THE right-hand man of influential wine critic Robert Parker has been forced to resign amid allegations he took money for bodega visits in Spain.
Jay Miller – Parker’s official wine critic for Spain – stepped down after the organisation responsible for booking his visits, the Spanish Wine Academy (SWA), were found to be charging 20,000 to 40,000 euros for tastings.
The controversy centres around emails sent by SWA founder Pancho Campo, in which he appears to offer Miller’s services for ‘half the usual fee’ to trade body Vinos de Madrid and Asevin, a company organising tastings in Murcia.
“Some people may believe my stepping down is in response to my critics,” Miller said following his resignation from Parker’s organisation Wine Advocate.
“Nothing could be further from the truth. I have never accepted (or requested) fees for visiting wine regions or wineries.”
But while there is no suggestion of anything illegal having taken place, the claims have been hugely damaging to Parker’s reputation as an independent critic.
The wine expert writes a consumer advice column for US magazine The Wine Advocate and is described by the Los Angeles Times as ‘the most influential wine writer in the world today’.
Parker insisted it was a ‘reckless and malicious disregard for the truth’ and was clearly aimed at damaging ‘Miller, Campo, and his organisation.