I felt extremely proud at last night's Young Wine Writer of the Year Awards at Australia house in London. The awards, sponsored by the Circle of Wine Writers, Wine Australia, Qantas and Anova Books, are designed to encourage fine wine writing in applicants under 30.
As vice-president of the Circle of Wine Writers, I had been asked to open the envelopes and hand over the prizes but I had no idea who had won them. Imagine my delight then when I discovered that the two runners-up were our very own Victorial Daskal and Richard Hemming who was a runner-up last year too. They were presented with a smart bottle each. The one I gave Richard looked like Cullen's Diana Madeline through the cellophane and Victoria was given John Duval's Plexus, she tellls me.
A cheque for £1,000 and a two-week trip to Australian wine country went to the overall winner Andy Lloyd. Andy works at the Docklands branch of Majestic (Richard used to work for Majestic) and, like Richard, has worked as a cellar rat in Australia. He is pictured below in red with Richard and Victoria, and Anova's leading wine author Oz Clarke.