Oeno-File, the Wine & Gastronomy Column

by Frank Ward

About Frank Ward

Trained as an artist (a painter, to be precise – to see some of my oils, pastels and drawings, click here). I moved into wine sideways, like a crab, and have now been involved in this fascinating metier for some thirty years.

It was a career that started, oddly enough, in Sweden where I lived for quite some time. In those days the old Swedish state monopoly used to list dozens of fine old clarets from the fifties, forties, and even farther back. Few paid any attention to them and they just gathered dust on the shelves of the dreary monopoly shops. I used to buy and sample them, usually by the half-bottle, every time I sold a painting or drawing. Never before had I tasted great wine, and it was a revelation.


Peter Mynde restaurant, Stockholm.

© Frank Ward. Peter Mynde restaurant, Stockholm.

As I settled into Swedish life, I published two books on Stockholm. The first, Eating out in Stockholm, was the first objective review of the city’s restaurants. It created a mighty furore, with the most celebrated cook of all at the time, Tore Wretman, banning me from his restaurants and the restaurant sector divided into two camps. (Many years later, Wretman apologized to me for his behaviour at a “dinner of reconciliation” organized by Bengt Frithiofson, leading Swedish restaurant critic, admitting that he didn’t “take well to criticism”).

While living in Sweden, I became one of the three judges of Sweden’s “Restaurant of the year” award – a function I performed for quite a few years – and had three wine and restaurant columns in the Swedish press.


The magazine “R&S” (“Restauranger & Storkök”) allowed me virtually unlimited space to write about wine and I supplied reams of copy about my visits to wine producers all over Europe (it was with great pleasure that I learnt that the articles were being read by many of the functionaries at Sweden’s state-run wine and spirit import monopoly).


I also I helped to develop a vinous vocabulary in the Swedish language and introduced the wines of some of France’s most illustrious growers. They included such renowned estates as Comte Georges de Vogüé, Bonneau du Martray, Armand Rousseau, Domaine Leflaive, Trimbach, Pol Roger, Tollot-Beaut, Marquis d’Angerville, Château Mont-Redon, Alain Graillot, and many more.

In point of fact, a magnum of 1949 Château Mouton-Rothschild, bought in Sweden in the mid-1960s, was the very start of my personal wine collection. I carried it over to England when I moved back in 1987. It bore the number M.OO,127 and I opened it a couple of years ago to share with friends. It was one of the most remarkable wines any of us had ever drunk.

Since moving back to the UK two decades ago I’ve become even more of a specialist in fine French wines. I regularly hold wine tastings for wine clubs, as well as writing about the subject in Oeno-File and other media.


Frank Ward


Frank Ward’s Paintings & Drawings 

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One Response to “About Frank Ward”

  1. […] Fick i min hand idag en helt makalöst intressant bok – ”Eating out in Stockholm” av Frank Ward från 1972. Detta var tydligen den första genomgången av Stockholms restauranger och rörde upp många starka känslor. Bland annat blev Frank, som senare startade importfirman Ward Wines, bannlyst på Tore Wretmans krogar. Läs mer om detta och om Frank Ward här. […]

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