The Wine Media Guild of New York established the Wine Writers’ Hall of Fame to recognize and honor, by induction, individuals who have made significant contributions to the body of wine writing and education. Every other year, individuals who have had exceptional careers and significant achievements as wine authors, journalists or educators will be nominated and elected by committees of their peers. Consideration is on a global basis.
The following journalists have been elected to the Wine Writers’ Hall of Fame for 2009:
US-Based: Mary Ewing-Mulligan, Matt Kramer
Non-US-Based: Clive Coates, James Halliday
Recognition for Distinguished Service to the Wine Industry: Peter Sichel
Posthumous: Alexis Bespaloff
Mary Ewing-Mulligan, MW
Mary Ewing-Mulligan is the first woman in America to become a Master of Wine, and is one of 26 Masters of Wine in the U.S. Mary is president of International Wine Center (www.internationalwinecenter.com) in New York City, which offers challenging wine courses for individuals in the wine trade and serious consumers. She is also executive director of U.S. programs for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust® (WSET®), the world’s largest wine and spirits educational organization, which has affiliated schools in 25 U.S. markets.
She is author of Wine Style (Wiley), and has co-authored, with Ed McCarthy, the best-selling Wine For Dummies, 4th Edition, and nine other wine books in the For Dummies series, including California Wine For Dummies to be published in April 2009. She is a columnist for Wine Review Online (www.winereviewonline.com) and Nation’s Restaurant News, and for ten years served as wine columnist for The Daily News in New York. She has contributed articles on a freelance basis to numerous publications in the U.S. and England, including the Los Angeles Times, Martha Stewart Living, Wine Enthusiast, The Wine News, Family Circle, Wine & Spirit International and others.
She is chief judge of the Critics Challenge wine competition and a director of the Institute of Masters of Wine (North America), having served as its president for the past four years.
Matt Kramer has been a full-time wine writer and author for more than three decades. He began his career as a food writer which, he says, continues to inform his judgments about wine. Over time, his writing has focused almost exclusively on wine.
Kramer has a developed a strong national following thanks to his longtime column in every issue of Wine Spectator magazine, as well as from his seven much-acclaimed books: Making Sense of Wine; Making Sense of Wine: Revised Edition; Making Sense of Burgundy; Making Sense of California Wine; Matt Kramer’s New California Wine; Matt Kramer’s Making Sense of Italian Wine and A Passion For Piedmont: Italy’s Most Glorious Regional Table.
In addition, Kramer has been the longtime wine critic of The Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Oregon for which he writes a weekly column. He was also the wine critic of the Los Angeles Times and he continues his longtime wine column for Diversion magazine.
James Halliday has been the weekly wine columnist for The Weekend Australian newspaper since
1984 to present. He wrote a weekly wine column for the National Times from 1978-1984 Over the decades he has written for many Australian and overseas magazines; currently Gourmet Traveller Wine every issue and numerous others on a regular basis.
He was the most senior and active wine judge in Australia from 1977-2009 and judged regularly in New Zealand, the UK, South Africa as well as occasionally in Europe and the US. He was elected a Member of the Academie Internationale du Vin and belongs to the Patron Wine Communicators of Australia.
Mr. Halliday has written over 50 books since 1979 and been a significant contributor to others, including Oxford Companion to Wine and Hugh Johnson Pocket Guide. Various books were translated into several languages. Books published in 2009 are the annual Australian Wine Companion and Australian Wine Encyclopaedia (170,000 words).
Winner of the Charles Heidsieck Award for Excellence in Wine Journalism in 1983, 1993 joint winner (with Hugh Johnson) of the James Beard Award and Clicquot Award, runner up Glenfiddich Award (for Art and Science of Wine). Wine Spectator Book of Year, 1994 IACP/Julia Child Award for Best Wine, Spirits or Beer Book (USA), winner James Beard Award 1994 for Wine Atlas of California, Wine Literary Award (San Francisco) 2002 for the Wine Atlas of California, Saltram Wine Communicator Award 2005 for the 2006 Wine Companion, and Louis Roederer International Wine Book of the Year 2007 for the Wine Atlas of Australia.
Clive Coates, MW
Clive Coates is one of the world’s leading wine authorities. Coates’ lifetime of distinguished activity in the field has been recognized by the French government, which awarded him the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite Agricole. He’s also been honored with a “Rame d’Honneur” by Le Verre et L’Assiette, the Ruffino/Cyril Ray Memorial Prize for his writings on Italian wine, and the title of “Wine Writer of the Year” for 1998/1999 in the Champagne Lanson awards.
Coates published THE VINE, his independent fine wine magazine, from 1989 to 2005. THE VINE received numerous awards, including a special commendation for its “considerable contribution to the knowledge and understanding of wine from the Wine Guild of Great Britain. In addition, Coates has written for nearly all the world’s foremost wine publications and enjoys a reputation as an accomplished and engaging speaker among audiences throughout Europe and the USA.
Coates’ books are widely considered the classic works. They include: Claret (1982), Wines of France (1990), Grands Vins, The Finest Châteaux of Bordeaux and Their Wines (1995), and Cote d’Or, A Celebration of the Great Wines of Burgundy (1997), which won the André Simon Award (UK), the Champagne Veuve Clicquot prize (USA) and the James Beard Award (USA) for the best wine book of the year. Cote d’Or also won the annual Prix des Arts et des Lettres awarded by the Burgundian Confrérie du Tastevin, the first time a book on wine and a non-Burgundian has been so honoured for 30 years. Since then he has published An Encyclopaedia to the Wines and Domaines of France (2000); The Wines of Bordeaux (2004) and The Great Wines of France (2005). The sequel to Côte d’Or, TThe Wines of Burgundy, was published world-wide in April 2008.
Prior to his career as an author, Coates spent twenty years as a professional wine merchant, during which he served as Executive Director of the wines division of British Transport Hotels and established the legendary Malmaison Wine Club. Now semi-retired, Clive lives in southern Burgundy with his dogs and occasionally conducts wine lovers round the region.
Peter Sichel, a fourth generation wine grower and wine merchant, is one of the world’s foremost wine authorities, with a specialty in German and Bordeaux wines. He is and has been associated with most of the major international wine societies and competitions. He was a senior official in the CIA and was awarded the U. S. Distinguished Intelligence Medal. The German Government awarded him the Order of Merit First Class for his contributions to U. S. and German relations and he recently was awarded the Merite Agricole by the French Government for his contribution to French Agriculture. He served as a U. S. Foreign Service Officer as Consul in Hong Kong in the fifties.
In the 1960s, Peter built the Blue Nun brand into a product that appealed to the growing wave of new wine drinkers.
He has brokered several deals internationally, including the sale of Château Fourcas-Hosten of Listrac-Médoc, which he and friends had acquired, to the family behind the French Hermès brand.
Peter now does a great deal of volunteer work, including as a trustee of the World Monuments Fund, a private organization devoted to preserving architectural heritage sites. He is a member of the Wine Media Guild.
Alexis Bespaloff (1934-2006) was born in Romania but quickly became one of the most cosmopolitan Americans with a detailed knowledge of who was who in the worlds of food and wine. Upon graduating from Harvard, he worked briefly at Simon and Schuster and then in the wine business in Bordeaux and New York. He began writing about wine and became one of the foremost experts of his generation, publishing six books. The Signet Book of Wine, a seminal work in U.S. wine literature (1971 and later revised) sold over a million copies. Alexis Bespaloff’s Guide to Inexpensive Wines was published in 1973. In 1977, his literary anthology, The Fireside Book of Wine, was published, and in 1988 his revised and updated The Frank Schoonmaker Encyclopedia of Wine, called “the finest quick reference book in the literature of wine” by The New York Times appeared. Alexis Bespaloff’s Complete Guide to Wine followed in 1994.
Over the years, his articles were published in Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, House & Garden, Travel & Leisure, Connoisseur and Penthouse. He lectured widely and often appeared on television. His column in New York Magazine ran from 1972 until 1996.
In his obituary of Mr. Bespaloff in The New York Times, Frank Prial quoted him: “In a 2004 interview [Alexis Bespaloff] said: ‘It’s not unusual for connoisseurs to look back with regret at having missed the golden age of their particular interest — the Elizabethan age for poetry, perhaps the 17th century for Dutch painting, or the heyday of Bach or Mozart. For oenophiles, this is the golden age, and there is every reason to predict that the next millennium will enable this specialized world to shine even more brightly.’ “