Len Evans

Business leader
Inducted 28 November 2007

Leonard Paul Evans was born in England in 1930, where he grew up and attended school.  Len was accepted at Cambridge University to study architecture but wanted to be a golf professional. He became a fitness instructor with the Royal Air Force before migrating in 1953 to New Zealand, where he taught golf and felled trees.

Len arrived in Australia in 1955, where his early jobs included working on the dingo fence in outback Queensland, welding, and washing glasses in a Sydney hotel. He also wrote TV scripts, including for The Mavis Bramston Show.

Eventually, Len settled on a career in the food and wine industry, and established the finest cellar of Australian and imported wines in the country at the Chevron Hilton. He was also Australia’s first regular wine columnist.

In 1965, Len established the Australian Wine Bureau to promote Australian wine, and in 1968 he founded Len Evans Wines and The Rothbury Estate, commencing his long association with Pokolbin as a resident and businessman.

Len’s expertise and knowledge of wine won him national and international accolades and awards, including being the first winner of the Epicurean Award in 1969 for services to the Wine and Food Industry in Australia.  This led to Len’s serving as a Wine Judge for many years, in 1972 he was the only non-French member of the super jury for the Tasse d'or award at Tournous in France, and in 1979, the only Australian to judge the Olympiades de Gault and Millaut in Paris.

Len became Chairman of Judges in Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide, and was one of the few wine judges to have adjudicated at all major Australian wine shows. In 1990 Len was appointed the President of The Australian Wine Foundation.

Len’s business enterprise saw the establishment of the Evans Wine Company, Petaluma, Evans Family Wines, Tower Estate. Len Evans Wines, a wine shop and restaurant in Bulletin Place, Sydney, made him a legend in the industry.

Len was a prolific author and wrote a number of books including, the first encyclopaedia of Australian wine, Wine for Profit, The Galloping Gourmet, Indulgences, Good Evans, and the Complete Book of Australian Wine. Len also wrote articles for The Bulletin, Independent, Qantas Traveller, Sunday Mirror and Weekend Australian.

Len was well-known as a public speaker and fund raiser for charity, and was involved in hundreds of charity occasions during his life.

Len’s contribution to the development of the Hunter wine and tourism industries over the past 30 years has been of great significance. He was awarded an OBE in 1982 and an AO in 1999.

In 2001, Len established the Len Evans Tutorial, a series of masterclass's for selected wine scholars, designed to train show judges. The Tutorial has played a significant role in shaping many present and future wine industry leaders, and in 2016 won the Maurice O'Shea Award, the Australian wine industry’s most prestigious accolade.

Len died in 2006.

For more information:

Plaque location

Visitor Information Centre, Wine Country Drive, Pokolbin