The first obligation of wine bloggers is to keep an eye on Robert M. Parker Jr. He's the Pope of wine criticism, after all, and if he as much as hiccups some members of the wine-blogging community, not quite interpreting the data correctly, jump up to apply the Heimlich Maneuver. There's quite a bit of that alarmed excitement going on in the blogosphere right now, given word that Parker is selling his influential newsletter, The Wine Advocate, to a group of Singaporeans with no apparent wine experience but plenty of money. (No price for their "substantial" stake in The Wine Advocate has been revealed, but almost surely Parker wouldn't sell controlling interest for less than several million dollars.) Though Parker says he isn't retiring, give him 100 points for astute timing, leveraging his waning influence just as the Asian economy and Asia's interest in wine are accelerating.
The Wall Street Journal broke the story today, but I can't read the article online because I'm not a subscriber. However, plenty of other bloggers have read it and their extensive and incisive interpretations have helped flesh out the story. Eric Asimov, wine columnist for The New York Times, provides the most comprehensive summation of the sale and its significance. (Since Asimov's posting, Parker has tweeted that the print edition of The Wine Advocate will continue, contrary to early reports.)
Over at Reuters, meanwhile, Felix Salmon turns out a bemused interpretation entertaining in part for its excerpts from the Wall Street Journal report. In that story, The Wine Advocate's newly annointed editor, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, is quoted as saying that she will be hiring a correspondent to cover wines made in China, Thailand and other Asian countries. Must be a part-time position.
And at Decanter.com, blogger Adam Lechere weighs in with an assessment that includes the most telling line of all, a partial quote from an anonymous source apparently close to the deal, noting that the sale of The Wine Advocate enhances prospects for the commercialization of the Parker brand, which really is the bottom line in today's Parker news.
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