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Wine Advocate appoints British editor-in-chief

Published:  08 April, 2024

Wine Advocate, the bimonthly wine publication founded by Robert Parker in 1978 has appointed a non-American editor-in-chief for the first time in its history.

London-born William Kelley (pictured) will head up the publication replacing Joe Czerwinski who will continue to review wines from Napa, New York state and Canada for the magazine.

Oxford University graduate Kelley will continue to review the wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne for the Advocate, as he did as the publication’s deputy editor.

Under the stewardship of the late Hugo Dunn-Meynell, Kelley gained valuable experience as a taster on many of the great Clarets and Burgundies of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s. Whilst attending Oxford, he served as the president of the Oxford University Wine Circle for four years.

Kelley’s appointment could shift coverage from California to Bordeaux, despite the Advocate’s 80% American readership. A greater French influence would also make sense given the Advocate’s recent acquisition by the Michelin Guide in 2019. However, Keeley resides in the US and has several California vintages as a winemaker. 

Parker and the Wine Advocate first gained international attention for predicting the quality of the 1982 vintage of Bordeaux wine. Parker’s endorsement caused a spike in interest from American wine buyers before its release to the public.

While not the first American wine publication, nor the first to use a numerical wine ratings scale, the Advocate was the first to widely adopt the 50-100 point scale. The influence of the Advocate and its rating system has been met with criticism in the past, with wineries accused of tailoring wines to the publication’s tastes. In the late 1980s, Jancis Robinson MW noted that Parker and The Wine Advocate were, “in danger of controlling the international fine wine market”, in her Oxford Companion to Wine, Third Edition.