Wine writer and broadcaster Oz Clarke has joked that being made an OBE means his friend and fellow TV star James May “might actually buy me a pint”.
Clarke is being given the accolade in the New Year Honours list for services to broadcasting and journalism.
Clarke and former Top Gear star May have previously appeared together in Oz And James’s Big Wine Adventure and Oz And James Drink To Britain.
He told the PA news agency: “He (James May) will be absolutely horrified when he hears about this OBE, of all the people in Britain… it might actually make him buy me a pint, which would be about time. I wouldn’t have to say ‘Here’s the money James, let’s go and get two beers’, he’ll buy one for me.”
He has written wine columns for The Sunday Express and The Daily Telegraph, as well as penning several books including Let Me Tell You About Wine.
His other TV credits include the BBC’s Food And Drink, which featured fellow wine expert Jilly Goolden.
Clarke said he had “not the slightest expectation” around his OBE, adding: “I’ve always been a populist.
“I’ve not always been the most popular person among the sort of upper echelons of the wine world and they look at the kind of stuff I do on the television and think honestly, do we have to listen to all of this sort of rabble rousing, trying to persuade millions of people that wine is easy and simple and fun and affordable.
“So they don’t always like it all that much but certainly I get the most pleasure from just going out to the people and talking to everyone around the country about the simple pleasures, trying to take the fear out of wine.
“Wine has been cursed by snobbery and confusion and by people’s feelings of social inadequacy. I remember when, in my parents’ time, only about 5% of the people in England drank wine and by the end of the last century it was 85%… it wasn’t a wine drinking nation and it is now. And I think the thing is, it’s full of people now who’ve realised wine is there to make themselves happier.”
Clarke said he will be celebrating his honour with a magnum of Sussex sparkling wine from 1998.
He explained: “I found it under the stairs and so it’s a 20-year-old bottle of sparkling wine from Sussex… that’s going to finally meet its maker pretty shortly.”