Robert B Morrisey, the founder and first editor of US wine magazine Wine Spectator has died aged 78.

Morrissey, a US marine for 25 years and subsequently founder, publisher and editor of the Wine Spectator, died on 26 March in San Diego.

He served for a year in Korea as a marine combat correspondent, then as public information officer for marine commands in California, Hawaii, and Washington DC. Awarded the Secretary of the Navy Achievement Medal for outstanding performance, Major Morrisey retired from active duty in 1967.

Morrisey started Wine Spectator in 1976, operating it on a shoestring budget as twice-a-month newspaper, and sold it to Marvin Shanken – the present publisher – in 1979.

‘Bob was the original visionary who saw the possibilities of the Wine Spectator’s future. He had the faith to sacrifice whatever was necessary to keep it going in the early years,’ said Shanken in a statement.

Cookery writer and Decanter’s restaurant critic Brian St Pierre described Morrissey as ‘an old-fashioned, courteous gent, married to the same lady for 54 years, soft-spoken, devoted to the idea of wine as a down-to-earth but still exalted pleasure, and worthy of real journalistic coverage.’

He added, ‘On a story he had the tenacity of a terrier. He was the first to cover the Paris tasting of 1976 in detail. The Wine Spectator back then was a

tabloid newspaper, at first operating out of Morrisey’s garage. Bob’s persistence

and journalistic standards made it into a must-read publication.’

Written by Adam Lechmere