Producers rushed to change his mind, and he bought the New SouthWales producer Murray Tyrrell"s Vat 47 that year, as well asreds from McWilliam"s winery. In 1966 Avery was the first tointroduce Penfolds Grange (arguably Australia"s greatestwine) to the British market. A decade later he made his first tripto New Zealand and became the first to champion and import winesfrom there. Over the years he continued to travel. He thrived on making newdiscoveries, and his talents as a judge made him a feature on thepanels of wine competitions from Hong Kong to Tasmania. |
He evenjudged English wines on these shores. Avery loved wine itself, however, more than he loved the business,and over the years the family"s hold on the firm diminished.Partly due to fluctuating wine prices and various recessions,Averys was gradually sold off. After a brief, amiable partnershipwith Clarke Swanson, of Swanson Vineyards, the company waseventually sold to the Pieroth group. But in 2001 Direct Winesacquired Averys, and John Avery was again encouraged to roam thevinous wilds of the world, uncorking new wonders. Avery became a Master of Wine in 1975 and chairman of the Instituteof Masters of Wine in 2000.
He was also chairman of theInternational Wine and Food Society and Master of the VintnersCompany in 2005. He was passionate about the theatre, an interest which saw himrecruited as a financial "angel" for variousproductions. Approached by a loyal customer, he was once asked toinvest in a musical about cats and then one featuring rollerskates. He obliged.
Those investments, he said, proved moresuccessful than any he had made in the wine trade, and thecustomer, Lord Lloyd-Webber, became a lifelong friend . A keen member of MCC and Somerset County Cricket Club, he alsoloved watching racing and rugby. John Avery married, in 1967, Sarah Midgley, who survives him withtheir four children, of whom the eldest, Michelle, follows him inthe business. John Avery, born December 27 1941, died March 23 2012.
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