In the early 1980’s in the United States, the practice of selling wine in the trade was a fairly simple process. You made an appointment (or had a set appointment time) and you took wines into the account, showed them, often tasting them, and then talked about them and tried to get an order. There weren’t a lot of third party endorsements, reviews, sales aids. There were a few writers; Finigan, Balzer, Connoisseurs Guide, a little newspaper coming on called the Wine Spectator, Hugh Johnson, Gerald Asher, Michael Broadbent, and a handful of historical books. But it was pretty slim pickin's. That said, many folks were well read, reasonably educated, fairly open minded. And ready for whatever could help them sell more wine. And then a young lawyer from Maryland came on the scene with his newsletter, aptly named The Wine Advocate. And the race for the high scoring wines began.
The Wine Enthusiast grew; the Wine Spectator grew even larger. But the Wine Advocate, “Parker” was the gold standard. It was a pivotal time. Wine sales were climbing; more people were drinking wine, coming over from “brown goods”. Women loved wine, shopped for it, daily. Oddly, women didn’t flock to a wine because of the score. They loved the story, the label, the name. The points, that was something men loved.
I don’t know what’s in store for him; he is the one in control of his destiny. Unlike Moses, however, I imagine his life, from this point, will follow a course in which he might pursue his desires in a slightly less critical manner. He’s earned it. He’s exposed his body (and his palate) to an onslaught of pleasures that while to the man on the street might seem like the ultimate pleasures, in such large doses can be quite fatiguing. I do not envy Antonio Galloni and his colleagues the task they have in their future.
As for Parker, wherever the road leads him, his career has been a million point march. And his feet, and his tongue, and his body must be ready for a (well deserved) cool down period.