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First Decanter editor dies

Former Decanter editor and wine trade veteran Tony Lord has died in his late 50s.

With Colin Parnell, Lord was the co-founder and first editor of Decanter. The two were working at trade magazine Wines and Spirits when in 1975 they spotted a gap in the market for a consumer wine magazine.

Decanter was launched in September 1975 and cost 40p. It was put together in a leaky shed beneath the arches of London’s Waterloo station. When it rained the water would lap around the young publishers’ shoes.

An ebullient Australian, Lord was Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp’s previous boss. ‘He was one of the great characters of the wine business,’ she remembers. ‘Without Tony’s energy and enthusiasm there’s no question – there would have been no Decanter.’

Lord was a specialist in the New World and Spain. He left Decanter to return to his native Perth in the early 1990s, where he bought a vineyard called Chapman’s Creek in Margaret River.

Jeremy Watson, former head of Wines of Spain and a friend of Lord’s, remembers a volatile character. ‘He had a sense of humour that wasn’t to everyone’s taste, but he was brilliant at his job.

‘I remember once, after the 1986 Sherry Vintage Festival in Jerez, he was put on a plane at Seville at seven in the morning, after a particularly enthusiastic night. He got off at Heathrow still in his dinner jacket, went straight to the office, and turned out four pages of the best copy I’ve ever seen.’

Written by Adam Lechmere21 February 2002

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