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Thursday 24 April 2014

Jay Miller leaves The Wine Advocate

5th December, 2011 by Lucy Shaw

Robert Parker has announced that Spain critic Jay Miller will be leaving The Wine Advocate.

Addressing subscribers to his bulletin board, Parker said: “After several months of consideration, Big Jay has decided to return to wine consulting, lecturing and wine retail.”

Miller’s departure comes as the scandal known as “Murciagate” continues to gather pace, with suggestions by Parker that legal action against “the bloggers” who have been involved may be imminent.

“Some may believe my stepping down is in response to my critics,” Miller (right) said, in reference to the scandal.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. I have felt constrained in responding while still on The Wine Advocate staff. While the office has defended my actions, justifiably, now it is time for me to speak for myself.

“In what format I will do that remains to be seen. This much is clear, I have never accepted (or requested) fees for visiting wine regions or wineries,” he added.

Both Miller and Parker indicated this was a voluntary departure on Miller’s part, with Parker referencing the tediousness of tasting mediocre wines that can “burn out the best of us,” adding, “change is never easy, but often essential.”

Miller’s Spain, Chile, and Argentina responsibilities will be taken over by UK-based Neal Martin, while coverage of Oregon wines will go to David Schildnecht.

Last month, wine writer Jim Budd obtained e-mails indicating that the Association of Wine from the Region of Murcia (Asevin) and Pancho Campo MW were allegedly charging wineries €20,000 to “secure” a visit from Jay Miller on his upcoming trip to Spain.

Since the story broke, Budd obtained further emails indicating the same practice from Campo with regards to DO Vinos de Madrid, with Pancho allegedly offering the wine body a €20,000 ”cut-price deal” in exchange for a two day visit to the region.

3 Responses to “Jay Miller leaves The Wine Advocate”

  1. Daniel Naylor says:

    Whilst there may be some truth to the allegations of money changing hands for a visit by Miller being arranged it always angers me that Jim Budd’s word is taken so literally, seemingly without any question.
    Budd is someone who regularly contradicts himself with his entire operation seemingly a contradiction of what he claims to stand against. He recommends certain companies while at the same time denigrating others for practices or charges he claims are wrong. When his recommended companies working practices are examined it is very often the case that they are almost exactly the same as the companies he suggests we should avoid.
    This surely raises questions over why he would advise working with some and not others?
    People are obviously capable of drawing their own conclusions but I would hope the majority, if not all, would be capable of reading between the lines in regard to much of Jim Budd’s opinion.

  2. The real question here is not about what anyone thinks about Jim Budd (and I happen to think a lot of good, just so that be clear). It is about the seemingly dubious practices of either Campo or Miller (or both). And I should emphasize here for English readers that Budd was not the only one to reveal these practices. In fact it started in France, to be continued in Spain, Germany and Belgium.

    What is at stake ? If we are to believe Jay Miller as queted above, he was unaware that Campo’s outfit (The Wine Academy of Spain) requested between 20,000 and 40,000 euros (as far as is known so far and upheld by copies of e-mails to and for) from at least two interprofessional wine bodies in Spain to secure a visit from Miller, renowned as being Parker’s man-in-Spain; this sum to include tasting, visits and a “conference” (on what, we don’t know). In this case, Campo has some answering to do. Or we doubt Miller’s statement and they both do. And what on earth is the Institute of Masters of Wine waiting for to shed some light on the issue, since Campo is a member and has therefore signed a binding statement as to proper practices in order to hold his title ?

  3. Mel says:

    i work for a winery in the Madrid DO and winemakers here were incensed at being asked for ALOT of money to be reviewed by Jay Miller, it was a big topic of conversation. Add to that Jay Miller’s “past” with Aussie wineries, coupled with Pancho Campo’s unsavory history and former status on Interpol, and you have two guys on the take, lacking integrity and ethics. exactly what we don’t need in the wine business.

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