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Popular trade figure Terry Threlfall passes away

Published:  19 October, 2020

It was with surprise and a heavy heart that the wine trade community – in the UK and beyond – received the news of Terry Threlfall’s untimely death. Terry passed away last Friday from a heart attack, aged just 43.

Born in Vancouver, Canada, Terry found his love for wine and started his career as a sommelier, somewhat by accident, while doing part-time stints as a waiter during his high school years. With charm, warmth and an innate ability to make people feel comfortable, Terry was a perfect host and, not surprisingly, at the tender age of 19 had secured a position as maître d’ at Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver.

He made his way across the pond in 2003. After a short period as head sommelier at Richard Corrigan’s Lindsay House, the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce became his professional home. For seven years, Threlfall was the restaurant’s head sommelier and wine buyer, consolidating his status and recognition in the London dining scene.

In 2010 he made his way back to Vancouver to become wine director at Hotel Georgia’s Hawksworth Restaurant. He went on to found and run Clos Fine Wines while consulting for restaurants on both sides of the Atlantic.

Terry would eventually return to London to take his most recent role as sommelier and wine buying director at Selfridge’s. He was a regular face at tasting and judging panels, namely at Decanter World Wine Awards.

Having myself shared tasting panels, trips and judging duties with Terry, I will forever miss his bonhomie and unassuming knowledge. Tasting (and drinking!) with Terry was an interesting, friendly and fun exchange. His death is a huge loss for hospitality, the wine trade and to all those who called him a colleague and friend.

Wine writer Jamie Goode had long known Terry and the two were, over the years, regular tasting and travel companions. Jamie says: “I met Terry for the first time in Vancouver, and he was charming and smart […]. Terry knew a great deal about wine – you don't get one of the top jobs in London without expertise like this. But he wore his knowledge lightly. Everyone loved him, and this has been a real shock.”

The team at Westbury Communications echo this sense of appreciation and loss: “Terry was always such a joy to be around. We were so lucky to have the opportunity to spend time with him on press trips over the years and we will cherish our memories of him. He will be so deeply missed.”

Alexandre Freguin, who until recently held the head sommelier post at Chez Bruce that was once Terry’s, remembers “how happy he was when I told him I was taking the job. Terry was honest, true and generous. Everything I love about people I share wine with. Knowledgeable and humble… I wish we could have opened more bottles together.”

As we all do. His professionalism, love for food and wine and, above all, his unique congeniality will be much missed and always remembered.

Picture: Terry at a Ribera del Duero dinner organised by Westbury and Harpers earlier this year.