Robert Parker Not Commercializing his Name Signature or Wine Advocate


Due to a post from Lisa Perrotti Brown on the website for Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate on June 5, we are setting the record straight on the recent reporting of the potential commercialization on Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate and the now infamous, signed Robert Parker Signature sets of 100 Point wines. When you are wrong, you are wrong. Being wrong is never a problem. Not admitting you were wrong is an issue. We, like numerous wine websites were under the impression that Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate had entered into their first commercial transaction with the creation and selling of the supposedly signed and numbered Robert Parker Signature Selection set. We were wrong. There is no packing that is going to be used with the approval of Robert Parker of The Wine Advocate bearing his signature or the company logo.

How do we know this? isa Perrotti Brown of The Wine Advocate clearly and unambiguously wrote the following post on the website of The Wine Advocate, “We spoke with Bordeaux Vins Selection last night to confirm that Robert Parker’s signature was not to be used in their packaging, in the format of our logo or otherwise. We continue to maintain our strict policy of not profiting from the sale of wine. Endorsing wines for profit is in direct conflict with the policy we have maintained for more than 34 years. We have no plans to change this policy.”

That should set the record straight. Right? However I doubt that is the case. Fans and subscribers of Robert Parker will be happy to learn that there was no, new commercialization of The Wine Advocate. Detractors will look for evidence to find fault in every step Robert Parker takes. They will relentlessly pour over the text of the Lisa Perrotti Brown post seeking loopholes to justify their position. This is hardly news to anyone following any of the popular wine sites on the Internet. That has been taking place for close to a decade now.

The post from Lisa Perrotii Brown went on to offer more detailed clarification on the matter. According to Lisa Perrotti Brown, no profit is made from the selection of wines that will be offered from the negociant, Bordeaux Vins Selection. There is no usage of the signature or logo allowed on this or on any other special packaging. Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate did not grant permission for the use of Robert Parker’s signature or the company logo which includes his signature. Bordeaux Vins Selection will not be using the signature at all on the boxed set. As for the free subscriptions that are to be awarded to purchasers of the boxed set, they are no different than the gift subscriptions that can be openly purchased by anyone on the website. The subscriptions that will be included in the box set will come in a fancy card format that makes for a more presentable, tangible gift. Any retailer can bundle these gift cards in with wine gift boxes.

After Robert Parker sold The Wine Advocate to a team of investors, a new program was recently announced for granting commercial subscriptions. These commercial subscriptions provide a commercial license to reproduce notes and scores from Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate. The purpose of the commercial subscriptions, according to Lisa Perrotti Brown is to help provide clarity in this matter and allow for better managing how and under what circumstances the tasting notes of Robert Parker and The Wine Advocate can be used.

This particular situation regarding The Robert Parker Signature box sets developed after Bordeaux Vins Selection purchased a commercial license from The Wine Advocate. The commercial license allows within the terms of the agreement for Bordeaux Vins Selection to put together their own selection of wines rated by Robert Parker. This was not an exclusive deal with Bordeaux Vins Selection. Other merchants purchasing a commercial license are also granted the right to create their own selections of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate rated wines. In the past, other merchants have created and sold similar offerings. The commercial license now provides clarity on how this can be done.

According to The Wine Advocate, regarding the Bordeaux Vins Selection created package; neither Robert Parker nor the TWA team had any part in the selection of wines. Furthermore, The Wine Advocate and Robert Parker are neither endorsing the product, or profiting from the packaging or sales of the Bordeaux Vins Selection package, nor of any other repackaging that might take place in the future.

Is this issue now clear to everyone? It should be. But I doubt it. While countless websites were hot to write about the change of direction and potential conflict of interest at The Wine Advocate, very few of those writers, websites and posters will even consider, let alone write that with this particular matter, the initial news got the story wrong.


  1. Chris Wallace on

    Good for you Jeff for promptly admitting your error and setting the record straight. Good article and your prophecy of what his detractors are likely to do is (sadly) probably correct. It has always surprised me how a guy who writes tasting notes for a living could attract such vitriol, regardless of how strongly one might disagree with his reviews.

    • Thanks for the nice note Chris. We all make mistakes. That cannot be helped. But I am always amazed how few people own up, say they blew it and move forward. Far too many people take the easy way out, skip it and wait for the next news cycle.

      While the critics of Robert Parker will not agree, most of their criticism is inspired by jealousy, because their voice is never going to be at the same level of influence as Parker.

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