Michael Broadbent


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MICHAEL BROADBENT MW [1927-2020] 

 The late Michael Broadbent was not directly involved with Broadbent Selections but he was an enthusiastic supporter. Other than encouragement and pride, his main contribution to Broadbent Selections was when his son, Bartholomew, sent Michael and his mother, Daphne, to the island of Madeira to help develop the blends for Broadbent Madeira.  

 In 1960, Michael became the 24th Master of Wine. He trained as an architect, but at age 25 changed his career to enter the wine trade. He started with Layton’s, then Saccone and Speed before becoming the National Sales Director for Harvey’s of Bristol. In 1966 he established the Wine Department at Christie’s. As an auctioneer he pioneered wine sales in Amsterdam, Geneva, Sydney, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and the United States, including founding the Napa Valley Wine Auction with Robert Mondavi. 

 Receiving France’s second highest honor, Chevalier dans L’Order National du Merite from the French Government, his other awards are too numerous to list but they include Decanter’s ‘Man of the Year’ and Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service Award. He held many important and prestigious positions during his career, including being the first Hon President of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust [WSET], President of The International Wine and Food Society, Chairman of The Institute of Masters of Wine, Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, Chairman of The Wine & Spirit Trades Benevolent Society, Wine Consultant for British Airways and for Cunard. 

 He was a columnist for six publications, including writing 433 consecutive monthly columns for Decanter magazine. He wrote 14 books and contributed chapters to many others. His first book, Wine Tasting, has been continuously in print since 1968, translated into 8 languages. The Great Vintage Wine Book was the first ever book published with tasting notes. He won 16 major literary awards including a James Beard award for Michael Broadbent’s Vintage Wine.  

 He was twice married. In 1954 to Daphne until her death [1931-2015] and then to Dr. Valerie Smallwood in 2019. In addition to his son, Bartholomew, he has an older daughter, Emma, The Lady Arbuthnot DBE, a High Court Judge in the UK. Michael died from natural causes in 2020 at the age of 92.