Len Evans was my closest friend, my greatest mentor, and I still mourn his death. Our friendship was based on many common interests from seven card stud poker, to fly-fishing for trout, and – of course – wine. For that was where it all started 50 years ago.

He was a brilliant speaker and educator, able to impart knowledge in a way that inspired, not intimidated, those who wanted to learn more about wine.

The foundation for his teaching was a profound knowledge of the great wines of France, a formidable memory of the tens of thousands he had tasted, and – above all else – an outstanding palate.

He was an eternal optimist, and lived life to the full. He was a glass-half-full man, and this underwrote his appreciation of wine, whether at the dinner table or in the stress-test of wine show judging.

He could recognise wine faults as well as anyone, but preferred to look at these in the overall context of the wine. The fault would not be forgiven or ignored, but – unless it was marked – this wasn’t the end of the matter.

His voice comes through loud and clear in his eBook How To Taste Wine, available for a paltry $4.99.

James Halliday

A Xoum Publication.
    Len Evans

    Len Evans was born in Felixstowe, England, of Welsh parents. He migrated to New Zealand in 1953, then to Australia in 1955. He became the first regular wine columnist in Australia in 1962, was the founding director of the Australian Wine Bureau in 1965, and wrote the first major encyclopaedia of Australian wine in 1973. He was one of the first to recognise that the future of Australian wine lay in table wines rather than in the sweet fortified wines in which the country then specialised. Evans was chairman of Rothbury Wines since its founding in 1969 until 1996, and Petaluma from 1978 until 1992. He was chairman of Evans Wine Company since 1996, Evans Family Wines from 1980 and Tower Estate since its founding in 1998. He transformed the blind tasting of wine into a competition sport through his creating and developing the options game in which competitors attempt to identify wines. He received many awards, including the Epicurean Award for services to the Wine and Food Industry, the Charles Heidsieck Award for Wine Writing, Personalité de l’Année, (1986) Paris (Oenology section – Gastronomy), Chevalier de l’Ordre Merite Agricole (French government), first life member of the Society Of Wine Educators (1995), and elected member of the College of Patrons of the Australian Wine Industry, Restaurant Association Hall of Fame, Decanter’ Magazine – International Award for Man of the Year. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1982 and an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1999. After a history of heart disease dating from 1976, Len Evans died of a heart attack on 17 August 2006, in Newcastle, New South Wales.