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Delhi Wine Club
Campo Returns Coveted MW Badge

Posted: Saturday, 05 May 2012 10:29

Campo Returns Coveted MW Badge

May 05 : Pancho Campo, the first Master of Wine from Spain has resigned from the Institute of Masters of Wine, thus forfeiting the right to ever use the coveted MW label, at the culmination of the controversy that bogged him down since late last year, reports Subhash Arora from Guimaraes in Portugal where he met a big Spanish contingent of journalists who confirmed the news.

The news was apparently flashed on Thursday afternoon by the UK-based Twitter addict Tim Atkin MW whose tweet was caught instantly by one of the journalists from Spain. Quick to tweet back, the news spread like a virus in Spain where Pancho has seen a polarized audience since last year after the controversy regarding Jay Miller tasting on behalf of Robert Parker at the behest of Pancho Campo charging various wineries and Consortia huge moneys for the service, a practice abhorred by the Institute of Masters of Wine and considered unethical several Spanish and other fellow journalists.

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) was obliged to launch an investigation last December for a possible breach of its code of conduct. The investigators were reportedly of the view that what Campo did might not be illegal but certainly unethical.  The report, according to the Spanish journalists was a 500-page compendium that censured Campo and recommended suspension as the minimum first step. The appeals and counter-appeals might have gone on for a long time resulting in some bad publicity for the IMW as well.

John Salvi MW, a very senior Master of Wine, also a regular contributor to delWine, who is in Guimarāes as one of the judges for the ongoing Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, confirmed the news. Fully in the picture about what was transpiring at the Institute enquiry, he added that the decision seems to have been taken amicably whereby Mr. Campo has been allowed an honourable exit. He added that Campo had cited his desire to enter the business of sports and music events, which he handled earlier and had ‘decided to retire as a member of IMW, which has accepted it by wishing him good luck in his new venture. He also confirmed that during the history of IMW, this was the first case an MW had retired-ore resigned from the Institute. Only on one occasion, late Michael Pease had been expelled due to financial irregularities and the late James Ivery MW had been suspended for a very short period.

Pancho became the first Master of Wine from Spain in 2008. His detractors always maintained that since he was a Chilean who was naturalized as a Spanish citizen, he should not have been considered  an MW from Spain. He also loves to flirt with other controversies. About three years ago, a warrant of arrest had been reportedly issued by Interpol involving a dispute with his ex-partner in Dubai in an event management company- an accusation he had hotly contested even as IMW had reportedly heard the murmurs and considered taking an adverse action that would have been premature since he was able to get it cancelled later on.

Campo or the Wine Academy of Spain has made no official comment so far. In the past, he had used Facebook to make official statements, attempt to locate him on the Facebook failed as he seems to have removed his name from this social media and perhaps the other media.

To his credit, Campo had organized several international events including the two WineFutures international conferences in Rioja in 2009 and Hong Kong in November 2011 where he had been able to bring in dozens of wine luminaries including Robert Parker and Jancis Robinson MW who made an envious statement in public saying she could not help wondering how he managed to bring so many important people together at the same platform. The Tasting by Robert Parker had been a memorable evening. There were no signs of tension between him and Robert Parker. There had been rumours  that he had charged heavy amounts from Spanish wineries whose wines he had showcased with an audio-visual presentation at the tasting he conducted successfully in a theatrical style. His work on Climate Change where he got Al Gore, former Vice President of the US and a Nobel Laureate, involved extensively was lauded by many of his senior colleagues at the IMW.

Subhash Arora


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