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Is the beginning of the end for Parker and his ratings?

June 02, 2009 Tags:
This morning I read an article on Decanter, about the Decanter Power list, a list with the most powerful people in the wine industry and Parker has conceded the number one position to the head of the world's biggest wine company, Constellation, according to the magazine, for 'increased emphasis on the premium brands' that 'suggests a genuine bid to lead consumers towards quality over quantity.' I completely disagree with this claim. Supermarkets are selling wines at their lowest price ever and many of them are supplied by Constellation. If, Constellation is, in any way moving towards premium wines, is simply because is closing plenty of wineries because they have realised that their strategy is not viable in the medium long term and are not making profits, and not because they have suddenly become champion of quality wine.

According to the same article, Parker has lost the top spot because of the questionable ethics' of two of his contributors and because his favourite style of wine, 'big, ripe, high-alcohol wines', read my previous post are becoming less and less interesting. This was inevitable. The biggest damage Parker has done to the wine industry as a whole, is that has made plenty of wine makers abandoning their styles, renounce their history and traditions, to make wines that could score high with him. The immediate consequence has been that all wines were similar and consumers got bored, as simply as that.

Why I don't really see the problem in being invited, all paid, to a tasting by a consortium or similar, I do see the problem when the trip is paid by a single producer to taste his or her wine but I don't see this as being the reason of an eventual decline of Parker. Parker was able to do what he did because he started in a different era, where the internet was still a project and wine was relatively unknown. Parker would never had become what he is if he had started now. Now, wine is an everyday drink, plenty of reliable information are available, free of charge, from the Internet and this allow consumers to make informed decisions.
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