Steven Spurrier, wine expert, educator, taster and writer, has passed away.

Spurrier’s career in wine spanned many years, during which time he wrote many columns and features for Decanter magazine, as well as a substantial involvement in the creation of the Decanter World Wine Awards.

He began his career in wine in 1964 as a trainee with London wine merchant, Christopher and Co. He later moved to France and in 1972 he bought a wine shop in Paris, Cave de la Madeleine, opening a wine school next door called L’Academie du Vin. The success of the latter led to venues around the world, including Italy and Japan.

He has been described as “a champion of French wine”, having organised the famous Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, which later became a film called Bottle Shock, starring Alan Rickman as Spurrier. It was in this “Judgement of Paris” tasting that a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from California were ranked above some of the most prestigious wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux, and this inadvertently elevated the status of Californian Wine and helped promote the reputation of New World Wine as a whole.

Spurrier left France in 1988 and returned to the UK, where he became a wine consultant and journalist, kick-starting his work with Decanter.

In the UK he also invested in wine business Vinopolis in the early 90s. The London Bridge venue operated for many years until its closure in 2014. He planted his own vineyard in Dorset (Bride Valley) in 2008, and this site is now recognised as a well-established English sparkling wine producer.

He received several global awards for his wine writing and services to the wine industry including Le Prix de Champagne Lanson and the Bunch Prize for articles in Decanter.

Spurrier will be greatly missed by his family and the many people who knew and respected him in so many areas of the wine industry.