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Nicolas Belfrage MW dies

Nicolas Belfrage MW, known as a pioneering Italian wine specialist, died on Saturday night at the age of 82 following a period of illness with Parkinson’s.

Credit: Instagram/ vinexus Italia – Nick Bielak MW (left) and Nicolas Belfrage MW (right)

Born in Los Angeles in the US in 1940 to British parents, Belfrage moved to the UK aged 14. After working as a buyer for Europa Foods and Bretzel Foods in the late 1970s, he became a Master of Wine in 1980.

During the next decade he would make his name as an Italian wine specialist. As well as contributing to Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book and other publications, he wrote several books that changed perceptions of Italian wine, including Life Beyond Lambrusco and The Finest Wines of Tuscany and Central Italy.

In 1994 he sold his specialist Italian wine importer Winecellars. Two years later he founded Vinexus from his new home in Tuscany, and, from 2006, partnered with Nick Bielak MW. Belfrage described the company’s purpose as: “…to deliver on real Italian character, traceability and authenticity that are right for the tastes of export markets”. Earlier this year Bielak died after a short illness.

A statement released by The Institute of Masters of Wine about Belfrage’s death said: “Despite his battle with Parkinson’s disease, he had always remained in good spirits and had enjoyed a wonderful lunch with fellow MWs David Gleave and Sebastian Payne MW as recently as last month.”

“We have passed on our condolences to his family and will forward details on the funeral and memorial service in due course,” it concluded.

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