David Campbell, the publisher of France’s most celebrated wine book, the Guide Hachette des Vins, has been awarded the Legion d’Honneur.
The French ambassador, Gerard Errera, presented Campbell with the medal at a reception in London on Monday.
Now a Chevalier of the order, Campbell was given the honour in recognition of his services to publishing on both sides of the Channel.
As the recipient of one of France’s highest accolades he is in good company. Last July Serena Sutcliffe MW became the first member of the British wine trade to be awarded the medal. Other Chevaliers are Robert Parker, Julia Child, Martin Scorsese and Valentino.
In a speech at the reception he said he was ‘honoured and utterly amazed’ to be receiving the award.
‘I confess I thought my 14 enjoyable years in French publishing long forgotten by anybody but myself. I did on occasion think how incredibly lucky I was to be being paid to do what I liked to do, publish books, in that most gloriously beautiful of foreign capitals, Paris.’
Between 1982 and 1990 Campbell was international publishing director of Hachette in Paris, where he was instrumental in the creation of France’s leading wine book, the Guide Hachette des Vins.
In the UK he is greatly respected for turning around the fortunes of 100-year-old publisher the Everyman Library, re-launching the classic editions and turning a moribund publishing house into a success.
At the end of the 1990s he raised £9m funding for a project to give the entire 300 volumes of the Everyman main series to the library of each of Britain’s 4,300 state secondary schools, and 77 schools in developing countries worldwide. That project is now complete.
Campbell continues to head Everyman, and is also running www.fromvineyardsdirect with Esme Johnstone – co-founder of Majestic Wine and former head of Chateau de Sours.
www.fromvineyardsdirect specialises in what they describe as ‘a personal choice of favourite wines’ which are sold to the public at an average of 20% less than retail prices.
The website is running a season of forums called ‘Talk to our Winemaker’, in which the public can speak directly to some of Europe’s top names.
Chateau Leoville Barton’s Lilian Barton is the current winemaker online.
Written by Adam Lechmere