One of the most respected and admired figures in the wine world, Harry Waugh, has died aged 97.

Frequently described with the epithet ‘legendary’, the prolific merchant, writer, journalist and connoisseur was one of the great innovators, championing Californian wines, Beaujolais, Zinfandel and Bordeaux with equal enthusiasm. Here his daughter Harriet, Decanter tastings editor, pays tribute to her much-loved father.

I am very sad to say that my wonderful and extremely vivacious father has died at the ripe and untarnished age of 97. He was a contributor to Decanter for a long period as well as other magazines, an author of nine books (and one unpublished) and an instigator of so much of what we take for granted in the wine trade today.

Without question, he was a constant source of inspiration and admiration to many figureheads in the wine world, having begun tasting and writing at a time when wine was virtually unknown to all but a select group of experts and aficionadoes.

He was incredibly fit – due in large part to the fine wine he consumed during his life. His love of wine and good food never left him. Harry was also a fantastic husband to my mother Prue who provided him with twins (my brother Jamie and me) when he was at the mature age of 69.

He managed four flights of stairs every day, went for regular walks and never let his age get the better of him.

It was ironic that the day before he died, he asked whether he had been ill. This was not a sign of forgetfulness but of his strong will for life. At the very end he requested a gin and ginger – his favourite pre-dinner tipple – which we promised for the following night. Sadly he didn’t recover to drink it.

Au revoir Bon Viveur.

Harry Waugh, MBE, wine merchant, writer and connoisseur, 9 June 1904 – 28 November 2001

Picture courtesy Times Newspapers

Written by Harriet Waugh30 November 2001