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James Halliday announces retirement

Published:  09 May, 2024

Veteran Australian wine critic James Halliday AM has announced he is stepping back from his wine writing and tasting commitments, while also embarking on a wine memoir.

Now 85 years old, Halliday has had an illustrious career. He has written and co-authored more than 40 books on wine over the past 25 years, including contributions to the Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine. Since 1986 he has published an annual overview of Australian wine, titled James Halliday Annual Wine Companion. He was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2010.

Jancis Robinson has described Halliday as the protégé of Len Evans, and his successor "as Australia’s leading wine writer".

He retired from his weekly column in The Weekend Australian earlier this year, with his final column released in April after a tenure of 40 years.

As Halliday steps into this new chapter, he will be using this time to compile a lifetime of wine memories.

He said: “Late last year I made the decision that I was going to seriously cut back on my work commitments. Having turned 85, I wanted to fully focus on what I want to do, and that is writing about 50 years of great wine dinners I’ve attended or staged. This work has no deadline, has no space constraints, and is something that has been simmering in my mind and heart for the past half-decade as my ‘swansong’.

“Recent health issues have made me wish even more for this to have my sole attention. So, while my fondness for writing is undiminished, and with my family's support, I will be quiet on the wine media front until I can share the birth of my last child.”