Institute of Masters of Wine investigates Campo

  • Friday 16 December 2011

The Institute of Masters of Wine has instigated a formal investigation into the conduct of Pancho Campo MW and his organisation of tastings in Spain for the Wine Advocate.

Pancho Campo and Jay Miller

Pancho Campo (left) and Jay Miller

In a statement released today, the Institute of Masters of Wine said it was ‘aware of certain claims being made in regard to the alleged conduct of one of its members, Pancho Campo MW.’

It had ‘received a formal complaint into [Campo’s] alleged conduct’, it went on, and ‘has opened an investigation. No conclusions have been reached, investigations will continue, and no further statement will be made until such time as the investigation has concluded.’

Institute spokesman Nathanial Anderson said as the investigation was in progress he could go into no further detail as to its scope, or the nature of the allegations.

He did say however that such investigations were ‘infrequent – there has been a mere handful in the lifetime of the Institute’.

Pancho Campo, whose company the Wine Academy of Spain organises events tastings around the world, most notably the recent WineFuture Hong Kong, has also organised tastings for Jay Miller, the Spanish correspondent for Robert Parker’s the Wine Advocate.

These tastings have been at the centre of a storm of controversy, with bloggers – most notably Decanter writer Jim Budd on his Jim’s Loire blog – alleging that the Wine Academy has effectively been charging Spanish wineries for access to Miller.

Both Miller and Campo vigorously deny any wrongdoing. Miller resigned from the Wine Advocate earlier this month in a move that has been planned for some months, it has been established.

Parker has instigated his own legal investigation into the allegations, as has Campo.

The Institute said it ‘takes alleged breaches of its Code of Conduct very seriously, and investigates all such alleged breaches once a formal complaint is made. In the event that a breach of the Code is proven, a range of sanctions is available to it.’

These sanctions, Anderson said, would be on a sliding scale depending on the severity of the offence, the ultimate being expulsion.

Use of such sanctions in the past is not a matter of public record, he said.

The Institute of Masters of Wine was founded in 1955 and traces its roots back to the Vintners' Company in the 14th century. There are currently 299 Masters of Wine, living in 23 different countries.

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