Decanter consultant editor Steven Spurrier has been awarded Le Grand Prix de L'Academie Internationale du Vin – only the third recipient of the prize in 20 years.

The AIV was founded in 1971 by Constance Bourquin, a Swiss philosopher and wine lover. It now has 122 members, an international group of producers, merchants and business people with an interest in wine. Membership is by election only.

Le Grand Prix was created in 1982 and was first awarded to the late renowned enologist Professor Jean Branas. The second winner was Michael Broadbent in 1992. The 2001 prize is the third time the prize has been awarded.

Spurrier (pictured) is delighted with the honour, for which he was given a magnum decanter created by Georg Riedel. ‘I immediately christened it with a bottle of Château de Beaucastel 1979 (Châteauneuf-du-Pape), for the prize was given to me by (owner) Jean-Pierre Perrin, Chancelier of the Academie,’ he told decanter.com.

At the same time, California’s Beaulieu Vineyard named Spurrier winner of the Maestro Award, for distinguished service to the American wine industry. The award was created in honour of the 100th anniversary of the birth of legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff, winemaker at BV for 40 years.

Current BV winemaker Joel Aiken paid tribute to Spurrier for his 1976 Paris Tasting, which famously pitted Californian wines against the finest wines Bordeaux and Burgundies. A Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon outperformed old world rivals in a competition that is now the stuff of legend.

‘Steven Spurrier continues to be a loyal supporter of the wine industry in this country,’ Aiken said.

Written by Adam Lechmere12 December 2001