Select Page

Renowned Wine Writer Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Renowned Wine Writer Wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Hugh Johnson has been named as the recipient of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award, jointly sponsored by the Institute of Masters of Wine and international trade publication The Drinks Business.

The award, which recognises a life-long commitment to wine excellence, has previously been presented to Robert Mondavi (2005), Marchese Piero Antinori (2007), Jean-Michel Cazes (2011) and Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (2013)

The citation on the certificate reads:

“Nominated by a panel of prominent wine industry professionals and members of the Institute of Masters of Wine, this award recognises an outstanding and inspirational figure in the world of wine whose enduring contribution spans a whole career.”

Hugh Johnson was chosen by the Members of the Institute of Masters of Wine.

Hugh Johnson is considered one of the world’s best-selling writers on wine, with total sales of about 16 million. His first book, Wine, was published in 1966 and established him as one of the foremost English gastronomic writers. In 1969 he was invited to write The World Atlas of Wine and since 1977, he has annually produced Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book, which has now sold more than 12 million copies and appears in 13 languages.

From 1986 to 2001, Hugh Johnson served as a director of Bordeaux first-growth Château Latour. In 1990, he co-founded Royal Tokaji with Peter Vinding-Diers to revive the Aszú wines of the Tokaj region in Hungary. It became a private limited company in 1993. Hugh is joint owner of Royal Tokaji’s Mézes Mály Vineyard, one of Tokaj’s two great first growths, which he purchased in partnership with Royal Tokaji in 1993.

Hugh was named a Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by President Chirac of France in 2004. In 2006, he released “A Life Uncorked,” an intimate autobiographical tour decanting his life in the world of wine. Hugh was named an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in the 2007 New Year’s Honours List for his services to winemaking and horticulture. For forty years he has written his celebrated garden diary (

The award was presented at a ceremony at VinExpo, Bordeaux, on Tuesday. Patrick Schmitt MW, editor of the Drinks Business, introduced the award before the presentation by Sarah Jane Evans MW, Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine.

In her remarks, Sarah Jane Evans MW said: “Hugh Johnson’s contribution to the world of wine has been – as it continues to be – outstanding. He found new ways of communicating about wine, making wine accessible to consumers. What’s more, he is that rare person, a writer and commentator who has personally invested in the business of wine, and with great success. He is what in the wine world we need most: a generous friend and expert.”

On hearing the news, Hugh Johnson said:

‘No salute could give me more of a glow than one from the MWs – the gold standard of wine knowledge and appreciation. If it’s taken 55 years, it has all been fascinating, absorbing, even inebriating.’

Ends (16 June 2015)

Penny Richards
Executive Director, Institute of Masters of Wine
T: +44 (0)207 383 9130