You are paying the reviewer for recommendations based on his experience/expertise not for learning about the region and its wines at your expense.

  2. December 13, 2011

    Mike, for those interested here on my blog is the elmundovino.es article in an English translation approved by the director of elmundovino.es with some background info leading up to the article:

    An Explosive Article From A Top Spanish Wine Journalist Giving Background on The Pancho Campo – Jay Miller – Robert M. Parker, Jr. – The Wine Advocate Controversy http://www.gerrydawesspain.com/2011/12/explosive-article-from-spain-that-gives.html

  3. Howard permalink
    December 13, 2011

    The sadest thing of all is that Jay Miller’s reviews gave people in the U.S. the impression that he knew something about Spanish wines. In order to understand and write importantly about Spanish wines, one has to know the culture, the people, the geography and the food of each of the DO’s. Jay Miller never gave me the impression that he really “knew” any of these things. Jay knew how to taste and write about what he tasted, but he didn’t seem to know the “flavor” of what he was tasting.

  4. José permalink
    December 12, 2011

    I hope that Parker’s investigation is not limited to the Murcia event and includes the Navarra and Madrid events.

  5. Bill Haydon permalink
    December 12, 2011

    “according to The Baltimore Sun, Parker has launched “an international investigation focusing in particular on Campo.” ”

    What? Is this guy interpol now? I eagerly await Parker’s internal investigation with the same baited breath that I await Penn State’s internal investigation of their recent crisis.

    Hopefully, the MW court will commission an independent investigation.

  6. Jack Bulkin permalink
    December 12, 2011

    Wilfred I also noticed that reference on a Facebook Post that was later removed.

  7. Wilfred permalink
    December 12, 2011

    Hi Jose

    I had heard this from ITB folks, but then read on one of the posts (I had thought it was Jack above, but now I can’t find it–perhaps it was stated on WineBerserkers?) that someone stated Miller had stated this on eRMP. Now that I look above in Jack’s post of his December summary, I don’t see it so perhaps my memory is incorrect?

    Wilfred

  8. José permalink
    December 12, 2011

    Wilfred:

    Would you be kind to provide where Miller has mentioned him not wanting Campo’s services?

    Thanks in advance,
    José

    PS The recent elmundovino article does not do any favors to Campo.

    http://elmundovino.elmundo.es/elmundovino/noticia.html?vi_seccion=2&vs_fecha=201112&vs_noticia=1323621873

  9. Wilfred permalink
    December 11, 2011

    Mark: You jealous of Miller? That does stretch the imagination.

    Mike: I doubt Campo will let RMP make him the fall guy, and as I’ve said before, I doubt Miller will let Parker make HIM the fall guy either, since it has come out that Miller didn’t really want Campo and Campo’s services were at RMP’s request (insistence?). Some folks aren’t going to go out quietly. I bet lots of unsavory stuff flows from their lips in due time.

  10. December 11, 2011

    Mark, thanks for stopping by. I think your experience has been sadly typical. Parker just will not tolerate dissent, and has steadfastly refused to be held accountable for these various controversies. Parker doesn’t owe me any answers; I’m not a subscriber. But you’ve been a subscriber for 30 years; he is certainly accountable to you. Yet, when you raised legitimate concerns about the Navarra extravaganza, he responded with nothing but contempt. It is an interesting business strategy. I’d be curious to know how many other people have dropped TWA subscriptions in recent years.

    He, of course, owes you an apology, just as he owes Jim Budd one. I very much that doubt apologies will be forthcoming. However, I don’t think Parker is going to be able to put this scandal behind him quite as easily as he did the earlier ones. Miller may go quietly, but I suspect that Campo is not about to let Parker make him the fall guy for this mess.

  11. Mark Kaplan permalink
    December 11, 2011

    Mike,
    I asked Parker those questions on the eRobertParker bulletin board last summer during the Navarra embroglio. Rather than answer the questions, Parker accused me of maliciously spreading false rumors about Miller, being jealous of Miller, and then locked the topic from further discussion immediately thereafter. I am still waiting for an answer and an apology. I’m a soon to be a former subscriber after 30 years primarily due to Parker’s intemperate behavior toward me and other TWA subscribers who had the temerity to question the apparent conflict between Miller’s conduct and the ethical standards espoused by Parker on the masthead of TWA.

  12. December 11, 2011

    It may seem obvious to you, Giu, but I don’t suppose you have considered that maybe several journalists are rounding up information and exchanging it on this affair. Oh, I see, José Peñin’s take on this was common knowledge on this site, as was Tom Perry’s personal e-mail to me about the Antonio David post. The link to the Singapore video was posted on here earlier. I called the Wine Diarist’s commenter’s attention to it again, because, like other videos on Campo, they have tendency to disappear. I think if Mike Steinberger has objections to my posts, he will tell me.

  13. Giu permalink
    December 11, 2011

    Gerry:

    I do not mind getting information on the Campo affair but it is quite obvious that you are prowling all over the net and trying very hard on directing traffic to your site by re-posting threads from other sites into yours instead of using the original link and not adding any new content. When you have something new or of your own to add please let us know, but in the meantime please save us the time and effort.

  14. December 11, 2011

    I don’t know how many of you saw this, but even Spain’s Top Writer José Peñin has weighed in (on elmundovino.com) on the Pancho Campo-Wine Advocate-Robert M. Parker Jr., Jay Miller “Pay for Play” So-called “Murciagate” Controversy http://www.gerrydawesspain.com/2011/12/spains-top-writer-jose-penin-on-pancho.html

  15. December 11, 2011

    Quick, have a look at the video before it disappears like any other one has about Campo when someone calls attention to it.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cqpkVudmkM 0:35

    You may also want to have a look at American wine veteran, Tom Perry, who lives in La Rioja and his take on Antonio David’s post on Mike Steinberger’s entry:
    http://www.gerrydawesspain.com/2011/12/tom-perry-long-time-rioja-veterand-and.html

  16. José permalink
    December 11, 2011

    Mike:

    I completely forgot the Fenavin event in Ciudad Real last May where Miller tasted 13 wines from Castilla La Mancha in a similar set up as the one in Navarra. That makes four trips that Miller made to Spain with Campo as a handler.

  17. Wilfred permalink
    December 11, 2011

    Interesting, Gerry. I hadn’t picked up on that.

    I still would like answers to Mike’s questions. Bottom line: Did any of this money get shifted back either to TWA or RMP personally? (If so, it could have gone to a legal entity or a person and I’m asking for either).

  18. December 11, 2011

    In José María ‘s post, he has a link to a Pancho Campo video taken at a tasting in Singapore, where Campo says, “. . .especially when WE go with Jay Miller. . .when it comes sensations (the taste of the wines), please leave it to US, because that is what WE have to do for Robert Parker, describe the wines for the American consumer. . .” WE, kemo sabe?” Good to know that Campo and Miller have been free-lancing together and that “WE are describing the wines for the American consumer.” Sorry, if my bands of credulity about Campo-Miller’s innocense are being stretched to the limit. Who is “WE,” a Parker (in absentia)-Campo-Miller troika.

  19. December 11, 2011

    Jack, thanks for the summary. With so many moving parts, it’s hard to keep track of all this stuff!

    Wilfred, thanks for the link to the Campo statement. I love that he provided the email address for his lawyer. What, does he want people to volunteer to be sued by him?

    John S, I suspect that a lot of people have grown tired of defending Parker. At this point, even the most ardent Parker fans must be having some doubts. And I agree–I very doubt that any apology will be forthcoming.

    Raley, thanks for stopping by. Heimoff’s passion for California wines is plain to see. But as I said in my reply to Evan, he’s just being really peculiar about this Miller controversy. Maybe he didn’t take the time to familiarize himself with the story before spouting off about it, maybe (as Evan suggested) he is being deliberately obtuse–I don’t know.

  20. December 11, 2011

    Hi Jose, thanks for that. I actually saw something yesterday about that third trip, which I believe involved a wine festival of some sort. I’ve amended the question, and appreciate the tip.

  21. José permalink
    December 11, 2011

    Mike:

    Very good entry.

    Just a minor correction to one of the questions that TWA subscribers should ask to Parker. Miller went to Spain three times this year not two. The first one was back in January when he travelled with Campo throughout several Catalan wine regions. The same trip where he compared a great wine to a porno flick. Campo and Miller also visited the Campo De Borja region on that trip. The next trip was in July when they visited Navarra and the last one was the recent one to Valencia. Miller’s first trip to Spain with Campo as a handler was in May 2010 where they visited Toro, Ribera Del Duero and Rioja.

  22. John S. permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Mr. Bulkin is 100% correct. Thin-skinned, defensive, insecure and hostile people never apologise or admit fault. As for Parker’s apologists, it is truly surprising that none have crawled out of his nether orifice to defend him and attack those who think that there’s something fishy going on.

  23. Jack Bulkin permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Antonio David, “Apology” is not a word ever found in any WA tasting note, Review, Article or in the Hedonist Gazette
    But if the word “apologist” is close enough to suit you you will find an unlimited number of them on The Squires Wine Board.

  24. December 10, 2011

    Antonio David, thanks very much for stopping by and for sharing this. What region do you work in? Was it one of the areas visited by the Miller/Campo roadshow?

    The whole thing is obscene, and for exactly the reasons spelled out in your message. Obviously, we don’t know how much Campo profited off of his relationship with The Wine Advocate. But it sounds as if he made out pretty nicely, and the fact that all of this stuff took place at a time when so many producers in Spain are struggling to stay afloat is the part that nauseates me. I’d imagine that a lot of people in Spain are not happy with Campo at the moment, and I hope that his involvement with the wine industry has now come to an end. You guys deserve better than this, and I think you also deserve an apology from Robert Parker. He gave his friend Miller a job for which he was clearly not qualified, and if Campo is to be believed, it was Parker who enlisted Campo to serve as the Wine Advocate’s handler in Spain. I wouldn’t hold your breath for an apology from Monkton, but I think you and your colleagues are owed one.

  25. December 10, 2011

    José María, thanks very much for the comment and the insights. I’m glad all of this coming to light. From what I understand, the Spanish press has been reluctant to touch the story; hopefully, that will now change.

    Based on the emails, etc., it seems clear that Campo was selling access to The Wine Advocate. From what you are saying, he was also using his connection to the Wine Advocate to promote his own business ventures. The question now is whether any of this was done with Parker’s knowledge and approval.

    The good news is that Campo has already said that he will no longer be working with The Wine Advocate. And though I don’t know Neal very well–I met him just once, at a tasting in Paris a few years ago–he seems very diligent and hardly the sort to need or want a handler. As I said, I think this controversy is going to continue to play out for some time, but I’m sure Neal is eager to give The Wine Advocate a fresh start in Spain.

  26. Jack Bulkin permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Thanks Wilfred. Miller may make a statement but I suspect all involved just wish that it would just go away now that he is leaving WA.
    I feel bad for the yet uncovered Spanish Wine Community, like Antonio David above. I doubt that WA will now “cover” them .

  27. Wilfred permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Jack

    Great chronology/summary. Look for Miller to “spill the beans” on some of this in 2012. I have a feeling he has a lot to say and is looking for the right time and venue, as he says, of his choosing.

  28. José permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Jack:

    As far as I am aware Winefuture Rioja 2009 was the first time they worked together. There has not been any official disclosing of the fees that Parker received on the Winefuture events but there were unofficial reports that he received 100,000 euros for the one in Rioja.

  29. Jack Bulkin permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Thanks José. Was there any dealings between Campo and Parker before Winefuture 2009 or was that the initial contact between the two?
    The appearance fees to Parker from Campo at the two wine expos will never be discovered but could be very informative. Even just comparing them would be “interesting”.

  30. José permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Jack:

    Nice summary of the events. The only thing that I will add is that Parker also was a special paid guest on Winefuture Rioja in 2009. That was the genesis of the Parker/Campo/Miller relationship.

  31. raley roger permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Evan,
    Thank you for the gentlemanly response. I can certainly see where you’re coming from. I have issues with each critic, myself. But, at the end of the day, I believe that Heimoff loves wine and believes in the California wine industry and cares enough to keep exploring new brands, etc. while still supporting some of the less fashionable stalwarts. Hard to expect more from him than that. In a perfect world, every wine critic would be truly objective, emotionally mature and clear headed. Alas, after a couple of decades in the business, I have realized this is not the case, and to expect it to be so is naive. Criticism of any sort….art, film, wine, food……is delivered by humans, for humans and there are so many mitigating factors that come into play.

    Did a critic sleep well the night before a big tasting? Did he or she get in a fight with a spouse? Do they have a crush on someone associated with a brand they review, do they work out at the same gym as a winemaker they happen to admire, etc….etc….and does this some how effect how they do their job?

    Absolutely, it must, for they are just humans.

    I don’t know enough about the Campo thing to comment, but with regard to Heimoff, I can say that he seems to have innate and genuine love for wine and, in particular, the wines of California. I’ll take that any day over some smug bastard who doesn’t give two shits about what we all try to accomplish in the business on a day to day basis: make good wine and deliver it to consumers who will enjoy it.

  32. Jack Bulkin permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Wrap up as of December 10, 2011.
    Jim Budd posts blogs in late October and November 2011 regarding the Spanish Wine controversies.
    Pancho denies all charges and threatens suit.
    Robert Parker denies that either Jay or Pancho did anything wrong and threatens suit.
    Robert Parker later states that Jay did nothing wrong but that he is conducting an International investigation of Pancho.
    Robert Parker states that Jay had advised him in January 2011 that he (Miller) planned t leave WA at year’s end.
    David Schildknecht has advised us here that he and Neal Martin were advised this past summer that they were jointly taking over Jay Miller’s assignments.
    Neal Martin stated on EBOB that he has begun to chart a spread sheet os Spanish Wineries last week. (December 2011).
    Pancho now acknowledges that Robert Parker hired him to be a handler and interpretter in Spain.
    Robert Parker appeared as a special paid guest of The Wine Academy in the Hong Kong Wine Futures 2011. His appearance and speaking fee has never been disclosed.
    Antonio David has posted here that unknown Spanish Winemakers “need a voice to be heard and Pancho provided us all with paid access to Mr. Miller.”
    Sadly, I am certain that there is more to come.

  33. December 10, 2011

    I always thought that the Wine Advocate attempts to not review wines with no known US importer?

    I guess that the rules change when someone is writing checks.

  34. Wilfred permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Actually, here’s the official response (same text but from TWAS website): http://www.thewineacademy.com/web/eng/noticia01.php?id=571

  35. Antonio David permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Dear Mike,
    Another one from Spain here too. We as winemakers, winery owners, vintners, enologists need a voice to be heard and Pancho provided us all with paid access to Mr. Miller. He said, they said, we said doesn’t matter, it is our bottom line and that is why we paid access to Mr. Miller. My wine is not yet rated and not imported into the US. If I don’t secure some way of having the Big US Critics to discover my wines and write about them, I will never export. The amount of money we all paid Campo was obscene, but what choice do we have? None. Questions on the expenses and how the money was spent? We were told a large portion of the money went to Pancho for arranging the trip, airlines, transfers, hotels, meals, video, and publication in The Wine Academy of Spain portals. I hope Mr Campo gets run out of Spain as he is nothing more than a vagabond. While I struggle to pay for my tractor repairs, Pancho if flaunting around in his Ferrari, having lavish 50th birthday & anniversary parties in Marbella (all on the social media to see), and acting like a jet set multimillionaire. Fuera Pancho Fuera! He has no shame and no place among the good people of Spain. Any winery supporting him now are only doing so because they are holding on to a thread of hope that he still has some tricks up his sleeves to sell them.

    Gracias for letting me speak, Antonio David

  36. December 10, 2011

    Raley – I concede your point. But I feel that in Steve’s case, it swings rather wildly and frequently. I’m not sure why that is. I’d certainly think he’d do himself more favors if he consistently answered questions and criticisms in his own comments section; he very often ignores substantive critiques, which is disappointing. Check out his posts on the 100-point scale. He seems to get very defensive about it, condescendingly so, but won’t directly address the myriad issues raised by his readers.

  37. José María permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Dear Mike,

    We are in Spain we are so happy and relieved that foreign journalists are investigating what is going on here. People are afraid to talk, but Pancho have been selling access to Jay Miller to everyone (Winery/DO). I AM NOT saying that Miller did not honestly taste the wines. I AM NOT saying that Miller added a single 1/10000 of a point because he was paid by a wine region. This is NOT against Parker / Miller / TWA.

    This is a story of how a Master of Wine Mr.Campo sold the opportunity to be visited by TWA´s man in Spain. It is not only what you have published, there are dozens of emails where Pancho Campos offered “subtely” a visit by Miller to his region/winery for money. It has not been only the masterclasses and public speaking as you published, it has also sponsorships for Wine Future Honk Kong and other parts of his business.

    The way he talked it seems he was working for the TWA. Just have take a look at this video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3cqpkVudmkM 0:35 We have heard him several times in Spain talking about his friend Bob, while sending a sponsorship, tastings, lectures and other things long to explain.

    I hope Neal does not hire Pancho Campos to taste in Spain. We have lots of great wines to offer. We look forward to welcome TWA team and everyone who wants to come to Spain. Mike, you are also welcome as well all your readers.

    Best

    José María

  38. John S. permalink
    December 10, 2011

    Somebody from Wine Enthusiast weighs in on this subject? Really???? Talk about Pay to Play! This is really turning into Wacky Wine World.

  39. Raley Roger permalink
    December 9, 2011

    To Evan Dawson:

    “He can be incisive, clever, but also condescending, hypocritical. ”

    Perhaps try looking in the mirror. We’re all like that…..we all have our weaknesses. What do your colleagues think of you?

    Do any of these think you’re ever clever but hypocritical, or are you simply PERFECT?

  40. December 9, 2011

    I haven’t heard a thing. I assume it was a pretty hefty fee. Here’s a question: if Parker’s investigation reveals that Campo somehow abused his position as The Wine Advocate’s point man in Spain, will Parker return those fees?

  41. December 9, 2011

    Mike

    Is there any report on how much Robert Parker was paid for Wine Future Hong Kong?

  42. December 9, 2011

    Dan, it has been widely reported that Navarra paid 100,000 euros, or around $133,000 at the current exchange rate, for Miller’s visit back in July. No one has denied that figure; I recognize that that’s not the same as confirmation, but surely, Campo and/or the officials in Navarra would have tried to knock down that story if it wasn’t true, because the figure is so shockingly large. Miller was apparently paid a $15,000 speaking fee in Navarra. So if the $133,000 figure is correct, that leaves $118,000. Did that really all go to Campo?

    Evan, I don’t know what his deal is. As I said, he reacts as if people are questioning his conduct and his ethics. Why that’s the case, I have no idea.

  43. December 9, 2011

    Mike – You’re right. I’d guess that someone with a doctorate in psychology could have a field day with Steve’s blog; he can be incisive, clever, but also petty and condescending and hypocritical. He’ll jab bigger publications, but then when others jab the big guys, he gets defensive, as if he’s on the same plane. I can’t tell if it’s his way of trying to position himself with the biggest names or what. I like Steve, but he can be confusing…

  44. December 9, 2011

    $133000 for one visit?

    Whoa, that has been verified, Mike?

  45. December 9, 2011

    Katherine, thanks for stopping by. It is mind-boggling. The thing that bothers me the most? The idea that a lot of hard-up winemakers may have been forced to pay to have their wines tasted by Miller. I’m sure you saw the Valencia and Murcia emails, in which producers were told that they would have to fork over hundreds of euros if they wanted their wines reviewed by him. Campo has denied that he asked for these payments, and it is not clear if, in the end, wineries did have to pay. But many producers in these areas are struggling, and if it turns out that payments were required, that would just cast the whole thing in an even more sordid light.

  46. December 9, 2011

    It’s all so horribly wrong, it just boggles the mind.

  47. December 9, 2011

    Actually, Evan, I wonder if he even bothered to visit Budd’s site and read those emails before he posted. He clearly isn’t grasping what the issue is.

    He seems to instantly get his back up whenever these kinds of controversies arise. Go back and read his post earlier this week–you almost get the sense that he was defending himself, not Miller. It’s strange.

  48. December 9, 2011

    Heimoff’s posts reek of Mickey Kaus, contrarian-for-contrarianism’s-sake sensibility. Or just intentionally obtuse.

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  1. This Budd’s For You: Pancho Campo’s Past, Jay Miller’s Unpublished Tasting Notes - My Wine Broker
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