Symposium Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Steven Spurrier

Steven Spurrier
Chairman, Decanter World Awards

Steven Spurrier, born October 5, 1941, was educated at Rugby School and the London School of Economics. In 1964 he joined the wine trade as a trainee with Christopher and Co., (established in 1665). Steven moved to Paris in 1970 and purchased Les Caves de la Madeleine, a small shop in the centre of the city, and in 1973 he opened L’Academie du Vin, the first independent wine school in France. As a partner, he became involved in diverse ventures allied to wine: Le Bistrot a Vin, a wine bar and restaurant in the business quarter of La Defense; Le Chemin des Vignes, a warehouse and bottling plant on the outskirts of Paris; Le Moulin du Village, and Le Blue Fox, a restaurant and wine bar near the Caves de la Madeleine.

Spurrier is perhaps best known for having created the tasting between top Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines from California and France in May 1976, subsequently referred to as The Judgement of Paris. A recreation of this event was held simultaneously in London and Napa, on May 24, 2006, 30 years later to the day.

In 1988, he sold his wine business interests in Paris and returned to the UK to become an independent wine consultant. His clients have included Harrods in London and Hediard in Paris, Singapore Airlines, and Christie’s (for whom he created the Christie’s Wine Course in 1982). He is also Consultant Editor for Decanter Magazine and Chairman of the Decanter World Wine Awards, now the world’s biggest wine competition, since its inception in 2004 and Chairman of Decanter Asia Wine Awards, Asia’s most significant wine competition, since 2012.

He is the author of eight books on wine. There are several translations of two — L’Academie du Vin Wine Course and L’Academie du Vin Guide to French Wines.

Some of the prizes and awards that Steven Spurrier has won include “The Bunch Award” for articles in Decanter in 1996, “Le Prix de Champagne Lanson” in 1997, “Ritz Carlton Millienia Lifetime Achievement Award” in 1999 and “Le Prix Louis Marinier” for writing on Bordeaux in 2000. In 2001 he was awarded “Le Grand Prix de l’Academie Internationale du Vin” — the third recipient of this award since 1982 — and the “Andre Tchelistcheff Maestro Award” from California.

He is married, with two grown-up children, and lives, when not travelling, in London and Dorset. After much reflection and research, he decided with his wife Bella to plant a vineyard on their farm in south Dorset. There are now 25 acres planted to 55% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier to make English Sparkling Wine under the name Bride Valley Vineyards. The first harvest was in October 2011, the month of his 70th birthday.

In 2017 he was made Decanter Man of the Year and also Honorary President of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust. In 2018 his memoirs were published under the title “Wine a Way of Life.” In 2019 he created with partners the Academie du Vin Library, which will issue new books and re-publish old classics for worldwide distribution.