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Hugh Johnson awarded OBE

Published:  23 July, 2008

Author and wine writer Hugh Johnson has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

Hugh Eric Allan Johnson was honoured for his services to winemaking and horticulture. Best known for The World Atlas of Wine and the Pocket Wine Book guides published annually since 1977, Johnson, 67, is also a noted gardening expert and author.

[The OBE] is really gratifying. I'm particularly pleased to have been recognised for the two different areas of my life that have given me such pleasure over the years. Being honoured for "winemaking" is a slightly odd choice of term, however, since I'm certain no one would award me anything for wine I made!

Though, obviously, I'm proud of Tokaji,' he hastened to add, being one of a group of foreign investors who started the Royal Tokaji Wine Company in 1989.

Johnson, who will receive his honour from the Queen on 9 February, has been tasting, buying and writing about wine for more than 45 years, since his interest was sparked as a member of Cambridge University's Wine and Food Society.

In 2004, he became a Chevalier dans l'Ordre National du Merit, one of the highest civilian honours awarded by the French government.

To me, the OBE is more significant, but to have two gongs from my two favourite countries is very gratifying,' he added.