Professional Wine Snob in Booze Junket Payola Scandal
Scandal in the rarefied and ultimately self-satisfied and pointless world of high-end wine reviewing! Jay Miller has stepped down from his job as a wine reviewer for Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, a wine publication which is considered very well-well-well by the la-dee-da set. Miller says his departure has been long-planned. Which is good timing, considering that bribery scandal he's embroiled in now.
The blog Jim's Loire, along with AP reporter Harold Heckle, obtained and published a series of emails from a fixer in Spain, who was offering wineries there the opportunity to buy a two-day wine-tasting visit by Miller for the low, low price of 20,000 Euros. Half his usual price, they said! The initial pitch emails to the wineries read in part:
This is a unique opportunity for vinos de Madrid, seeing as how this DO is not in Parker's plans to be visited in either 2012 or 2013.
Private visits off the set agenda, as this would be, rarely take place, and not for a price below 40,000 euros. The fact that Jay has agreed to stay 2 days more, and for half the usual price, is a miracle and an opportunity that Madrid will find it difficult to have again.
It seems unclear how much Miller knew about this type of offer or profited from it. Still, at minimum, it looks very corrupt! Especially considering the fact that wine criticism is bullshit.