Robert Parker SELLS the Wine Advocate…

Without Prejudice

MANY are shocked by the Wall Street Journal reporting that Robert M. Parker, who popularized his now-ubiquitous 100-point rating system and changed the nature of the wine business, is stepping down from his role as editor-in-chief at The Wine Advocate, the vastly influential wine-review publication he started in 1978…I wonder why……
Could it have anything to do with the scandal exposed by my friend Jim Budd?

As Felix Salmon wrote for Reuters:

Nothing about this deal makes any sense, on its face. The new owners are going to start accepting advertising — something which makes sense financially, since those 50,000 subscribers tend to be extremely well-heeled. But at the same time, they’re scrapping the print version of the newsletter, despite the fact that (a) it’s profitable, and (b) they would surely be able to charge much higher rates for print ads than for online ads.

Robert Parker’s reported investor has close ties to fine wine merchant in Singapore…

  • Friday 21 December 2012

Soo Hoo Khoon Peng, the Singapore-based Malaysian businessman reported to have bought Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, still has close ties with the fine wine retailer Hermitage Wine, has learned.

Soo Hoo Khoon Peng

Soo Hoo pictured in Singapore in 2011

Soo Hoo’s wife Josephine Ng Choo Ping is a senior director of Hermitage Wine, the company Soo Hoo founded and has since left. She is also listed as the majority shareholder of the company.

On 13 December reported that Soo Hoo Khoon Peng is the main shareholder in the syndicate that has invested in Wine Advocate.

As of 26 November 2012 Soo Hoo himself is also listed as a majority shareholder of Hermitage Wine, although he has recently left the company.

Ms Ng Choo Ping confirmed to that she ‘is and will continue to be a director of Hermitage Wine.’

Asked if she could comment on any possible conflict of interest between her husband’s holdings in Wine Advocate, and her directorship of Hermitage Wine, she said any such questions would have to be put to Wine Advocate, and declined to comment further.

Their Dec 2012 Wine List includes:







Neither Wine Advocate nor Robert Parker have responded to requests to comment.


Hermitage Wine is a Singapore retailer which also offers wine investments and wine futures, particularly Bordeaux. Its website says ‘Many wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Rhone are sold en primeur’.

It adds, ‘Experienced merchants will make an offer based on their judgment of quality. Prices may change based on factors like demand, supply and Parker ratings.’

In terms of its investment arm, Hermitage says, ‘Wine investing has existed for hundreds of years. Records made over the past 300 years demonstrate that fine wine is one of the most stable, high-yielding, low-risk investments in the world. Wine prices are unaffected by general elections, stock market fluctuations, inflation or changes in interest rates.’

Although callers to Hermitage Wine are informed that Mr Soo Hoo ‘has just left the company’, records with Singapore business authorities, which were seen by on 17 December 2012 list him as the second largest shareholder in Hermitage Wine.

Registered in March 2009, the private limited company was first incorporated in May 2006 as Ermitage Private Limited.

Hermitage Wine has paid up capital of SG$1,489,276 against 1,400,000 shares spread between nine people.

According to official records Soo Hoo has the second largest stake with 533820 ordinary shares. Josephine Ng Choo Ping is the largest shareholder with 547820 shares.

Together – according to the official records – the couple controls 73% of Hermitage Wine. It doe not take a genius to see there may be a potential conflict of interest here..

The plot thickens…

About thetravellinggourmet

As a renowned Travel, Food & Wine Writer he has travelled the world in a keen & indomitable pursuit of exotic delicacies & fine wines. His articles have been published in over 20 prestigious publications, both local & international. Dr. Lim has toured and trained in Wine Evaluation & Oenology in most of the world's top wine producing areas from France to Australia. The Travelling Gourmet says, "Gastronomy has no frontier. These are the gastronomic voyages of The Travelling Gourmet. My unending mission. To explore strange new cuisines, to seek out new wines and new culinary experiences, to boldly go where no gourmet has gone before...." Have pen, will travel. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any other information storage & retrieval system, without permission from Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet and/or MSN. Material may be works of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents may be true but may also be products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance whatsoever to actual person or persons, either dead or living, events, or locales may be entirely and purely coincidental and unintentional. No part of this website may be used to villify others or for criminal purposes. Interests: Travel, Food, Wines, Cooking, Wine Appreciation, Parachuting, Languages, Music, Reading, Swimming, Hunting, Ballet, Fencing, Archery, Anthropology and more... The Travelling Gourmet is a copyrighted trademark. All rights and photos reserved. No part may be reproduced without permission.
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3 Responses to Robert Parker SELLS the Wine Advocate…

  1. Very good website you have here but I was wanting to know if you
    knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed in this
    article? I’d really like to be a part of group where I can get comments from other experienced individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!


  2. idebenone says:

    While Mr. Soo’s company (or ex-company, depending on which account you read], Hermitage Wines, is usually described as a “fine wine retailer,” it’s virtually impossible, especially for a western reporter, to find out much about it. We do know that Hermitage is, or was, the distributor of Francis Ford Coppola’s wines in Singapore. Other than that, the company has an extraordinairly thin presence on the Internet. The online site, , which profiles international exporters, reports no reviews, bank information or anything else on Hermitage. Another site, which lists companies registered in the U.K. [as is Hermitage Wines], was able to find no information, beyond standard incorporation and other dates. Mr. Soo at one time apparently had a Facebook page , but it no longer exists.


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