Pancho Campo and The Wine Academy issued a strong denial and has commenced legal action against parties responsbile for making what Campo calls false claims against him, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, The Wine Academy of Spain, and Jay Miller. In an official statement released Saturday, December 10, Campo was strong in his denials. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the legal system and the court of public opinion as this war of words escalates into a war of legal actions. I sent an Email to Pancho Campo today with questions seeking to clarify a few points. We have not heard back yet.
As promised, I Emailed a series of questions to Pancho Campo to help clarify some issues. Campo was about to hop on a plane to celebrate his anniversary with his wife. He had time to answer one question. I look forward to receiving more answers from Pancho when he returns to Spain.
Jeff Leve: Did you or TWAS ever receive payment from The Wine Advocate for services? Or did you and or TWAS offer your services without charge?
Pancho Campo “Jeff,
I am about to board a plane because tomorrow is our 15th wedding anniversary.
Bob and I had a gentlemen’s agreement for assisting Jay. The Wine Advocate paid for absolutely all the expenses incurred by The Wine Academy in all official trips for assisting Jay Miller. We also took advantage of these trips to record many of the videos for www.madwine.tv“
I will publish all questions and answers as soon as we hear from Pancho Campo.
This is a copy of the official statement issued by Pancho Campo.
THE WINE ACADEMY OF SPAIN CATEGORICALLY DENIES THE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST PANCHO CAMPO AND JAY MILLER
1. Following Winefuture Rioja 2009, Robert Parker informed The Wine Academy of Spain (TWAS) that having witnessed the development of the Spanish wine industry, he had decided to ask Jay Miller to visit Spain several times a year.
2. Robert Parker requested from TWAS to assist Jay Miller in coordinating his trips in areas such as hotel bookings, local transportation, and especially in matters of translation and interpretation.
3. Between May 2010 and November 2011, Jay Miller visited the DOs of Toro, Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Cava, Penedés, Emporda, Priorat, Montsant, Campo de Borja, Jumilla, Yecla, Bullas, Utiel-Requena, Sherry, Castilla La Mancha, Málaga-Sierras de Málaga, Montilla-Moriles, Alicante and Madrid– all with the assistance of TWAS.
4. Before TWAS began collaborating with The Wine Advocate, TWAS made clear to its staff that according to Robert Parker’s rules, wineries could not pay for expenses or fees for visiting them nor for Jay Miller tasting their wines on behanlf od The Wine Advocate.
All the expenses were paid at all times by The Wine Advocate. It was also made clear that Jay Miller was not allowed to accept hospitality at restaurants, souvenirs or gifts.
5. For all the visits conducted in behalf of The Wine Advocate, the following procedures were followed by TWAS:
a. The corresponding Consejo Regulador or local wine governing body was approached in each region in order to coordinate with the wineries for submitting their samples and to help design a comprehensive itinerary of visits.
b. We requested from these institutions to be able to use their venues as the official tasting room.
c. No money or expenses to be covered were asked from these organizations.
a. In early 2011 the Commercial Director for TWAS was approached by the advertising agency TAPSA in behalf of FENAVIN (Spanish National Wine Fair). They were interested in hiring TWAS for organizing and managing a series of events at the mentioned fair. These events included a seminar with Pancho Campo MW, a speech and Q&A with Jay Miller, as well as a master class and guided tasting on the wines of Castilla La Mancha to be conducted by Jay Miller and Pancho Campo MW for an audience of more than 300 attendees.
b. TWAS submitted a programme of events and a quotation for the below mentioned services.
c. TWAS provided the services of four (4) members of its staff to look after the logistics, management of the event, transportation, hotel bookings, translation, transfers, setup, design and printing of materials, communications, video recording and production, meals and per diems.
a. The FENAVIN event was so successful and received so much exposure that several organizations contacted TWAS asking if it could organize a similar format in other parts of the country. During the mentioned wine fair the President of the CRDO Navarra had a meeting with our Commercial Director and with Jay Miller to organize a large event with an identical format coinciding with the festivities of San Fermín in Pamplona.
b. It was made clear to DO Navarra that this was not an official trip for The Wine Advocate and wineries could not and would not be asked for money if their samples were chosen for the guided tasting. c. If Jay Miller wanted to visit any wineries during his visit to Navarra, it would be his prerogative to do so and to choose the wineries to visit. Whichever wineries he decided to visit could not be charged for being visited or for the wines being tasted by Jay Miller during such visit.
a. One of the wineries that provided one of the wines for the master class and tasting at FENAVIN also owns a property in Murcia.
b. In view of the success of the event managed by TWAS the winery in question requested from TWAS to organize something similar in Jumilla. c. Again, our commercial department submitted a proposal, which was accepted by
ASEVIN. ASEVIN is a non-profit association that gathers the wines professionals of Murcia.
d. In the contract signed by ASEVIN it is clearly stated that they could not ask wineries to pay for the event, for wines to be tasted at the master class or for possible visits if Jay Miller decided to include a few winery visits during his trip.
e. Before Jay Miller had agreed to the proposed event and contracts were signed, ASEVIN sent out an email trying to raise the money from the wineries, contrary to the stipulations clearly detailed in the proposed agreement. At that point TWAS put the event on hold until the wineries were informed that they could not be asked for any kind of payment for possible visits and for submitting samples.
a. Also during FENAVIN winemakers from DO Vinos de Madrid got in touch with the staff of TWAS in regards to organizing and managing an event in Madrid identical to the one held at FENAVIN.
b. Our Commercial Director gave them a similar proposal as the one held in FENAVIN and Navarra.
c. The event did not take place because DO Vinos de Madrid could not raise the funds in such a short period of time to afford the expenses of setting up such a large event.
10. TWAS has always informed Jay Miller of the mentioned events and obtained his approval before committing with the interested parties.
11. TWAS was informed by Jay Miller and Robert Parker that The Wine Advocate had no problem for their reviewers, who were independent contrators of The Wine Advocate, being paid for taking part in speaking engagements, seminars and guided tastings unrelatedto their tastings for The Wine Advocate.
12. TWAS has documents signed by all the regions visited and by wineries where it is clearly stated that they were never asked to pay for being visited, for tasting their wines or for submitting samples for master classes or guided tastings.
13. On the last week of October, Jay Miller confirmed to us his intentions of stepping down from his work on behalf of The Wine Advocate, effective January 1, 2012 in order to spend time with a project he has had in mind for some time, which consists in writing a book on the wines of Chile, Argentina and Spain.
14. TWAS would like to thank The Wine Advocate and Jay Miller for giving us the opportunity, during this last year, of collaborating with them and especially for the incredible learning experience that has allowed us to visit some of the most important wine regions in Spain, as well as historical and prestigious wineries. We wish Jay Miller all the best in his new venture and we look forward to collaborating with him in the near future.
15. TWAS has organized numerous events identical to the ones described above, in Spain and in other countries for several wine organizations, without the participation of Jay Miller. In all these events the fee charged for the organization, management and expenses have been approximately the same.
16. TWAS is an organization specialized in marketing and in designing, organizing and managing events. Most of the events we manage are owned by us (Climate Change & Wine Conference, Winefuture or Spanish Wine Experience) but in numerous occasions we are hired by wineries and wine organizations to put together events such as seminars, conferences, congresses, master classes, guided tastings and corporate hospitality events. The company will continue to focus in these areas of business but especially in our expansion into China and South America in 2012.
a. From the above points it is clear that The Wine Academy of Spain never requested from any wineries monies for the visits of Jay Miller or for tasting their wines. All the expenses for Jay Miller to travel to Spanish wine regions to taste and review wines for The Wine Advocate were covered by The Wine Advocate, including his ransportation, accommodation, meals and any other related expenses.
b. The only occasion when fees and expenses have been charged were for the organization, setup and management of events that included seminars, conferences, master classes and guided tastings which were open to the trade, media and the public. None of these fees were ever paid to The Wine Advocate. The fees paid included all the expenses for managing the events, audio-visual equipment, airfares and transportation for 6 people (6), salaries for the staff of TWAS (4), accommodation, per diems, vehicle rentals, video production, printing, PR agency, etc. as well as speakers fees (2).
c. The rules imposed by The Wine Advocate were respected and followed at all times by TWAS. These rules clearly stated that wineries could not be asked to pay for the privilege of visiting their facilities or for tasting their wines. Jay Miller was also not allowed to accept hospitality, gifts or souvenirs when visiting regions in behalf of The Wine Advocate.
d. All the mentioned points detailed above are supported by contracts and documents dully signed and stamped by the corresponding wine organizations. These documents clearly demonstrate that the accusations against our company are unfounded and false. Copies of these documents are available through our attorney for their review.
e. TWAS and its President Francisco Campo will start all the legal actions contemplated in the Law in order to obtain from the corresponding Tribunals and Courts of Law the necessary measures against persons and publications having published information potentially damaging the reputation and the honour of its company and management. These legal actions will also seek redress pertaining to the harassment of which our collaborators and family have been subject to.
f. The official attorney designated to represent our interest and to act in our behalf in a court of law is Mr. Luis del Castillo Aragón, member of the “Ilustrísimo Colegio de Abogados de Barcelona” (Barcelona Bar) Mr. Del Castillo.
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