Let Robert Parker into the Vintners Hall of Fame

Enough is enough. Stop being petty. It ?s time, after two previous failures, to do the right thing and elect Robert Parker to the Vintners Hall of Fame.

My colleagues in the wine writing business have decided that Parker, the critic who popularized the 100-point scoring system and has been the most important person in the wine world for the past two decades, isn ?t worthy. The voters snubbed Parker in 2009 and 2010, and he wasn ?t even on the ballot last year to give the controversy a chance to cool off.

There is no reason why Parker shouldn ?t be in. We ?re told we should vote for someone who made "the greatest contributions to the California wine industry in any area of achievement." I ?ve got news for them. That ?s Parker, no matter how jealous they are of his success or how envious they are of his prestige and popularity. If I ?m writing this, and I think the 100-point system is dumb, then the rest of the other 216 writers (and current hall members) who have a ballot have no reason not to vote for Parker. More, after the jump:


In this, wine writers are too much like baseball writers. Babe Ruth, perhaps the greatest player in baseball history, was not a unanimous selection to that Hall of Fame. Five percent of the writers who voted against the Babe did so out of spite ? because they thought he drank too much or hit too many home runs or because he annoyed them during an interview.

The rest of the this year ?s ballot, for the 2013 Hall of Fame class, is much less controversial (especially since the notorious Fred Franzia was not nominated this year). There are 15 candidates, including winemaker Merry Edwards, pioneering wine writer Frank Schoonmaker, and restaurateur Narsai David. I voted for Parker, Edwards (her work with self-distribution was ground breaking), Schoonmaker, and farm labor organizer Caesar Chavez.

Will Parker get in? I hope so, but I ?m not optimistic. Most of the people who get ballots don't vote, and W. Blake Gray, who runs the voting, says he has seen people who don't return their ballot complain about who gets in. Which is something I ?ve learned about wine writers. When they ?re right — and they always are ? they see no reason to ever change their mind.

More about Robert Parker and the Vintners Hall of Fame:
? 2011 Vintners Hall of Fame ballot, and the next big wine controversy
? Robert Parker and the Vintners Hall of Fame 2011
? Robert Parker and the Vintners Hall of Fame 2010

3 thoughts on “Let Robert Parker into the Vintners Hall of Fame

  • By Alfonso -

    Joe Heitz, too!

  • By James Gunter -

    And the California folks claim the French are elitist?

  • By W. Blake Gray -

    Alfonso: Joe Heitz was inducted in February. Very deserving inductee. Of course there are still many more deserving nominees who haven’t been inducted yet. But we’re working on it.

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