Format: Ebook

ISBN: 9781913141318

Publication Date: 27 June, 2022

The Life and Wines of Hugh Johnson – eBook

Hugh Johnson


Other Editions Available:


‘Brilliantly written… no one writes tauter, tighter springier and fresher sentences about wine than Johnson.’
Andrew Jefford

‘…it is an absolute joy to read Johnson’s writing. It’s not only that he is exquisitely articulate, playing words as a maestro violinist might play Bach’s Chaconne. It is that he finds so much joy in wine. He is an incurable romantic, an optimist, infectiously enthusiastic, infinitely curious.’                                              Tamlyn Currin,

‘Part memoir, part travel writing, and deeply imbued with the love of the vine’
Independent on Sunday

‘A masterpiece…’
Evening Standard

‘Johnson has always been the master of the pen.’
Giles MacDonogh, Decanter

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In this unique approach to understanding wine, Hugh Johnson, the world’s best-loved wine author, weaves the story of his own epic wine journey with an embracing view of everything he has discovered along the way. Almost without realising it, the reader is drawn into a fascinating world; with each page turned, knowledge is gained and wine wisdom absorbed. Hugh takes us from the teetering ledges of the Mosel and majestic châteaux of the Médoc to the sylvan slopes of Windsor Great Park with a spring in his step and a tasting glass at the ready.

No one writes so infectiously on every aspect of wine, whether human or cultural, technical or historical. This book is peppered with anecdotes and personal recollections, infused with the sheer delight Hugh finds in his subject. It is a book with a story to tell and a mastery of wine to impart.

  • First published in 2005 as Wine, A Life Uncorked, this new edition has been updated by Hugh to take in two decades of change in the wine world.
  • The First Duty of wine: getting to know the luxury red wine icons Bordeaux and Burgundy (which has the lion’s share in Hugh’s cellar).
  • Technical Stuff: Hugh learns about winemaking the hard way: by growing and making it his own French Sauvignon Gris.
  • The Wilder Shores of Wine: tracking wine’s origins in Georgia, the cradle of viticulture.
  • The Bordeaux Persuasion: from the Médoc to Martha’s Vineyard – Hugh seeks out the world’s great Cabernet Sauvignon-based reds.
  • NEW Foreword by Eric Asimov
  • NEW Digestif! In this new chapter, Hugh reveals the wines that give him the most pleasure – the bottles he keeps in his cellar today.
  • NEW On ‘Bubbly’: Hugh finds sparkling wine perfection among the grandes marques of Champagne and the fashionable new fizz of our own English vineyards.



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Hugh Johnson began acquiring his wine knowledge as a member of the Wine and Food Society at Cambridge University. When he came down from King’s College in 1961 he became feature writer for Vogue and House & Garden, writing, among other things, wine columns for both magazines. In 1963 he became general secretary of the Wine and Food Society and succeeded the legendary gastronome André Simon as editor of Wine and Food. At the same time he became wine correspondent of The Sunday Times and started work on his first book Wine (1966), through which he established himself at the age of 27 as one of the subject’s foremost writers. His rare talent for making the most complex subjects readable has led to a remarkable sequence of books.

After a year as travel editor of The Sunday Times he became editor of Queen, and in 1969 James Mitchell of the newly founded publishing house Mitchell Beazley asked him to write The World Atlas of Wine. First published in 1971, this book has been translated into 14 languages and sold over four million copies. He is the world’s bestselling wine writer.

In 2007 Hugh Johnson received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list. His OBE was awarded for services to winemaking and horticulture. In April 2004 Hugh was honoured with the title of Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, one of the highest tributes bestowed by the French Government. The medal was presented to Hugh for his significant contribution to the appreciation and understanding of France and its wines.