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Hugh Johnson - Wine Writer

Updated on October 7, 2014

Acclaimed Wine And Gardening Writer

Hugh Johnson OBE (born 10 March 1939) is a British author and expert on wine. He is considered the world's best-selling wine writer in his own right.

Writer of the best selling "Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book" series, he has also collaborated with fellow wine expert Jancis Robinson MW, to produce the highly acclaimed "The World Atlas of Wine", hailed by critics worldwide as "extraordinary" and "irreplaceable."

He has held the position as director of Château Latour, and is the co-founder and a partner in The Royal Tokaji Company.

Hugh Johnson wine tasting
Hugh Johnson wine tasting

Interest In Wine Began At Cambridge University

Author of 'The World Atlas of Wine'

In the 1950s, as an undergraduate reading English at King's College, Cambridge, Johnson became a member of the Cambridge University Wine and Food Society. On describing his introduction to wine-tasting Johnson recalled that...

...Adrian Cowell, founder of the International Wine & Food Society came in after dinner with two glasses and said, "Come on, Hugh, are they the same? Or different?" Both were, I am sure, red Burgundy, but one was magic and one was ordinary. This caught my imagination. It was my Damascene moment.

Johnson has been writing about wine since 1960, was taken on as a feature writer for Condé Nast Publications on graduation, and early worked with magazines such as Vogue and House & Garden.

He has published a wide array of books, starting with the publication of Wine in 1966 at a period he became the wine columnist of The Sunday Times. The publication of The World Atlas of Wine in 1971, considered the first serious attempt to map the world's wine regions, became described by the sitting director of the INAO as "a major event in wine literature".

Hugh Johnson wine tasting
Hugh Johnson wine tasting

A Love Of Wine And Horticulture

Honours for a talented writer and communicator

Over the years he has held the position as director of Château Latour, and is the co-founder and a partner in The Royal Tokaji Company.

In 1986 he founded the Hugh Johnson Collection Ltd. which sells stemware and other artefacts related to wine. Since 2004 Johnson has acted as editorial adviser to The World of Fine Wine magazine.

In 1995 he was selected the Decanter "Man of the Year", and was awarded the Officer of the British Empire distinction in 2007.

Johnson is also a Horticulturalist with a special interest in trees, and has published a standard guide to gardening, The Principles of Gardening.

A Life Uncorked - [Hardcover]

A Life Uncorked
A Life Uncorked

A corking good read!

World-renowned wine writer Hugh Johnson breezed through town promoting his new memoir on the inner workings of the wine world, 'A Life Uncorked'. This is a deeply personal book. Yet, as Johnson admits, it is not an autobiography. Rather, this memoir is a personal journey, as much about wine as it is about his life.

For Johnson, wine is essentially "a social game" not merely an interest or a hobby. Wine is "about human relations, hospitality, bonding-all the manoeuvres of social life - and all under the influence, however benign, of alcohol." Who can argue with that?

Hugh Johnson with oak barrels
Hugh Johnson with oak barrels

Does Not Agree with Numerical Scores to Wine...

...Just sensible evaluation

Hugh Johnson is known as one of the wine world's most vocal opponents to awarding numerical scores to wine.

In the autobiography A Life Uncorked, Johnson also expressed regret over the wine critic Robert Parker's influence on the world of wine, which has in his view moved winemaking in many regions towards a more uniform, bigger and richer style. In 2005 Johnson stated, "Imperial hegemony lives in Washington and the dictator of taste in Baltimore"

Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson
Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson

Wine Writers With Style And Panache

High Johnson & Jancis Robinson

Hugh Johnson is acclaimed as the world's favourite wine writer. Since his first book, Wine, appeared in 1966, he has been making the subject of wine approachable to all with his witty and humorous style.

His other books include the bestseller "Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book." He is also President of The Sunday Times Wine Club.

Jancis Robinson is internationally renowned for her witty, authoritative wine writing and her books Vines, Grapes and Wines, and Oxford Companion to Wine are among the most important in wine literature.

Hugh Johnson on YouTube

Hugh Johnsons Famous Pocket Wine Book

Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2014
Hugh Johnson's Pocket Wine Book 2014

This newest edition covers a staggering 6,000-plus wines from more than 50 countries. Its user-friendly format enables you to immediately identify and evaluate any wine you're considering buying.

Whether you're purchasing a bottle at a shop, ordering wine in a restaurant, stocking a cellar, or investing in a vintage, the Pocket Wine Book is the one resource you cannot do without.


If You Love Wine... Or Not, Do Raise Your Glass Here - With Words

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    • theNarwhal profile image

      theNarwhal 5 years ago

      I didn't know anything about him before, thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Huge fan of Hugh's. His words have been published on this site eVines from Kevin Zraly's book - brilliant read.