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About Robert Parker

Photo of ParkerRobert M. Parker, Jr. was born in Baltimore, Maryland, on July 23, 1947. An honors graduate of the University of Maryland, with a major in History, and a minor in Art History, he attended the University of Maryland Law School, graduating in 1973. For ten and one half years he was an Attorney, a Senior Attorney, and later an Assistant General Counsel for the Farm Credit Banks of Baltimore. On March 9, 1984 he resigned his position as Assistant General Counsel to devote full attention to wine writing.

His interest in wine began in 1967, when he spent a month abroad during his Christmas vacation, visiting a girlfriend (who is now his wife of 30 years) at the University of Strasbourg in Alsace, France.

By 1975, he began to think about writing about wine and commencing his own "independent, consumer's guide," largely because of the paucity of reliable information on wine quality. Friends and family advised that his career in law should be given top priority, and that wine writing was a romantic, unprofitable profession.

About the Wine Advocate Nevertheless, by 1978, the concept of a wine publication was formulated. The first issue of The Wine Advocate, a complimentary issue, was sent out to mailing lists purchased from several major wine retailers. The initial number of charter subscribers in August, 1978, was less than 600.

Twenty years later, The Wine Advocate has over 40,000 subscribers, in every state in the United States, and in over 37 foreign countries. Today, virtually every knowledgeable observer agree that The Wine Advocate exerts the most significant influence on the serious wine consumer's buying habits and trends not only in America, but in France, England, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, and China. Additionally, The Wine Advocate is translated into the French language. In addition to doing the writing and tasting for The Wine Advocate, which is published bi-monthly in Parkton, Maryland, Mr. Parker has been a contributing editor for Food and Wine Magazine. He has also writen periodically for the English magazine, The Field and has been the wine critic for France's L'Express magazine, the first time a non-Frenchman has held this position.

Parker's Bordeaux Book In November, 1985 his first book Bordeaux was published by Simon and Schuster. Bordeaux went into six printings, was a selection of the Book of the Month Club, and received international critical acclaim. An English edition of Bordeaux was published by the London firm of Dorling, Kindersely, Ltd. It won the prestigious Glenfiddich Award as England's top wine book of 1986. The Paris-based firm of Solar published Bordeaux in France in 1989, where the book promptly was reprinted three times. Moreover, France's Book of the Month Club, the largest in the world, made Bordeaux its "selection of the month" in January, 1991. Foreign language editions of Bordeaux have been published in Japan, Germany, and Sweden.

You can click on the illustration of Bordeaux, above right, and purchase the 1998 edition online through our wine bookstore. You can also click on any of Parker's other books -- illustrated below -- and purchase them or a selection of other wine related books.

In 1987, Simon and Schuster published two more wine books by Mr. Parker, Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide and The Wines of the Rh'ne Valley and Provence. The latter book won the Tastemaker's Award in 1989 as the top wine book of the year published in America and The Wine Guild's Wine Book of the Year Award in The United Kingdom.

Parker's Burgundy Book In April, 1989, his second Wine Buyer's Guide was published, and his fifth book, Burgundy, was published in 1990. Burgundy was also published in both France and England in 1991. In the fall of 1991, a revised and greatly expanded edition of Bordeaux was published. It has appeared in Japanese, German, and French editions. In 1992, it was the winner of the IACP Award (International Association of Cooking Professionals) as the top wine book of the year. Also in 1992, Maryland's Loyola College recognized Mr. Parker as the "Marylander of the Year."

In 1993, the third edition of Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide was published. The German language edition of Bordeaux won that country's top prize for books on wine and gastronomy, the "Goldene Feder." In France, the 1994 French language edition of Bordeaux spent three months on France's "Best Seller" list. In 1997/1998 Le Guide Parker (the French language edition of his buyer's guide) spent 27 weeks on France's top ten list of books.

Quotes About Robert Parker Robert Parker has been profiled in such major magazines as Time, Newsweek, People, Money, The Traveler, Changing Times, Esquire, GQ, and Business Week, Smart Money, The Robb Report, and in such notable newspapers as USA Today, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, The London Sunday Times, The Sunday Telegraphe, The Independent, Le Journal de Dimanche, and L'Express. His writing philosophy has remained simple: to provide meaningful, comprehensive, independent, accurate, critical commentaries and opinions on fine wines and fine wine values.

In 1993, Parker received the Wine and Vine Communication Award from Moet-Hennessey for his French language editions of Bordeaux and Burgundy. In 1995, Parker was made the third honorary citizen of the Rhone Valley's most important wine village, Chateauneuf du Pape, the other two recipients of this honor being Frederic Mistral and Marcel Pagnol.

Parker's Rhone Book In 1995, Parker published the fourth edition of Parker's Wine Buyer's Guide, a book that received huge commericial and critical success. It was republished in England and France, where it is called The Guide Parker. In 1997, his ninth book, The Wines of the Rhone Valley, was publised in both English and French. In 1998, his tenth book, the 3rd edition of Bordeaux, was published in Germany, England, France, Japan and, of course, the United States. In May, 1998, Robert Parker was awarded top honors by the James Beard Foundation (which awards the highest honors to food and beverage professionals) for the Wine and Spirits Professional of 1997.

On March 29, 1999, President Jacques Chirac signed a decree authorizing Robert M. Parker, Jr. to be a Chevalier dans l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur. He was decorated directly by President Jacques Chirac at a ceremony at the Elysee Palace on June 22, 1999. President Chirac, in bestowing France's highest honor, stated that "Robert Parker is the most followed and influential critic of French wines in the world, something I (President Chirac) witnessed recently when choosing wine for President Clinton, who automatically referred to Robert Parker as his reference for making a proper wine buying decision." In 1993, the late President Francois Mitterand made Robert Parker a Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Merite. The Legion of Honor was created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802 to honor the highest level of achievement to France. Robert Parker is one of only a handful of foreigners to have received France's two highest Presidential honors.

Robert M. Parker, Jr, who, in February, 1999, was profiled in a two-part front page article in the Los Angeles Times by their Pulitzer Prize winning media critic, David Shaw, has written eleven books on wine that have been best sellers not only in the United States, but also in their translated versions in France, Japan, Germany, Sweden and Russia. He is also author of the independent consumer's guide to fine wine, The Wine Advocate, which he has written and published for over two decades. In the Los Angeles Times, David Shaw called Parker "a fierce champion of the wine consumer," "the most powerful critic of any kind, any where," "and "a sensualist, passionate lover of wine, who is largely responsible for the vastly improved quality of wines made throughout the western world and for the exponential growth in interest, knowledge and sophistication of those who drink wine."

Robert Parker lives in the countryside of northern Maryland with his wife of 30 years, Patricia, his daughter, Maia, and various basset hounds and English bulldogs.

Robert Parker's famous full color Wine Advocate Vintage Chart is available free of charge to visitors to our web site. The chart is a large table and is best viewed from your browser in 800 x 600 pixel screen resolution or above.

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