Retailers who quote scores and tasting notes from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate are being warned they have to pay for the privilege.
Shops must obtain a commercial subscription, at $199 per store, in order to borrow quotes from Parker or any of the Wine Advocate’s seven other reviewers, or even to quote the points that wines receive.
Mark Wrigglesworth of The Good Wine Shop in west London has been contacted by the publisher and asked to stop quoting Parker reviews on his website as he does not have a commercial licence to do so.
Wrigglesworth says: “I am somewhat surprised that it is possible to to copyright something that is in the public domain.”
Using the words of wine critics on shelf-talkers and other marketing material is an issue that can create headaches for independents.
Although Matthew Jukes argues that Parker points are in the public domain, he himself charges for the use of material he self-publishes on his website. Martin Isark, who has taken legal action against Majestic and Direct Wines for using his quotes without permission, demands £15,000 for his words to be used in marketing.
Anthony Rose and Victoria Moore, meanwhile, do not charge a fee.
See the February edition of The Wine Merchant for more.
The independent trade grew by 4.8% in 2014 and is now worth more than £500m for the first time.
Early results from The Wine Merchant’s 2015 reader survey value the independent market at £506.2m, up from £483.2m a year ago.
But the figures reveal that, as store numbers have grown, the amount of revenue that independents are achieving per shop has dipped very slightly.
The data applies to UK independent merchants that operate retail premises and have a genuine specialism in wine. It does not include chains such as Oddbins or Wine Rack, general off-licences or convenience stores.
Full details will appear in the March edition of The Wine Merchant, along with other findings from the survey.
The response to The Wine Merchant Top 50 in the past two years has been so enthusiastic, and the quality so high, that this year we’ve decided to double the number of winners. So please say hello to The Wine Merchant Top 100.
The competition is open only to wines exclusive to independents, available from UK stock. All of our judges are independent merchants.
All of this year’s winners will be showcased on our stand at the London Wine Fair and of course featured in a special supplement, mailed out to all readers of The Wine Merchant – in other words, all the specialist independent wine retailers in the UK.
To find out more about the competition, please visit the competition website where you’ll find all the details you need about how to enter, and how the judging works.