This week Robert Parker was in town. The most famous wine critic of all: a true wine celebrity. And he was holding a press conference! This was quite a thing.
I was very excited. While I know some of the Wine Advocate team (I have spent quite a bit of time with both Luis and Neal), I had never met Robert Parker. And for many of us who started our wine habits in the 1990s, he was The Man.
I came to wine writing via an out of control wine hobby. So, gate crashing the world of wine writing, it has been cool for me to meet some of my wine heroes – the likes of Oz Clarke, James Halliday and Jancis Robinson. They’re the people who wrote the books and made the TV shows that I devoured as a wine newbie.
Was I at last to get the chance to meet Robert Parker?
In short, no. There was no invite!
Someone at the Wine Advocate head office had presumably gone through the press list and taken out certain names. My name got scratched through. As did Tim Atkin’s. And Adam Lechmere tells me he got invited then uninvited. Of course, I’m no big shot. With space constraints on the venue, could Tim and I have just failed to make the cut? It seems not. In what parallel universe does The Cambridge Wine Blogger (Alexa rank 5.3 million, Klout score 53) come higher up on a press list than Tim or Adam?
This reminds me a bit of the infamous way that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson used to deal with the press. If you asked a difficult question or upset him in some way, you’d get banned. (See this wonderful example here.)
I know lots of people have been mean and unfair towards Parker and his publication. But while I have been somewhat critical of the practice of scoring wines and the whole wine critic model, I hope I’ve always been fair, and I’ve never been mean.