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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Subscribe to The Wine Advocate
New | Overview | Products | Downloads | Robert Parker
Wine Price File | Wine Technologies | Order Now | Links