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Schildknecht: Miller Not Leaving Wine Advocate on Account of Spain Controversy

2011 December 5
by Mike

A short while ago, David Schildknecht emailed me to say that Jay Miller decided back in January to leave The Wine Advocate at the end of this year and that last night’s announcement of his pending departure was not prompted by the recent controversy in Spain. Here is David’s email, published with his permission:

When Bob Parker discussed with me in January the plan for Antonio Galloni to assume responsibility for covering the Côte d’Or and Chablis, he informed me that Jay had decided to retire at the end of this year and asked me to mull over the inevitable need that would arise for someone new to cover the Pacific Northwest. On August 4, I formally accepted the latter assignment.

Realizing that the conclusion would be drawn in the press that we had scrambled to react to circumstances on short notice, I wanted to let you know – at the risk of arousing new suspicions on your parts about my veracity! –  that this was not the case.

I realize too, that Bob’s having today written that “[a]fter several months of consideration, Big Jay … has decided to return to wine consulting” might well be interpreted as referring to recent deliberations. Nevertheless, they were not at all recent.

An e-mail record confirming the upshot of my January conversations with Bob does not exist until my August 4 acceptance of new responsibilities, in which I refer to those January conversations.

In that August 4 communication, Bob officially asked me to declare my intentions about covering Oregon and Washington after “Jay[‘s] retiring the end of 2011 (not announced)” The first sentence in my reply reads, “You mentioned this to me in January on the phone, so I am at least psychologically prepared!” Neal’s assumption of Spanish coverage is not mentioned in that email but is implicit in the exchange, as he was formally asked at this time to take on that assignment. I am sure that Neal’s records—if not from August, then from very soon thereafter—will confirm this.

On November 4, Bob emailed me and Neal together to let us know on what day (December 5) he would be posting his bi-monthly run-down on the new issue’s contents and simultaneously making the announcement about staff changes and our new assignments.

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