Robert M. Parker Stepping Down From Wine Advocate, Dropping Print

The Wall Street Journal reports that the wine critic has some big plans for his 34-year-old newsletter

Wine review stalwart Robert M. Parker is reportedly stepping down as editor in chief from Wine Advocate, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Editorial content will be managed by Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the newsletter's Singapore-based correspondent. "The Asian market has come of age in the last decade or so, and it would be unrealistic not to expect to be part of it," Parker told WSJ.

Furthermore, the publication, which has not had advertising for its 34 years, will now be accepting non-wine-related advertisements; the print version of the newsletter will be phased out, and the reviews will be presented in an online format.

According to Parker, a "substantial interest" of Wine Advocate will be sold to a trio of Singapore investors; those investors also plan to create a Southeast Asian version of Wine Advocate for corporate clients like airlines and hotels; Perrotti-Brown plans to hire a China-based correspondent to cover wines produced in China, Thailand, and other Asian countries.

Currently, subscribers pay $75 for six issues a year; no word on how the brand will manage the online market, or how Wine Advocate correspondent contracts will change.

Update: Parker has taken to Twitter to clarify a few things. First, he says the change "will bring great things to subscribers like: a pdf :), virtual tastings, icon wine program, wine education seminars," while carifying that Wine Advocate headquarters will remain in Monkton, Md., with a second office in Singapore, and also saying there are "no plans to eliminate the print edition... focus pdf first and improvements."

Meanwhile, Parker will still have a role in Wine Advocate, with Perrotti-Brown taking over daily editing duties as Parker focuses on "Bordeaux, Rhone, retros of CA & the big picture."

As for advertisements, Parker says advertisements will only be considered for the Web.

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