The Vintners' Company, which last year took over the running of the Geoffrey Roberts Award has just announced their first winner. The 2014 winner of the Award is Peter Csizmadia-Honigh, education manager of the Institute of Masters of Wine. (This is a very MW week...)
He intends to spend his £4,000 travel bursary travelling to India with a view to publishing the first-ever book on the wines of India, 'thereby raising consumer and trade awareness of the immense transformation that has swept through the subcontinent over the past 20 years', as he puts it.
A Hungarian, he relocated to the UK in 2005 and graduating with the WSET's Diploma in 2011. Since 2010 his personal experience of New World wine regions includes South Africa, Chile, California and Australia. But, he observes, 'India is very likely to be the most peculiar New World country I have been to. With its subtropical climate, viticulture and winemaking open up completely new dimensions, but despite the challenges the momentum is such that investors and international critics are starting to take notice'. The plan is to publish this work in conjunction with Reva Singh, publisher of Sommelier India.
He has already written about Chile for the website of UK wine trade publication Harpers, about Hungary for Decanter, for various Hungarian publications and on India for publications including The Drinks Business and Sommelier India magazine.
Applications for the 2014 award came from 11 different countries and from as far afield as Mexico and the Philippines.
The judging panel included Willie Lebus of Bibendum who commented, 'Peter's submission would have pleased Geoffrey Roberts enormously. It involves opening up the potential of a new world of wine, in this case India, and offering an inquisitive audience the opportunity to discover its marvellous emerging wines'. Another judge was 1992 Vintners' Scholar Susan McCraith MW who said, 'Peter's idea to research the wine regions of India and write a guide is innovative and timely, as we are seeing more good-quality wines, yet we know very little about this up and coming country'. Rupert Clevely, the next Master of the Vintners' Company said, 'Peter encapsulated the real essence of the award by thinking outside the traditional New World envelope by looking at the wines of India. I believe this is exactly what Geoffrey Roberts would have looked for'.
For more information about this annual award, which is open to applicants of any nationality, see www.geoffreyrobertsaward.com. Applications for the 2015 award will be sought during the first three months of 2015.