Parker, whose retirement was announced by The Wine Advocate editor-in-chief Lisa Perotti-Brown on the publication’s website, has been gradually reducing his tasting and writing duties for the past few years.
‘It is with mixed feelings that I announce that Robert M Parker Jr will, as of today, be formally hanging up his wine criticism boots and retiring from Robert Parker Wine Advocate,’ said Perotti-Brown.
‘His contribution to significantly raising the bar of critical, unbiased wine writing and wine quality cannot be overestimated. His unrivalled tasting experience and expert, straight-talking opinions will be sorely missed by consumers and trade alike.’
Parker added: ‘As I retire from The Wine Advocate, I have the honour of passing the baton to our wonderful team.
‘The time has come for myself to relinquish all editorial and board responsibilities with immediate effect.
‘I raise my glass to all of you for being part of this journey and hope all will continue to share the enthusiasm for discovering wines with our dedicated reviewers.’
Parker’s retirement comes two years after he handed over the reviewing of all wines for The Wine Advocate to its 10-strong team, although he had been slowly cutting back on his involvement in recent years.
In December 2012, Parker sold his controlling stake in The Wine Advocate to Asian investors, with Perotti-Brown replacing him as editor-in-chief. French tyre manufacturer and restaurant guide publisher Michelin acquired a 40% stake in the business in 2017.
In February 2015, Parker passed on the reviewing of Bordeaux en primeur to Neal Martin, with Martin taking on in-bottle Bordeaux tasting duties a year later. By this point, Parker had already stepped back from reviewing Burgundy and California wines.
Parker fell in love with wine when he visited Alsace in 1967 – his future wife Patricia was studying in the region – but continued his legal studies, graduating and taking a job as a lawyer in Baltimore in 1973.
In 1978, he began publishing The Baltimore-Washington Wine Advocate, which was renamed The Wine Advocate a year later.
Parker made his name on the back of the 1982 Bordeaux vintage, which some at the time thought was an overripe year. Parker’s host of hugely positive en primeur reviews used the 100-point scale.
Thanks to his growing reputation and subscriber base, Parker was able to quit his legal career in 1984 and focus on wine full-time. The Wine Advocate now has subscribers in more than 40 countries all over the world.