US wine critic Robert Parker fined over row with ex-colleague
Influential US wine critic Robert Parker was fined by a French court Friday for making false accusations against a former colleague
PARIS, March 26, 2008 (AFP) - Influential US wine critic Robert Parker was
fined by a French court Friday for making false accusations against a former
colleague who picked him apart in a recent book.
Parker is known as the "pope of the vineyards" for his ability to make or
break a vintage's sales potential, and his feared wine scores have influenced
Bordeaux sales for more than two decades.
But in a 2007 book entitled "Anatomie d'un mythe" (Anatomy of a Myth) --
which Parker tried to have blocked from publication -- his former assistant
Hanna Agostini accused him of a catalogue of errors and cronyism.
Parker responded with a counter-campaign, writing on his website that
Agostini faced five years in jail and a fine of one million euros (1.54
million dollars) for wine-related fraud.
Agostini's lawyer said his client was placed under investigation in 2005
for falsifying documents -- but not for fraud -- in connection with a case in
which top French vintages were mixed up with table wines.
Parker was found guilty of violating the presumption of innocence against
Agostini, and fined 2,000 euros.