A Tribute to Robert M. Parker Jnr.

Monday, 20 May, 2019
Robert Parker Wine Advocate, Lisa Perrotti-Brown
The father of modern wine criticism, our publication’s founder and namesake, my greatest mentor and a dear friend, it is with mixed feelings that I announce that Robert M. Parker Jr. will, as of today, be formally hanging up his wine criticism boots and retiring from Robert Parker Wine Advocate. I say “mixed,” because if anyone deserves a rest from our frenetic world of wine reviews, it is Bob.
And yet, his contribution to significantly raising the bar of critical, unbiased wine writing and wine quality cannot be overestimated. His unrivaled tasting experience and expert, straight-talking opinions will be sorely missed by consumers and trade alike. 
Last year, I wrote about The Big Parkerization Lie, debunking this myth of the perceived phenomenon of a global wine production trend that sought to achieve an “international style” of wines that would garner high scores from Parker. I’d like to take the opportunity now to remind readers about Parker’s journey and some of his greatest achievements, notably: The Wine Advocate.

The origins of The Wine Advocate can be traced back to as far as 1967, when Robert Parker took a brief break from American college life to make his first trip to France on the heels of a young lady who was studying in Alsace. That lady was soon to become Mrs. Patricia Parker and remains so to this day. Apart from getting the girl, Parker discovered wine during this first trip to France and developed a taste for it. In the mid to late 1960s, the seedling concept of The Wine Advocate took root in Robert Parker’s mind, but his friends and family, bent on him becoming a lawyer, discouraged this as fanciful. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1973 and joined a firm as a practicing lawyer near where he and his young wife had grown up, in Baltimore, Maryland. But his professional heart was already lost to wine, and in 1978 Parker decided to put his money where his mouth was and began publishing his own wine guide, The Baltimore-Washington Wine Advocate.
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