John Radford obituary

John Radford, the UK wine writer, broadcaster and lecturer, who was renowned as one of the world’s foremost Spanish wine experts, died on 19 October aged 65.

John Radford: 1946-2012

Born in Nottingham in 1946, John joined the wine trade in 1972, but soon found his niche in writing and talking about his subject, carving a particular niche in the wines and cuisine of Spain. A contributor to the drinks business, he was due to write a feature for the upcoming Spain Report 2012.

In addition to his own books such as The New Spain and The Wines of Rioja, Radford’s Spanish expertise saw him regularly called upon as a contributor to publications including The World Atlas of Wine and Companion Guide to the Wines of the World. His respected palate saw him act as a judge in major wine competitions.

John also ran a regularly updated website, One of his last posts focused on a particularly great passion, Sherry, as he welcomed Delgado Zuleta’s decision to become the latest producer to release a UK en rama bottling.

Although he built a reputation as a wine and food expert, John’s interests and talent took him in a number of other directions. These included writing for children’s comic Judy for Girls, Sporting Post and the science fiction series Starblazer.

As well as numerous awards for his writing, John was widely recognised for his work in supporting Spanish wine. In 1996 he was ordained as a member of the Gran Orden de Caballeros de Vino and, earlier this year, was elected into the Cofradia del Vino de la Ribera del Duero.

8 Responses to “John Radford obituary”

  1. Alan Jenkins says:

    I meet John a couple of times and his knowledge of Spanish wines was amazing
    and he was a man who would help others in the trade giving advice freely
    he will be missed RIP

    ps He also was a radio presenter for BBC Southern Counties Radio

  2. John was a very passionate and knowledgable on Spanish Wines – He presented twice at our WSET Diploma lectures in Bristol where he was honest about production and shared his great passion. The whole room hung on his every word and he will always win the best tasting note award for his imortal words…’ now this is a wine you could sh4G’ – Simply Brilliant !!

    He will be sadly missed by us all. Dear John, RIP

  3. It was with great sadness that the Consejo Regulador heard the news of John Radford’s death. His knowledge and passion for Spanish and Riojan wines was a blessing both for the UK wine trade and the Spanish wine industry. His legacy will of course always be with us in his many books and ‘The Wines of Rioja’ will always hold a very special place for us.

    We will miss his knowledge, his tireless commitment and we are so pleased that of all the countries he could have chosen to specialise in, he picked Spain.

  4. I had the great pleasure of working with John at Vintage Wines in Nottingham in the early 1980s at the start of my wine career. John was a great teacher, an enthusiast who was as keen to share his knowledge as anyone I’ve known.

    • Bill Smale says:

      I too worked with John at Vintage Wines in the mid 70s. You are absolutely right – he was a great pleasure to work with. In addition to his knowledge of wine, his enthusiasm and his charm, he was one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. Indeed I think he had a little sideline writing gags for BBC comedy programmes at one time. I’d love to read some of his contributions to the Judy!
      Alas, I didn’t stay in the wine business and we didn’t keep in touch – I’ve only just learned of his passing. We shall raise glasses of our finest Spanish red in memory of the good times.

  5. Richard Goodyer says:

    I’m.very sad to hear of the death of broadcaster and wine expert – John Radford, who has died aged just 65. I knew John through my work at 107.7 Splash FM and he was a very likeable guy and easy to chat to and had a nice manner with anyone who came across him. He also worked many years at the BBC. John you will be missed by many people

  6. ROBERT WORLEY says:

    Very sorry to read of John Radford’s passing. I was a regular listenter to John when he presented the early morning programme on BBC Southern Couties Radio. He was such a knowlegable and interesting individual. Apart from his love of Spanish wines – he appeared to be addicted to ‘Spaghetti Westerns’ – “Once Upon A Times in The West”; “A Fist Full of Dollars” etc with music by Ennio Morricone. He stood out head and shoulders above all the other local radio personalities and will be greatly missed. Robert Worley (Horsham, Sussex)

  7. Adam Charles Gay says:

    I spent many hours listening to John on Southern Counties radio.He was a most interesting man, knowledgeable and witty. My mother met him at a summer fate back in the 90s he was a true gentleman. RIP.

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