The Wine Advocate Suing Departing Critic Antonio Galloni

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Galloni Photo: William Malloy via AntonioGalloni.com

Those keeping up with the wine world gossip may recall that Robert Parker protégé Antonio Galloni broke out on his own last month and announced he was starting his own web-based wine review publication, AntonioGalloni.com, aimed at younger wine consumers. Now Parker's highly influential, 30-year-old The Wine Advocate, where Galloni was employed for seven years, is suing Galloni for breach of contract, among other things.

The suit alleges that Galloni withheld reviews of Sonoma wines that he wrote while still employed by The Wine Advocate, and that he intentionally did so in order to cause the bimonthly magazine to lose subscribers. Digital wine coverage is probably also responsible for the Advocate's decline in subscribers, but the suit goes on to accuse Galloni of stealing the magazine's "proprietary 50-to-100-point grading scale" to use in his own venture, even though such scales are not proprietary at all.

Also, they say he defamed The Wine Advocate in the Feburary New York Times interview in which he announced the new venture, when he claimed "for me to guarantee the highest level of independence and quality was to run my own business." They're hurt, apparently, that he implied that they did not possess such independence and quality, and this relates to murmurs that Parker sold out to a major Singapore wine firm.

Maybe the most shocking revelation in the filing, actually, is that Galloni was making $300,000 to taste wine, but we digress.

While Parker himself is not a named party in the suit, he has already commented on it as if he was, and we all know he's largely behind it. "This is not an attempt to stop Antonio from moving on," Parker insists. "We continue to wish him our very best." Ha!

You can read the whole lawsuit here, but suffice it to say, old Parker is not a man you want to mess with.

Robert Parker vs. Antonio Galloni [NYT]
The Wine Advocate sues Antonio Galloni [Inside Scoop SF/SF Gate]
Earlier: Robert Parker Protégé Antonio Galloni Leaves The Wine Advocate to Launch New Web Venture