Len Evans, a giant of the Australian wine industry over the past half century, has died of a heart attack at 75, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
He was the country's first regular wine columnist, starting in 1962, and went on to become a judge and director of several prestigious wine competitions; chairman of Rothbury Wines from its start in 1969 until he left in 1996, steering its growth from 10,000 cases per year to 650,000 cases; and author of the first major encylopedia of Australian wine, published in 1973. He also was chairman of the Australian wineries Petaluma, Evans Family Wines and Tower Estate.
Aside from his commercial involvement in the trade, Evans was a philanthrophist, helping raise millions of dollars for various charities through his orchestration of benefit wine auctions.
His many awards include the Chevalier de l'Ordre Merite Agricole from the French government, the first life membership in the Society of Wine Educators, and "Man of the Year" by Decanter Magazine in 1997.