WSG Confidential with Jancis Robinson MW

Insights and Perspectives
With Andrew Jefford, Jancis Robinson MW
Wednesday Jun 10 2020

Summary: 

There is, arguably, no wine mind more extraordinary, more capacious or better informed than that of Jancis Robinson MW.

After university studies in mathematics and philosophy at Oxford, Jancis worked for a short while in the travel business before becoming a wine trade journalist in 1976. Within three years she was the wine correspondent of the Sunday Times, and over the following four decades, her staggering output of journalism, books and media interventions has almost single-handedly transformed the wine world.

Every WSG student will be familiar with the reference books she has either created herself or collaborated on with others: they are the foundation of every wine library, and the starting point for every journey into wine education: Vines, Grapes & Wines (first published 1986), The Oxford Companion to Wine (first published 1994, now in its fourth edition), The World Atlas of Wine (written by Hugh Johnson, but revised and co-written by Jancis from the fifth edition in 2001, and now in its eighth edition) and Wine Grapes (with Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz, 2012). Leavening these reference monuments has come a feast of other books on wine subjects, including wine and health, wine and gastronomy, a wine course, wine’s ageing trajectories and specialist books on North American wines and Portuguese wines.

She became a Master of Wine (and the first journalist to pass the exam) in 1984. Jancis is also an accomplished television and radio performer, has consulted on wine for British Airways, has designed her own wine glasses and helps choose the wines served at Buckingham Palace. The copious awards she has won include six James Beard awards, the Grand Award of the OIV, an Honorary Doctorate from the Open University, the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole in France and the Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the UK. She is also the creator and chief contributor to the much-admired jancisrobinson.com, notable as a dual subscription/free access wine resource; she is also known to the Davos circuit as the wine correspondent of The Financial Times since 1990 (and has indeed lectured at Davos).

Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford talked at length to Jancis about some of the highlights of her long career and just how she managed to achieve so much; about her wine preferences (and dislikes); about wine education and its challenges; about the cultural significance of wine; about changes in the wine world over the past four decades – and about what the next decade might bring.



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