The most important thing to say about our wine writing competition is a massive THANK YOU. Thank you to all 180 aspiring wine writers who took the trouble to send us articles, of which a completely unexpected 53 provided material we thought was well worth publishing. To judge from the response to these articles, you enjoyed them a great deal too.
We owe another big thank you to the more than 2,500 of you readers who took the trouble to vote for your three favourite writers. We are all deeply grateful, and love the fact that these articles covered such a wide spectrum in terms of both content and style. We had everything from high-powered scientific (but admirably comprehensible) papers via some inspired humour to the most personal descriptions of a relationship to which we are all probably committed: that between the taster and the tasted.
I for one am generally rather downhearted about the split between the sexes in terms of commitment to wine. I'm always surprised that only about 15% of the members of Purple Pages are female, and the proportion of female contributors to our forum is even lower than that. So I was absolutely delighted that a good third of all the writers we published were women. It feels as though we have provided an outlet for many a sentiment that has been awaiting exposure and recognition.
Deciding on our shortlist of five has been incredibly difficult. We felt that some of the entries were brilliantly written and were absolutely – shamefully – excellent reads but were not all written by people who would make ideal long-term contributors. On the other hand, our competition shed light on a number of writers who may or may not feature in the list below but could well make seriously interesting and competent columnists – not necessarily for the long term but at least for some further contributions. We will be contacting them to explore various possibilities with them.
This, in strictly alphabetical order, is our shortlist of five, all of whom will be invited to our Sherry Night in London this Sunday night, where the overall winner will be announced (whether the winner is able to attend or not):
But we would like to extend an honourable mention to these outstanding candidates:
- Olga Antoniadou
- Seyma Bas
- Jacky Blisson
- Jennifer Cossey-Hendrickson
- Daniel Ercsey
- Pierazzo da Feltre
- Paula Sidore
- Sophie Thorpe
- Simon Woolf
On Monday morning at 9 am UK time we will be publishing the name of the overall winner, who wins (to quote from our original announcement) 'a copy of Wine Grapes, our multi-award-winning 1,242-page guide to 1,368 grape varieties worth £120/$200, five years' membership of our Purple Pages and, possibly, a position as a columnist on JancisRobinson.com.' But we would reiterate that we thoroughly admired all the articles we published.