In a move that stunned oenophiles around the world, wine critic Robert Parker announced that he was stepping down as editor-in-chief of The Wine Advocate, and selling the magazine he founded to a “shadowy group of investors” in Singapore, as Reuters put it.
Parker, who began Wine Advocate in 1975 and grew it into one of, if not the most influential voices in the wine industry, will turn editorial control over to Lisa Perrotti-Brown, the Singapore-based Asia correspondent for The Wine Advocate. In addition, the magazine will now move its operational base to Singapore and start focusing on Asian wines.
Though the Wall Street Journal broke the story (subscription required), most observers are wondering what’s going on, particularly given some of its new operational moves. As Felix Salmon wrote for Reuters:
Nothing about this deal makes any sense, on its face. The new owners are going to start accepting advertising — something which makes sense financially, since those 50,000 subscribers tend to be extremely well-heeled. But at the same time, they’re scrapping the print version of the newsletter, despite the fact that (a) it’s profitable, and (b) they would surely be able to charge much higher rates for print ads than for online ads.
We are not sophisticated oenophiles, but might we suggest that Parker believes China will become a global superpower and is taking preemptive steps to expand his audience?
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