Joe studied wine-making in Bordeaux and has since worked as a wine buyer and consultant for a number of leading supermarket chains.
Flamboyant and straight talking, Joe is a recipient of the coveted International Wine and Spirit Communicator of the Year Award. He has a great palate that culminated in him becoming the youngest ever International Senior Judge at The Royal Melbourne Wine Show at 29 years old. In fact, Joe judged the Royal Melbourne Wine Show in October 2013, making him the only International Senior Judge in it’s 130 year history to judge it 3 times. He was a Panel Chairman of the International Wine Challenge.
Oz Clarke describes Joe’s tasting ability as “excellent … with an extraordinary wine tasting repertoire”.
Joe grew up in his parent’s gastropub, The Three Lions Inn on the edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. Whilst watching his father cook he was dreaming of being a pilot. Those dreams led him to winning a Flying Scholarship during his time in the CCF at Winchester College, followed by a full university cadetship in Royal Air Force as a Pilot Officer at Manchester University, where he studied Chemistry. Latterly, Joe became a little disillusioned during his time in the forces, and felt that his skills would be better placed doing something else that he truly loved. Clearly his prowess in the pub shouldn’t go to waste, so it was there, in his parent’s pub that he decided that he was a lover not a fighter and traded a the career of a pilot with that of wine.
Joe promptly went off to study and make wine in Bordeaux. After a stint at the mighty Oddbins, Joe retraced his steps to help run his parents, now award-winning pub. It was here that he was picked up by Sainsburys and put together a company wide training course for their in-store advisors. Teaching the staff at Sainsbury’s not only about wine but also beer and spirits. After a short stint in they buying team, he was then head-hunted to Waitrose where he worked as a wine buyer for 5 years.
In 2001, Joe left Waitrose to set up the marketing company Cube Communications, which still thrives today, winning Wine PR Company of the Year at the Drinks Business Awards 3 years in a row, and recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary. He continues to act as their expert consultant today.
Joe is a well known TV face serving as Richard and Judy’s wine expert (Channel 4) and is the author of the Richard & Judy Wine Guide (Harper Collins). For three years Joe also appeared as The Wright Stuff’s Wine Expert (Channel 5) guiding the viewers to the month’s best buys. He was The Terry & Gaby Show’s Wine Expert, and a weekly contributor to Great Food Live, UKTV’s Good Food’s live lunchtime show. His own series for Good Food is still being shown – Joe Wadsack’s Great Wine Walks with Kitty Johnson the daughter of the famous Hugh Johnson.
Joe was the Wine Expert for the Sunday Express for many years. Joe also writes for Trade Paper Harpers and wrote monthly for Waitrose Food Illustrated and quarterly for Waitrose in Season. Joe was shortlisted in 2013 in the Roederer Awards for ‘World’s Best Wine‘ blog. Gaining a WSET Diploma Distinction in 1992, Joe also won the Viva prize and went Piedmont for a week. He was at l‘Institute d’Oenologie in Bordeaux in 1991 and received a Stage 7 winemaking diploma (the equivalent today of a Postgraduate modern winemaking practices course.
One of Joe’s most enjoyable and gratifying jobs was working as a wine consultant for Dartington Crystal in Devon, where he aided their design department in creating their hugely successful lead-crystal Wine Master glass range. The Chef’s Taster glass is still considered by many to be the finest tasting glass available today. For the last few years Joe has acted as a consultant to various companies in the wine trade, and continues to host tastings all over the country as well as abroad. He is the regular host for the annual Tesco Wine Fairs around the British Isles.
The other activity which perhaps Joe is most renowned for is being a wine judge for various international wine competitions. He is and has been a Panel Chair for ten years at The International Wine Challenge, the world’s largest blind wine tasting, and is a regular international guest judge on the Royal Australian Wine Show Circuit.
Joe’s love for food came from his father, Karl Hermann Wadsack, who was Egon Ronay’s Chef of the Year in 1976, as Chef de Cuisine at the internationally famous Chewton Glen Hotel where he was awarded an illustrious two stars. His mother and father went on to operate a highly successful gastro-pub winning Egon Ronay’s Pub of the Year award.
Joe says “ While my brother was upstairs watching Family Fortunes, I found it more exciting watching my father steaming around the kitchen swearing. I was in awe. I mean how could a man in his advancing years deliver such perfection to 90 people almost every night virtually on his own.” Some of it rubbed off on Joe and inspired him to be the self-taught expert cook that he is today. He accredits a lot of his skill in the kitchen to the punishments his father used to give him. Scraping mussels, picking parsley and thyme, grating endless blocks of Parmesan. However Joe is glad he never became a professional chef as now enjoys cooking when and how he likes, alongside his passion for wine. To Joe cooking is less of a job more of a passion and hobby.
If anyone knows Joe, they will be aware of his passion for nightlife. With this has come an obsession with the London cocktail and bar scene. Along with New York and Tokyo, London is one of the great capitals of the cocktail world. He considers the sophistication of a good bartender combines the knowledge and skills of a sommelier with the artist flair of a good cook. Cocktails are as fascinating to Joe as wine and he loves to share this great passion with other people.