• Jacopo Mazzeo

The wine world loses legend Steven Spurrier

British wine writer, consultant, and former merchant Steven Spurrier has passed away today, 9th March 2021, at his home in Dorset, England.

Spurrier will be remembered as the organiser of the legendary Judgement of Paris, a prolific wine writer and, in recent years, as the founder of the Académie du Vin Library, which had recently published his book of memoirs A Life in Wine.

Steven Spurrier was born in 1941 and joined the London wine trade in 1964. He moved to Paris in 1971 to open Les Caves de la Madeleine wine shop and, in 1973, the Académie du Vin school.


Three years later, he organised the mighty Judgment of Paris, a comparative blind tasting of Californian and French wines that significantly contributed to elevating the status of the wines of California and of the New World as a whole.


In 1988 he returned to Britain, where he focused on writing and consulting, including a lifelong collaboration with Decanter magazine. He founded and directed The Christie’s Wine Course and was chair of the Decanter World Wine Awards.


Throughout his career, he was awarded a remarkable amount of titles, including Le Personalité de l’Année for oenology, the Maestro Award, and Le Prix de Champagne Lanson.


Spurrier was also involved in wine production: he made his own sparkling wine at Bride Valley in Dorset, England, and collaborated with Piero Masi on the Fratelli Vineyards project in Akluj, India.


A dramatised version of the Judgement of Paris story was turned into a film, Bottle Shock, in 2008. Steven Spurrier’s character was played by Alan Rickmann.

My review of Spurrier's memoirs can be found here.

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