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Wine Advocate appoints British editor-in-chief for first time

Could the new frontman mean an increasingly European flavour for the drinks publication? db reports.

On 1 April London-born William Kelley became editor-in-chief of Wine Advocate, marking the first time that a non-American editor-in-chief has headed up the publication since it was founded by Robert Parker as a newsletter in 1978.

Kelley will review wines for the title from Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne while his predecessor Joe Czerwinski will continue to review wines from Napa, New York state and Canada.

There are rumblings that the new appointment could hint at a more European focus moving forward for the famously American publication.

“This news will be greeted throughout France – and notably in Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne – with enthusiasm,” says db’s Bordeaux correspondent Colin Hay. “There was a time when there were fears that the Wine Advocate might turn away from France and back to its US home. Those fears are now significantly allayed. ”

Hay adds: “The Wine Advocate has exceptional capacity to continue to place Bordeaux at the heart of its analysis.”

Looking at the appointment from the other side of the pond is Roger Morris, db’s US correspondent.

“I doubt that the appointment will have much of a ripple among the California wine trade, as Bob Parker – who is an East Coaster, after all – started the Advocate as a publication focused on French wines,” he says.

“Additionally, Napa Valley winegrowers in particular are just as likely to quote their scores from other wine raters these days, such as Dunnuck and Galloni, as they are critics from the Advocate.”

Oxford graduate Kelley has lived in the US and made wine in California – a Chenin Blanc from Clarksburg. Formerly Deputy Editor of the publication for a little more than three years, Kelley has also written about Madeira and English Sparkling for the Advocate and was initiated into the world of wine when he “tasted a bottle of 1955 Château Lynch Bages at the age of 17.”

He has also been North America correspondent for Decanter.

Parker retired in 2019 and lives in northern Baltimore. Wine Advocate was acquired by Michelin in 2020.

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