The varsity blind wine-tasting competition is the oldest contest of its kind, founded in 1953 by the legendary Harry Waugh (a cousin of Evelyn and Auberon Waugh) when he was with the historic wine merchant Harveys of Bristol. Champagne Pol Roger assumed the varsity match sponsorship in 1992. A social history - rife with politics, subterfuge, camaraderie and enduring friendships - the book is a collection of oral histories and memoirs - rarely granted interviews and contributions featuring notable competitors over the years and the great and the good of the wine trade and press (a sampling of names appears on the back cover of the book and includes: Robert M Parker Jr, Hugh Johnson OBE, former Cabinet Minister Lord Tom King, former British Ambassador to France Sir Ewen Fergusson, wine personality Oz Clarke, the Rt Hon Sir Timothy Sainsbury, Jancis Robinson OBE MW, Nicholas de Rothschild, David Peppercorn MW, head of Sotheby's wine Serena Sutcliffe MW, Charles Metcalfe, Jeremy Seysess of Domaine Dujac and many more), and is punctuated by sidebars on wine-loving dons, merchants, college wine cellars, wine trade organisations, venues and tasting notes. It reveals in parallel the globalisation of the wine industry, and notes the changing composition of blind wine-tasting team profiles over sixty years (ie, from a privileged British all-male preserve to the inclusion of women, Americans, Asians etc).
'Reds, Whites & Varsity Blues: 60 Years of the Oxford & Cambridge Blind Wine-tasting Competition' was produced and edited by Jennifer Segal in association with Champagne Pol Roger and published (UK, Dec 2013) by Pavilion, an imprint of Anova Books.
Adorned with historical newspaper clippings, photographs and wine ephemera, the book is also inclusive of an appendix with an essay on Blind-Tasting Today' by Edward Ragg and Fongyee Walker of Dragon Phoenix Wine Consulting (shortlisted for the 2013 WSET Wine Educator of the Year Award for their work in Beijing, China) which is coupled with a starter Oxbridge blind wine-tasting guide for readers.
Wine trade/author grandee Michael Broadbent MW recently gave the testimonial below:
"It is absolutely fantastic. It's a book one can pore over ... upside down and in every way ... It's brilliant, wonderfully edited, marvellously put together, most inspiring."
- Michael Broadbent MW
And top British wine writer Jancis Robinson OBE MW named it her favourite wine book of the year:
For further information, early press and reviews, and to purchase a copy (available for UK and international delivery) please visit: