Raymond Postgate (1896-1971)

One of the most important figures in mid-20th century wine writing. A classical scholar – his professor father made him speak Greek and Latin at meals and he always made his tasting notes in Greek – he was a man of vigorous and practical socialist views; he went to prison in World War I as a conscientious objector, in very much the same spirit as an ancestor of his, the Blessed John Postgate, had gone to the stake for his beliefs. He wrote a number of biographies, bookson history, detective stories, founded and edited The Good Food Guide,’and is much respected for The Plain Man’s Guide to Wine (1951) and An Alphabet of Choosing and Serving Wine (1958). These provided well-written information for the thousands of people who had no background knowledge of wine but wished to learn something about it without encountering the pompousity and snobbishness of certain wine writers.

Raymond was a delightful, hospitable man, whose erudition never clogged his admirable writing style. He was an important witness in the ‘Champagne Case’ (1960) when certain French Champagne houses challenged the Spanish right to use the word ‘Champagne’ (see Perelada). Raymond’s cross-examination was interrupted by the break for lunch; so he walked up from the Law Courts to attend a wine tasting, looked at the wines, had his own lunch and then returned for the end of the cross-examination. The French won their case and Raymond, asked if he hadn’t felt nervous about the break while he was giving evidence, was surprised – he was going to tell the truth, he said, so why should he have been worried? And he wanted to see the wines that were being showed nearby.

16. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Spirits, Uncategorized, Wine, Wine Dictionary | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Raymond Postgate (1896-1971)

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