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Len Evans RIP

Published:  18 January, 2007

We had such an overwhelming response to our request for comments about and tributes to Len Evans, who died last week, that we decided to hold over another feature and give over two and a half pages to this pioneer and pillar of the modern-day Australian wine industry.

I met the great man only once, but - indirectly - I have him to thank for landing a job at Harpers. I was freelancing for a PR company whose client was the cork manufacturer Amorim. Len was passionate about corks and was some sort of consultant/

ambassador for the company, who wanted to line up journalists to interview him at the then London Wine Trade Fair. This I duly did, and in doing, so thought I must send my CV to Harpers. The rest is history.

Len was part of the generation who built the Australian wine industry. Yet this hard-drinking, larger-than-life, bear of a man, actually came from Felixstowe via New Zealand. He did some welding, fenced out rabbits and dingoes, and washed glasses before he broke into the hospitality industry.

Len's demise serves to highlight the fact that he and his peers are all of a certain age and, while the Australian wine industry has changed so much from those early days, we have come to expect larger-than-life characters from down under. Len will be sorely missed and let us hope the new gatekeepers promote the product as enthusiastically and tirelessly as Len did. Good on ya mate - RIP.

Christian Davis