Friday, August 18, 2006

Vale Len Evans OBE (1931-2006)

I did not know Len Evans personally but I have heard him speak and I have certainly read a lot of stuff he has written. Even though I did not know him I feel a sense of loss at his passing yesterday. Some called him the Godfather of the Australian Wine Industry.

I don't know enough about him so I have copied the following piece about Len from the
Winepros site - he will be sorely missed in Australia and, I am sure, around the world.

Len Evans was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) in 1982 for his services to the wine industry and charity, and the AO (Order of Australia) in 1999 for his continued work in those fields.

He was the first regular wine columnist in Australia (1962), wrote the first major encyclopedia of Australian Wine (1973) was the founding director of The Australian Wine Bureau. (1965)Since 1982 he has been President of The Australian Wine Foundation, (1990-1996) Chairman of Wine Australia '96, has continued to write, lecture and broadcast on numerous occasions and has been a leader in the export drive. During the '80s he was the first Australian to be asked to address the biggest event of its kind in the world, the Wine Spectator Wine Experience in New York. This led to two further invitations, which further led to being made Master of Ceremonies for the event a role he has continued to fill. He is the only non-American to be part of the annual personnel of the event. He has also been prominent in other countries, most notably the U.K, where, as in the U.S.A, he has represented Australia rather than his own companies.

He has been a member of the Qantas selection panel for 35 years and Chairman of it for 30. Having judged all major wine shows in Australia before 1982, (acting as Chairman of R.A.S Sydney since 1977) Evans went on to become Chairman of the National Wine Show in Canberra (1982-90), Chairman of Adelaide (1987-90) the Hunter Wine Show (1994 - ) and remaining Chairman of Sydney. During this time the Australian Show system became the envy of wine industries of the world. Above all else, he has been instrumental in helping lift the standard of wine show judging to its present pre-eminence in the world.

Evans was Chairman of Rothbury Wines since its foundation in 1969, and Petaluma since 1978. He remained Chairman of Petaluma until 1992, during which time it went from a 500 case company to one making 80,000 cases, establishing a worldwide reputation. He was Chairman of Rothbury Wines till 1996, which went from a 10,000 case company in 1972 to one of 650,000 cases in 1996, employing over 200 persons.He has been Chairman of Evans Wine Company since 1996, Evans Family Wines from 1980 and Tower Estate since its conception in 1998.

Since 1957 Evans has supported fund-raising drives for charity on hundreds of occasions. Typically, in 1987 he accepted an invitation to help a function founded by Australian Associated Press (AAP) to raise money for the St Vincent's Leukaemia Unit. This led to a further call in 1988 and from that date he became involved on an annual basis. In 1993, it was renamed the "AAP Len Evans Financial Markets Day" after raising $1,000,000 in 1992. The event has raised $10,000,000 in 14 years, and many charities, including the original, have benefited greatly. Evans has personally organised many of the events, lots, cellars and collections which have become a feature of the annual auction which he conducts, as well as donating the wine for the sponsor's lunch and the actual event.

1969 Epicurean Award for services to the Wine & Food Industry. 1982 Charles Heidseick Award for Wine Writing1986 Personalitee de l'Annee, Paris (Oenology section - Gastronomy)1992 RAS Sydney Medal for Outstanding Contribution 1993 Chevalier de l'Ordre Merite Agricole (French Government)1995 SMH Food Guide Award for Professional Excellence1995 1st Life Member of the Society Of Wine Educators1995 NSW Award for Outstanding Contribution to the NSW Wine Industry1995 Elected Member of the College of Patrons of the Australian Wine Industry.1996 Restaurant Association Hall of Fame1997 'Decanter' Magazine - International Award for"MAN OF THE YEAR"1998 Graham Gregory Award1999 Awarded AO - Appointment as a Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia.


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