Oz Clarke

Oz Clarke is a prolific writer and endlessly popular both in print and in personal appearances. Breaking new ground with his Webster’s Wine Guide (now published annually as Oz Clarke’s Wine Guide) he has won all the major wine writing awards both in the UK and the USA, including the Glenfiddich (three times), André Simon, Wine Guild (three times), James Beard, Julia Child, World Food Media and Lanson (five times) awards; and most recently in 2006 he won the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition International Drinks Communicator of the Year Award. In 1999 he won the Lanson Special Millennium Award for his outstanding contribution to wine communication and education.

His TV appearances have made Oz a household name. The phenomenally successful Oz and James’ Big Wine Adventure, pairing Oz with James May of Top Gear, broadcast on BBC2, was followed by two further series, the most recent of which was shown on BBC 2 on Tuesday nights entitled Oz and James Drink to Britain.

Throughout the year Oz hosts wine tastings and is in popular demand at the BBC Good Food Show inBirminghamand The Wine Show inLondon, which he appears at annually.

With such endless acclaim throughout the wine industry, Oz has now developed the Connoisseur range of openers, makers and shakers – drinks related products that bear his name.

Oz Clarke’s wine career began when he captained the wine-tasting team for Oxford University. After graduating, Oz spent a number of years as an actor for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The National Theatre, The Old Vic, Chichester and theWest End. Before turning to writing professionally in 1984, Oz was by then a leadingWest Endactor (playing all the men in the Mitford Girls, Sweeny Todd and Peron in Evita).

He has been wine correspondent for The Daily Telegraph. His first book, the first edition of Webster’s Wine Guide (now annually published Oz Clarke’s Wine Guide) won the first Wine Magazine Book of the Year Award and the first Wine Guild of the United Kingdom Wine Writer Award.

Since then he has written Oz Clarke’s New Essential Wine Book, a further eighteen editions of his Wine Guide and The Pocket Wine Book, which again won for Oz the Wine Guild and Wine Magazine Book of the Year Award, Sainsbury’s Regional Wine Guides and Sainsbury’s Pocket Book of Wine. Oz Clarke’s New Classic Wines was a major book about new world-class winemakers and their wines that should, in Oz’s opinion, be regarded as ‘New Classics’. This book won the Glenfiddich, The Andre Simon and The Wine Guild Awards.

In 1995 he launched the Microsoft Wine Guide on CD ROM, which reviews nearly 6,000 wines with regional maps. It has been awarded the Silver Award in the category titled “Vittoria Coffee Best Food and/or Beverage CD Rom or Internet Website. Oz Clarke’s Wine Atlas, was published in October 1995 by Little, Brown and won the Julia Child Cookbook Award in The Wine, Beer and Spirits Category. Published in autumn 1997 were Oz Clarke’s Wine Companions to Bordeaux, Tuscany, Burgundy and California and also Oz Clarke’s Wine Guide 1998. In the first week the Guide went straight to Number One in the Sunday Times Bestseller Chart. Also in 1997 Little, Brown introduced Oz Clarke’s Pocket Wine Book to the trade for the first time. Grapes and Wines, which Oz co-wrote with Margaret Rand, was published in 2001 by Little Brown and it won the Lanson Wine Book of the Year 2002. Oz Clarke’s Wine Guide 2002 on CD-ROM, published by Websters/Focus, was awarded the Lanson Annual Wine Guide of the Year 2002. His latest books include Oz and James’ Big Wine Adventure (BBC Books, 2006), Bordeaux published in November 2006 (Websters) and shortlisted for the André Simon Memorial Awards for food and drink 2006. Most recently. Oz has authored Wine Buying Guide 2009 and the Pocket Wine Guide 2009. Oz and James Drink to Britain was published earlier this year (Jan 2009) by Anova books.

Oz has been given the Special Millennium Award by Le Prix du Champagne Lanson for his outstanding contribution to wine education and communication during the last ten years. Mr Georges Alnot, Managing Director ofChampagneLanson said ‘we are proud to present this Award to Oz Clarke, for his enthusiasm, passion and energy in his field’.

Oz was a presenter of BBC TV’s Food and Drink programme where his remarkable tasting ability has won him great notoriety. He was a regular presenter of the BBC1 daytime makeover show Style Challenge, and according to one TV critic: …’it’s only when the presenter rota turns to Oz Clarke that the programme really bursts into life. Oz is a cheery character who can make any morning feel fine.’ In 1996 Oz filmed his own series An Australian Odyssey, in which he travelled around the outback and the cities retracing the remarkable steps of the Australian wine pioneers. This series was broadcast in Australia and on The Travel Channel in the UK. He has presented a number of wine items for the BBC1 consumer show The Really Useful Show and travel items for BBC Holiday and Summer Holiday programmes. He joined two of his great passions – Ireland and railway lines – in a programme for BBC Northern Ireland called Off the Beaten Track and he also presented a series made by BBC Scotland, The Auld Alliance about the historic links between Scotland and Bordeaux. He has appeared on Songs of Praise singing the songs of Moody and Sankey. He has been the featured artist on Desert Island Discs presented by Sue Lawley. He has guested on The Generation Game, Friends Like These, Call My Bluff, Good Morning, Eat Your Words, Masterchef, Pebble Mill at One, Celebrity Ready Steady Cook, The Travel show, Children in Need Specials, It’s Only TV But I Like It, Christmas Cooks! and Kavanagh QC and many more programmes.

Oz spent most of the summer of 2006 in the depths of Francefilming a primetime series for BBC 2 along with his co-host James May of Top Gear fame. The show, Oz and James’s Big Wine Adventure was aired on BBC 2 and attracted huge numbers of viewers. Such was the success of the show, another was commissioned, this time shot in California, which broadcast on BBC2 in Autumn 2007. The show won Best Broadcast programme from Visit USA. The third series of Oz and James’ Drink to Britain has just been on our screens, again on BBC 2.

2009 has been an award winning year for Oz – he won the International Wine Personality of the Year Award, along with James Mary and then the prestigious Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Award for his book, Bordeaux.

Oz Clarke lives in West London, where, when not writing about wine, he likes to avoid drinking altogether (except for the occasional pint of Fuller’s ESB), playing any sport he can lay his hands on and dreaming wistfully of lying on a palm-fringed sandy beach somewhere near to the Equator.