Obituary: Derek Smedley MW

British master of wine Derek Smedley who enjoyed a long and varied career in the wine trade has passed away.

Following two years in the Royal Navy and then studying law at Queens’ College Cambridge, Derek joined Bristol merchants John Harvey and Sons in 1961.

In 1966 he went to Watney Mann’s wine division which was soon sold to International Distillers and Vintners

Derek passed his MW examinations in 1968 and in 1972 joined Whitbread as wine buyer which saw him travel extensively.

In 1977 he passed an “enjoyable year” as chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine.

Made redundant in 1985 when Whitbread sold off its wine arm he founded Smedley Vintners which he then sold in 1999 to develop a greater role in consultancy.

Up until his death, Derek was a well-known wine consultant at institutions around the City of London, “looking after” (as he called it) four livery companies, as well as the Carlton Club and Royal College of Physicians elsewhere in town.

He also consulted for Stone House Hotel in Wensleydale and Warden Abbey Vineyard in Bedfordshire.

An accomplished taster, widely admired and respected in the trade, Derek was particularly known for his love and knowledge of Bordeaux – an affinity that began in 1961 but which he said was particularly cemented in 1968, “through my involvement with Château Loudenne”, which was run by a close friend and fellow MW Martin Bamford for IDV.

His experience of tasting en primeur was near enough unparalleled.

Leave your reply

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

In restaurant news: the UK restaurant market is expected to grow by almost a third this year, a report finds test and trace data from restaurants was barely used, and restaurants in Texas reopen at full capacity. 

Liquid Icons launches The Golden Vines Awards

Liquid Icons, founded by the late, great Gerard Basset OBE MW MS and Lewis Chester DipWSET, has announced the launch of The Golden Vines Awards, which will raise funds for, and promote, diversity and inclusion in the industry.

English wine industry plans digital campaign and hospitality fundraiser

Building on the success of a similar event last year, Jacob Leadley, CEO of Hampshire winery Black Chalk, and industry body WineGB are to launch the Big English Wine Easter campaign.

Hong Kong Tourism Board to boost local hospitality

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announced its new year work plan, setting out a series of flexible strategies to prepare for the return of tourists and continue support for the local hospitality industry.

Lease terminated on Covid-hit Hong Kong restaurant

Mr. Ming’s Chinese Dining, a restaurant in Hong Kong that has reported a cluster outbreak of Covid-19 recently, has had its lease terminated by its landlord, the K11 Musea shopping mall.

Most Recent Stories

Amuse-bouches: The latest restaurant news bites

In restaurant news: the UK restaurant market is expected to grow by almost a third this year, a report finds test and trace data from restaurants was barely used, and restaurants in Texas reopen at full capacity. 

Liquid Icons launches The Golden Vines Awards

Liquid Icons, founded by the late, great Gerard Basset OBE MW MS and Lewis Chester DipWSET, has announced the launch of The Golden Vines Awards, which will raise funds for, and promote, diversity and inclusion in the industry.

English wine industry plans digital campaign and hospitality fundraiser

Building on the success of a similar event last year, Jacob Leadley, CEO of Hampshire winery Black Chalk, and industry body WineGB are to launch the Big English Wine Easter campaign.

Hong Kong Tourism Board to boost local hospitality

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announced its new year work plan, setting out a series of flexible strategies to prepare for the return of tourists and continue support for the local hospitality industry.

Lease terminated on Covid-hit Hong Kong restaurant

Mr. Ming’s Chinese Dining, a restaurant in Hong Kong that has reported a cluster outbreak of Covid-19 recently, has had its lease terminated by its landlord, the K11 Musea shopping mall.