Spanish wine champion John Radford dies

30 October, 2012

Spanish wine expert, award-winning writer and broadcaster John Radford has died, aged 65.

Radford was born in Nottingham in 1946 and joined the wine trade in 1972, working at Vintage Wines in his home city.

In 1975 he began lecturing on wine, and soon discovered a flair for writing about the subject.

He wrote a column in the Coventry Evening Telegraph from 1977, and contributed to various trade magazines.

Radford spent 13 years as a presenter on local BBC radio, where he educated the masses about wine.

He carved out a particular niche in the wines and cuisine of Spain.

His debut book, The New Spain, published in 1998, won the Glenfiddich and Lanson awards.

He followed this with The Wines of Rioja and Cook Espana, Drink Espana.

He was also commissioned to write for textbooks and reference books like Spanish Wine Education Notes, The World Atlas of Wine and Companion Guide to the Wines of the World.

His affiliation with Spain was cemented in 1996, when he was ordained as a member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino, and earlier this year he was elected into the Cofradia del Vino de la Ribera del Duero.

Outside of the wine world, Radford had success writing for children’s comic Judy for Girls, the Sporting Post and a science fiction series called Starblazer.

Radford, whose respected palate also saw him judge many wine competitions, ran a website –

His final entry mentions his wife Jill picking up books for their three-year-old granddaughter Evie, which takes him back to an incident in Bordeaux 30 years earlier, and the penultimate post speaks of his love of sherry.

Tributes have flooded in from all corners of the wine world.

OLN columnist Tim Atkin MW said he was “sorry to hear about the death of John Radford. A great lover and promoter of Spanish wines. And a top bloke.”

Fellow wine writer Gabriella Opaz added that Radford was “a champion for the rise of Spanish wine in the global market, a cheerleader for unspoken of Spanish regions, and a passionate lover of all things wine – ensuring that every single drop was thoroughly savored from his glass. He, my friends, was in love with Spain, and a sheer pleasure to speak with.”

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