Steven Spurrier (wine merchant)

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Steven Spurrier in 2016

Steven Spurrier (born 1941[1]) is a British wine expert and former merchant who has been described as a champion of French wine.[2] Spurrier organized the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976, which unexpectedly elevated the status of California wine and promoted the expansion of wine production in the New World. He is also the founder of the Academie du Vin and Christie's Wine Course, in addition to authoring and co-authoring several wine books.


Having been educated in Rugby School and the London School of Economics,[1] Spurrier entered the wine trade in 1964 as a trainee with London’s oldest wine merchant Christopher and Co. In 1970 he moved to Paris where he persuaded an elderly lady to sell him her small wine store located in a passageway off the rue Royale.[2] From 1971 he ran the wine shop Les Caves de la Madeleine where clients were encouraged to taste wines before they bought them,[3] which achieved recognition as a highly regarded specialist wine shop.[2] In 1973 he started L’Academie du Vin, France’s first private wine school, which was central to the wine education of several wine personalities such as French wine writer Michel Bettane, and Charles F. Shaw, namesake of "Two Buck Chuck".[2]

Spurrier went on to stage the influential "Judgement of Paris" Tasting of 1976, when a Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from California were ranked above some of the most prestigious wines of Burgundy and Bordeaux.

Spurrier sold his wine interests in France and returned to the UK in 1988,[4] becoming a wine consultant and journalist. He is now director of The Christie’s Wine Course, which he founded with Christie's Education in 1982.[2] He is also a wine consultant to Singapore Airlines, and consultant editor to Decanter.[5]


Spurrier has received several international awards for wine writing including Le Prix de Champagne Lanson and the Bunch Prize, both for articles published in Decanter. In 2001 he was awarded Le Grand Prix de l’Academie Internationale du Vin and The Maestro Award in honor of Andre Tchelistcheff. In 1988 he was made Le Personalite de l’Annee (Oenology) for his services to French wine. He has also received the Ritz Carlton Millennia Singapore Lifetime Achievement Award and the Prix Louis Marinier. He is a regular judge on the international wine tasting circuit and the chairman of the Japan Wine Challenge and the Decanter World Wine Awards.[2]


Alan Rickman portrayed Steven Spurrier in the 2008 film Bottle Shock. During its production, Spurrier warned of taking legal action in the event of misrepresentation. Having read the script, Spurrier stated, "There is hardly a word that is true in the script and many, many pure inventions as far as I am concerned".[6]


  • The Academie Du Vin Concise Guide to French Country Wines (1984) ISBN 978-0-399-50829-5
  • How to Buy Fine Wines (1986)
  • Academie Du Vin Wine Course (1991) with Michel Dovaz ISBN 978-0-02-613262-6
  • Clarke & Spurrier's Fine Wine Guide (1998) with Oz Clarke ISBN 978-0-15-100412-6
  • Wine - A Way of Life (2018) ISBN 978-0-95-623878-8

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b International Wina Academy of Roma Steven Spurrier
  2. ^ a b c d e f Robinson, Jancis (27 May 2006). "Steven Spurrier - champion of French wines".
  3. ^ Spurrier, Steven (6 September 2008). "Which is best: old or new?". The Guardian.
  4. ^ Prial, Frank J. (3 August 1988). "Briton Selling Paris Wine Interests". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Decanter Contributors". Decanter. 2007. Retrieved 28 March 2009.
  6. ^ Lechmere, Adam (27 July 2007). "Spurrier threatens action against rival Judgement of Paris film". Retrieved 11 April 2009.

External links[edit]