Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 28 October 2012

John Radford dies: born 1st December 1946 - died 19th October 2012

John Radford judging@The 2012 Decanter World Wine Awards

Very sad to learn this morning that John died recently of heart failure aged 65. (I believe he died on 19th October and there was a quiet family funeral.)

A great and generous character, a fine wine writer – amongst the very best. Spain had the good fortune to have his love and attention – a wonderful and very professional ambassador for Spanish wines. How very distant from the tawdry goings on in parts of Spain exposed at the end of last year. 

John had been in declining health for a number of years but this did not quench his enthusiasm. Unfortunately he was involved, through no fault of his, in a very serious car accident involving a lorry at the end of the 1990s and this may have been a contributory factor.

The October edition of Circle Update, the newsletter of the Circle of Wine Writers, will be published next Wednesday and will feature appreciations and tributes to John. If anyone would like to contribute memories of John, please email them to me by Tuesday morning to

Will certainly be raising this evening a copita or so of Sherry to his memory.  

John presenting Alejandro Fernández with bottle of Bollinger 
 @Circle of Wine Writers tasting of the wines of Pesquera in 2008

John Radford: The New Spain 

Miguel Torres on the publication of John Radford's The New Spain in 1998:

‘This image of Spanish winemaking, the modern reality, is what the reader will find in the pages of The New Spain. For many years, John Radford has had a special interest in Spanish wines, as evidenced by his work in all the major English-language wine magazines in Europe, as well as his television and radio career. No one but John, a genuine Hispanophile and an enthusiast for every Spanish region, could have written this comprehensive, contemporary, complex but very enjoyable review of the wines of Spain.’    


John's entry in Wikipedia (although it neglects to include John's various appearances in Christmas panto):

John Radford is a writer and broadcaster in the field of wine and food, with an emphasis on Spain. Radford was born in Nottingham on 1 December 1946 and was educated at Stamford School in Lincolnshire.

After a background in the food and drink industry and retail, Radford's writing career started with children's comics, principally for the Dundee publishing house of D.C. Thomson, with Judy comic for girls, for which he wrote a good deal of the annuals from 1978 to 1985 as well as the weekly paper. He also wrote for the same publisher's science fiction series Starblazer, and contributed to other publications, including a series of stories about Dixon Hawke the Dover Street Detective for the Dundee Sporting Post.

He began lecturing about wine whilst in the wine trade, from 1975, and started writing about wine from 1977. His first regular column was in 1981 in the Coventry Evening Telegraph and this was subsequently syndicated to local dailies around the UK. He also contributed wine articles to Decanter Magazine from 1985, as well as writing general features for regional and county glossies and business magazines.

As a result of his perceived interest in Spain, he was commissioned by ICEX, the Spanish Embassy Commercial Office in London, to write the trade/press textbook for Spanish wines The Spanish Wine Education Notes, which appeared bi-annually from 1989 to 2001, after which ICEX took it in-house and it went online.

In 1997 he was commissioned by the publisher Mitchell Beazley to write a new and definitive consumer guide to Spanish wines - The New Spain. Since then his books have a won a number of international awards. The New Spain (1998) won the Glenfiddich "Drinks Book of the year" and the Prix de Champagne Lanson "European Wine Book of the year" awards, as well as 'Best European Wine Book' at the Livre Gourmand Awards in Versailles, and was awarded the silver medal of the Gastronomische Akademie Deutschland. His 2004 book The Wines of Rioja also won the Livre Gourmand award for "Best European Wine Book". In 2006 he was awarded the Premio Especial Alimentos de España in Madrid for his continuing work on Spanish food and wine, and he is a member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino. His most recent book Cook España, Drink España, written in collaboration with chef Mario Sandoval of Restaurante Coque in Humanes de Madrid was published in October 2007. In November it won the Livre Gourmand Award 2008 for 'Best European Wine Book Outside France'. In December 2007 it was shortlisted in the top three for 'Best Wine Book in the World (outside France)', and went on to win the world title at Olympia, London on 13 April 2008.

Radford writes articles for a number of UK wine publications, including Harpers, Drinks International and Off-Licence News (all trade publications) and Gourmetour, Decanter, Wine Press (Beijing) as well as other consumer publications.

In March 2007, the first issue of Yes Chef! magazine was published, with a launch at Harvey Nichols in London, and Radford as editor. The magazine was quarterly and aimed at kitchen and restaurant professionals as well as interested amateur cooks. In 2011 it was relaunched as the bi-monthy Chef magazine, with Radford as Consultant Editor. In addition he continues to write mostly wine-related articles for magazines in the UK and abroad.

Radford has appeared on several wine-related British television shows including A Question of Taste which ran from 1997 to 1998 on Carlton Food Network, hosted by Russell Grant.

From 1993 to 1997 Radford co-presented the breakfast programme for Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire with BBC Three Counties Radio[3] based in Luton. In 1997 he transferred to BBC Southern Counties Radio based in Brighton where he stayed until March 2006.

From April 2006 until August 2009 he worked as a local radio presenter for Splash FM in Worthing.

Selected bibliography
  • 2011 RIOJA REVISITED (e-book updating THE WINES OF RIOJA)
  • 2011 THE WINES OF RIOJA (republished as an e-book)
  • 2010 THE ULTIMATE WINE COMPANION (Sterling Epicure, New York - Spanish chapter)
  • 2009 COMPANION GUIDE TO THE WINES OF THE WORLD (New edition - Spanish chapter)
  • 2009 COOK ESPAÑA, DRINK ESPAÑA (American edition)
  • 2008 WINE REPORT 2009 (Spanish chapter)
  • 2007 WINE REPORT 2008 (Spanish chapter)
  • 2007 COMER EN ESPAÑA, BEBER EN ESPAÑA (Spanish language version)
  • 2007 COOK ESPAÑA, DRINK ESPAÑA (with Mario Sandoval)
  • 2007 GREAT WINE TOURS OF THE WORLD (New edition - Spanish chapters)
  • 2006 WINE REPORT 2007 (Spanish chapter)
  • 2005 WINE REPORT 2006 (Spanish chapter)
  • 2004 VINOS DE ESPAÑA - Spanish Translation of THE NEW SPAIN (New Edition)
  • 2004 THE NEW SPAIN (New Edition)
  • 2004 WINE REPORT 2005 (Spanish chapter)
  • 2003 WINE REPORT 2004 (Spanish chapter)
  • 2002 DE WIJNEN VAN SPANJE - Dutch translation of THE NEW SPAIN
  • 2002 GREAT WINE TOURS OF THE WORLD (Spanish chapters)
  • 2001 A CENTURY OF WINE (Spanish chapter)
  • 2000 GLOBAL ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WINE (Spanish and Portuguese chapters)
  • 2000 A CENTURY OF WINE (Mitchell Beazley, London - Spanish chapter)
  • 2000 POCKET BOOK OF FORTIFIED AND SWEET WINES (with Stephen Brook - fortified wines)
  • 1999 WEINLANDSCHAFT SPANIEN - German translation of THE NEW SPAIN
  • 1998 THE NEW SPAIN

  • 2008 Best Wine Book in the world, Livre Gourmand Awards (London)
  • 2007 Best European Wine Book, Livre Gourmand Awards (France)
  • 2005 Premio Especial Alimentos de España (Spain)
  • 2005 Best European Wine Book, Livre Gourmand Awards (France)
  • 2000 Silver medal, Gastrononmische Akademie Deutschlands (Germany)
  • 1999 Best European Wine Book, Livre Gourmand Awards (France)
  • 1999 Prix de Champagne Lanson, Best European wine book (UK)
  • 1999 Glenfiddich Award, Best European wine book (UK)
  • 1996 Gran Orden de Caballeros del Vino, elected to membership (Spain)

From Wikipedia here:

See also a tribute to John by Gabriella Opaz here on Catavino.

April 2010: John@Enoteca Turi, Putney, London during DWWA regional chairs' lunch


1 comment:

Wink Lorch said...

Very, very sad. This was circulated around the twittersphere on Friday evening and no-one seemed to be able to confirm or supply more details - hence further conversation via me on FB and via someone else on Jancis Robinson's forum. Jancis wrote on her forum today: "It is true, I'm afraid. I believe this Spanish specialist wine writer died on 19 October and his family wanted to have a quiet funeral before spreading this sad news."

I will send you an email with some memories about him connected to when we would meet often at WSET where he taught on WSET Diploma courses regularly for many years. He was a much-liked educator and did a fantastic job for Spain.