Daniel Rogov, the renowned wine expert who played an integral role in thrusting Israel’s budding wine industry into the mainstream, passed away early Wednesday morning. Rogov was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1935, Rogov immigrated to Paris as a teenager and quickly became a food and wine expert. Soon after he began writing for local papers, various U.S., Swiss and French publications picked up his work. In the late 1970s, he moved to Israel, where the wine industry was still in its infancy. In 1984, he was hired by Ha’aretz to write two weekly columns about food and wine. As he gained international fame, Rogov contributed to international wine guides, including Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book and the Wine Report by Tom Stevenson.
Rogov had a larger-than-life personality and considered himself a controversial figure. “I’m a wine critic, which means when I walk into a room full of winemakers, half of them say, ‘Ah, it’s Daniel Rogov!’ and the other half say, “Oh, it’s that miserable rotten so and so again,’” Rogov was quoted saying.
Though he successfully kept politics out of his writings, it is known that Rogov longed for peace in Israel. More than one winery located in disputed territories believed that the low scores they received were a result of their geographic location, although Rogov denied these claims.
Rogov also managed a wine forum, where wine aficionados shared their thoughts and sought Rogov’s opinion. Hours before passing, Rogov posted a thread titled “Rogov Obit” in which he wrote: “As to food and wine, I have written about those over the years out of a sense of deep love and devotion, that both emotional and intellectual. As I hope I have made known, wine and food to me are not simply things that enter our body. They are a reflection of our anthropology, history, psychology, social needs and, of course, pleasure. And, like all critics who take themselves seriously, I have gained enormous pleasure from sharing my thoughts.”