Hugh Johnson, younger son of a London lawyer, began his life-long passion for wine in all its variety as a member of the Wine & Food Society at Cambridge University, where he gained an Honours Degree in English literature. When he left King's College in 1961 he became a feature writer for Vogue and House & Garden, writing, among other articles, travel and wine columns for both magazines and their sister-papers in New York.
In 1963, as a result of his close friendship with the octogenarian André Simon, the founder of The International Wine & Food Society, he became General Secretary of the Society and succeeded the legendary gastronome as editor of its magazine Wine & Food. At the same time he became wine correspondent of The Sunday Times and started work on his first book, Wine, whose publication in 1966 established him as one of the foremost English gastronomic writers. There are now over 800,000 copies in print in seven languages and the book is still regularly reprinted. After a year as Travel Editor of The Sunday Times he became editor of Queen Magazine, in two years doubling the circulation of the fashionable glossy. It was 1969 when James Mitchell of the newly-founded publishing house Mitchell Beazley invited him to write The World Atlas of Wine. The research involved took Hugh Johnson all over the world; the result was a best-seller that might justly claim to have put wine on the map. Its publication was described by the Director of the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine in his Foreword as "un événement majeur de la littérature vinicole".
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