Terry Robards, a Voice for Fine Wine in America, Dies at 84

Terry Robards, a longtime reporter and wine writer for The New York Times who later served as a columnist for Wine Spectator, died last month at the age of 84. The cause was heart failure.

Robards wrote his best-known works between the 1960s and 1980s, at a time when many Americans were just discovering wine. Sales had long lagged behind beer and spirits, but younger Americans began trying fine wines from Europe, and the California wine industry shifted toward dry, high quality table wines. Robards was a leading source of information for these new wine aficionados.

“Terry was among the few highly regarded wine writers in his day,” said Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator.

Sherman Marshall “Terry” Robards was born Oct. 7, 1939, in New York City. He grew up in Westchester County and attended Hamilton College. He had fallen in love with writing as a teen, submitting an article to a hunting and fishing magazine at age 13. Just out of college, he went to work for a newspaper in White Plains, and in 1962, he moved to the New York Herald Tribune. His main focus in those years was financial reporting. He began working for The New York Times in 1967.

Robards became enamored with wine during the early 1960s while attending cocktail parties—he wanted something lower in alcohol to drink. He was soon exploring Beaujolais and Burgundy. While working for The Times, he reported on business aspects of the wine industry, wrote an occasional wine article for The Times Magazine and spent much of his vacation time visiting wine regions.

[article-img-container][src=2024-06/ns_terry-robards-book-061724_1080.jpg] [credit= (Photo Courtesy of Terry Robards Wine and Spirits)] [alt= Terry Robards holds a copy of his book, The New York Times Book of Wine.][end: article-img-container]

In 1972, Robards proposed writing The New York Times Book of Wine, a companion to food critic Craig Claiborne’s New York Times Cook Book. He moved to London to work as a foreign correspondent and spent his free time touring and researching wine regions across Europe. The book was published in 1976, shortly after he had returned to New York. Soon afterward, he became a weekly wine columnist for the newspaper.

In 1983, Robards left The Times after the editors objected to a major French wine company sponsoring his second book. Robards said he had not been aware of the financial backing. He became a freelance journalist, writing for the New York Post and contributing a regular column to Wine Spectator. He also moved to his longtime vacation home in the Adirondacks and in 1988 opened a store there, Terry Robards Wine and Spirits.

Robards is survived by his wife, Julie, sons John and Jeffrey, two grandsons, and several step-children and step-grandchildren.

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Source : https://www.winespectator.com/articles/wine-journalist-terry-robards-dies