Dunnuck to leave The Wine Advocate

American wine writer and critic Jeb Dunnuck is to leave The Wine Advocate it has been announced.

Dunnuck is reportedly leaving to set up his own website called JebDunnuck.com. According to newspaper the San Francisco Chronicle, Californian wine would be a major focus as would the role of the single reviewer. With his contract running out at The Wine Advocate on 15 June, Dunnuck said he was “excited to get to the next phase.”

Dunnuck joined The Wine Advocate in 2013 soon after the departure of Antonio Galloni – who left to found Vinous – and the esteemed US journal’s creator, Robert Parker, said he had, “found a younger version of myself.”

The move is bound to set tongues wagging of course as, up to this moment, and in his own words, Parker seemed to have suggested Dunnuck was the ‘heir’ to WA. Their tastes in wine, California and the Rhône especially, are also weirdly similar.

Having made his name writing a small journal called Rhône Report, Dunnuck moved into that reviewing role at WA after Parker began stepping back from various duties – which also included Bordeaux of course, a beat that went to Neal Martin.

Gradually Dunnuck also assumed responsibility for Washington state, central and southern California and the rest of southern France as well.

When Parker relinquished the part of reviewing northern Napa and Sonoma many assumed Dunnuck would get the gig but it was taken up instead by the journal’s editor-in-chief, Lisa Perrotti-Brown.

Dunnuck told the Chronicle that this was not behind his decision to leave but his comments in the article suggest that how Dunnuck views the role of a wine critic is increasingly at odds with the way The Wine Advocate is being run.

Speaking to the newspaper he expressed regret that the “single-voiced model” in wine criticism had faded and that everything was moving towards “brand-driven, team-based approach.”

Consider then, Perrotti-Brown’s recent statement that “scores aren’t everything,” and that the proliferation of scores was leading to their power and influence being diluted.

Perhaps Dunnuck feels that imbuing them once again behind the power of one voice will help give them added weight.

Furthermore, he has said he will be focusing only the areas he particularly loves (the very Parker-like) Washington, California (all of it), Bordeaux, the Rhône and southern France.

As it was with the Rhône Report, there will be no advertising, just subscriptions though some online content will be free.

Dunnuck will be the sole critic but said he would be “thrilled” to have contributing articles from other writers.

READ MORE: Profiling Parker

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