Back in December 2000, William Langewiesche wrote a superb portrait of Robert Parker, the man who revolutionized the world of wine, for The Atlantic titled The Million-Dollar Nose. Snippet: “The Wine Advocate has 40,000 subscribers, in every U.S. state and thirty-seven foreign countries. These are influential readers, and they pass the issues around, igniting the markets of Asia, the United States, and now even Europe, where collectors and wealthy consumers can be counted on to search out wines on the basis of Parker’s recommendations.”
Today, The Wine Advocate has 50,000 subscribers and they’ll soon be getting a jolt, not of vintage Bordeaux, but of e-commerce as the pre-Christmas word in the cellar was that Parker had sold a stake in his newsletter to three young investors in Singapore. According to the Financial Times, “Their ‘exciting infusion of resources’ would allow him to provide his 50,000 subscribers with digital applications, ‘virtual tastings’ and wine education conferences. It will also fund more coverage of emerging wine regions such as China, home to a growing group of wealthy buyers.” The “Asian pivot“, so beloved of geo-political analysts, can be seen now through the bottom of a glass. The other pivot is the one involving the media business.
“The news is emblematic of the digital shifts many publishers have had to make, the new demographics of the world’s wine-buying classes and the changing power of the critic in the age of blogs and social media,” says the FT.
Tonight’s bottle at the home of Rainy Day is La Cartuja, from the Priorat DOCa in Catalonia. Robert Parker would approve of its modest price and excellent value.