Robert Parker Jnr.
Robert Parker Junior remains the world’s most influential wine critic and dubbed the emperor of wine. During his tenure he became the world’s most trusted authority in wine, a status held for over 30 years. In 1975, Parker began writing a wine guidebook. Taking his cue from consumer advocate Ralph Nader, Parker wanted to write about wine without the conflicts of interest that might taint the opinions of other critics who also make a living selling wine. In 1978, he published a direct-mail newsletter called The Baltimore-Washington Wine Advocate, which was later renamed The Wine Advocate.
Parker received worldwide attention when he called the 1982 vintage in Bordeaux superb, contrary to the opinions of many other critics, such as San Francisco critic Robert Finigan, who felt it was too low-acid and ripe.
One of the most influential features of Parker’s wine criticism is his 100-point rating system, which he popularized in conjunction with his friend Victor Morgenroth. The scale, now widely imitated in other publications (such as Wine Spectator), ranks wine on a scale from 50 to 100 points based upon the wine’s colour, appearance, aroma, bouquet, flavour, finish, and overall quality level or potential. Therefore, 51 rather than 100 different ratings are possible.
Parker’s retirement came two years after he handed over the reviewing of all wines for The Wine Advocate to its 10-strong team, although he had been slowly cutting back on his involvement in recent years. In December 2012, Parker sold his controlling stake in The Wine Advocate to Asian investors.
Jancis Robinson is a British wine writer and critic who rose to fame in the mid-1980s after becoming the first MW (Master of Wine) from outside the wine trade. She is now one of the most influential commentators in the business. She also writes a weekly column for the Financial Times as well as running her own website, JancisRobinson.com.
Robinson co-authored the World Atlas of Wine with Hugh Johnson and is the editor of the Oxford Companion to Wine. She is also widely viewed as a world authority on ampelography and has published extensively on the topic.
In 2003, she was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and has been appointed as an advisor of the royal wine cellar. She also provides advice for the wine cellar of Queen Elizabeth II. She has an honorary doctorate from the Open University and among the numerous other awards for her writing. Her accolades include multiple Glenfiddich Awards and André Simon Memorial Awards, and a selection as the Decanter “1999 Woman of the Year”. In 2016, she was made an Officier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole, was given the German VDP association’s highest honour and won for fourth James Beard Award in the US.
In 2012, Allen Lane (Penguin) in the UK and Ecco in the US published a 1,200-page book, Wine Grapes, co-authored by Robinson with Julia Harding MW and Jose Vouillamoz, which won every major wine book award. The book provides comprehensive details on 1,368 vine varieties and won six major wine book awards.
Antonio Galloni is an American wine critic and founder and CEO of Vinous – for which he is also the lead critic covering the wines of Bordeaux, California, Italy, and Champagne. From 2006 to 2013 Galloni was a tasting staff member of Robert Parker’s publication The Wine Advocate. In May 2013, Galloni founded Vinous.
Galloni turned down an offer to write for Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate to work for a brief stint at Deutsche Bank in New York City. In 2006, he accepted Parker’s offer to join The Wine Advocate as a reviewer of Italian wine, and became a contributor to Parker’s Wine Buyer’s Guide. In January 2011, as Parker restructured the coverage of his staff of reviewers and announced he would no longer review California wine, Galloni’s area of coverage was expanded to include California, Champagne, Chablis and the Côte d’Or.
In 2013 Antonio left TWA to start Vinous. At the time of his departure, Galloni was the lead critic at The Wine Advocate, and had authored one-third of the reviews published by TWA in 2012. Galloni also ran the world’s most followed bulletin board on Italian wines and spearheaded TWA’s production of video content. He developed tailored public events & seminars such as the highly anticipated “La Festa del Barolo,” vertical tastings focused on the benchmark wines of Italy, and numerous charity dinners.
Suckling is internationally regarded as one of the world’s most influential wine critics, and one of the most experienced critics of vintage cigars. In 1981 when James Suckling responded to an ad in the Los Angeles Times where the fledgling American magazine Wine Spectator was looking for an assistant editor. He was hired, and four years later, Suckling moved to Paris to establish The Wine Spectator’s European Bureau in the role of Chief.
In total, Suckling spent nearly 30 years as Senior Editor and European Bureau Chief of The Wine Spectator, and as European Editor of Cigar Aficionado. Shortly after in late 2010, Suckling launched JamesSuckling.com, a site that evolved from his belief that wine needed to be communicated in a more modern way. The core of the site is made of James’ tasting notes, as well as rating everything with the 100-point scale with his team of critics.
In 2017, James received a knighthood from the Italian government – Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia – for his decades-long coverage of Italian Wines. He was granted in January 2018 an honorary citizenship from the town of Montalcino for his almost four decades of writing about and rating Brunello di Montalcino.
Jeannie Cho Lee MW
Jeannie Cho Lee is the first ethnically Asian Master of Wine (MW), a title she received in 2008. She is also an award-winning author, television host, editor, wine critic, judge and educator.
Lee was born in Seoul, Korea and shortly thereafter moved to the United States where she later received her undergraduate degree from Smith College and a Masters in public policy from Harvard University. Since 1994, Lee has been based in Hong Kong, writing for publications such as Asia Inc.; Far Eastern Economic Review; and The Asset. Eventually, she became a contributor to international wine publications such as Wine Spectator; The World of Fine Wine; Wine and Dine; Wine Business International; and La Revue du vin de France. In November 2010 she joined Decanter as a contributing editor for Asia. She is also the Co-Chair of Decanter Asia Wine Awards.
Lee is also the creator and designer of the Jeannie Cho Lee Signature Wine Glass Collection, which she launched in 2014 at the Vinexpo. The collection includes five unique shapes handmade in Italy and a set of machine-made versions distributed worldwide by Spiegelau. Later that year, she co-hosted the wine program ‘In Vino Veritas’, which aired on the Hong Kong broadcasting network channel TVB Pearl from October to December.
Lee was selected as one of the top 100 most influential people in Hong Kong by the South China Morning Post and Debrett’s in November 2015. She was named the 25th most powerful person in wine by Decanter magazine (UK) and was listed among the top 60 most influential people in wine by La Revue du Vin (France) in 2015.
After graduation, Martin worked for Lloyd’s of London for two years before relocating to Tokyo in 1994 to work as an English teacher. In 1996, he accepted a position within a Japanese export company working with wine.
When Martin found himself procuring such high-ticket wines as Latour and Petrus without knowing much about them, he enrolled in a WSET wine certification course. Four years later, he passed the WSET Level 4 Diploma in Wines and Spirits; had travelled regularly to European wine regions; and visited nearly all the major chateaux in Bordeaux several times – all the time recording tasting notes.
In June 2003, he began writing an independent website (wine-journal.com) that quickly acquired over 100,000 readers. In 2006, he was approached by Robert Parker to join The Wine Advocate as a reviewer. In 2012, after three years of research, he published his first book Pomerol. Comprising three main parts and totalling nearly 600 pages: one part deals with the history of the commune; another contains winery profiles organized alphabetically; and the final part considers every Pomerol cru ever made. Martin decided to self-publish the book because, in his words, “I’m stubborn and didn’t want to compromise – I felt there were parts an editor would take out.” Martin serves as an international wine judge in countries including the UK, South Africa, Japan, France, and Australia. He is also Panel Chair at the International Wine Challenge.
On 20 November 2017, it was announced that Martin would be leaving The Wine Advocate to join Vinous as Senior Editor
Stephen Tanzer is an American wine critic and editor at Vinous. From 1985 until he joined Vinous in 2014, Tanzer was the publisher of the critically acclaimed independent journal International Wine Cellar. The bimonthly journal was read by wine professionals and other wine lovers in the U.S.A and 34 other countries. It was the first American wine periodical to be translated into French and Japanese. Tanzer has particular expertise on the wines of Bordeaux, as well as other prominent wine regions, including Burgundy, California, Washington State, and South Africa.
Tanzer has written wine columns for Food & Wine Magazine and Forbes. Among his books are The WineAccess Buyer’s Guide and Food and Wine Magazine’s Official Wine Guide.
Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, which employed a modern wine rating system on a 70-100 point quality scale, was considered in direct competition with Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. Tanzer still uses this scale in his ratings and reviews with Vinous.
Tim Atkin MW
Atkin writes for a number of publications, including: a monthly column in Woman and Home, the Wine List Inspector for The Economist’s Intelligent Life, and Wine Editor at Large at Off Licence News. He also regularly contributes to: The World of Fine Wines, Imbibe, and Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine. On television, he appears regularly on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen as one of the programme’s wine experts. In September 2012, Atkin appeared on a BBC One Inside Out programme about the English wine industry. On radio, he does interviews on Radio 4’s Today Programme and Eddie Mair’s PM show, among others.
Atkin judges several international wine competitions: he is a co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge and chairman of the New Wave Spain Awards, the South African Top 100 and the Vins de Pays Top 100. He speaks and teaches at wine conferences, wine associations, consumer, corporate and charity events.
Atkin is one of the Three Wine Men (together with Olly Smith and Oz Clarke), which holds events around the UK to bring wine consumers together with wine and food retailers and producers. Atkin’s have been published in The Guardian, The Telegraph and The World of Fine Wines and exhibited in Beirut, Gigondas and London.
Previously, Atkin published a column in The Observer, Observer Food Monthly. His interviews were published in The Guardian and The Observer (such as this account of the wine interests of David Ginola and his interview with Gérard Depardieu).