2019 writing competition shortlist

Computer keyboard wine-writing competition

Our 10 favourite entries in this year's writing competition. Purple Pagers are urged to vote for their favourite here.

We were thrilled by the quality and usefulness of the entries in our wine travel writing competition. Altogether we had over 80 entries and published 42 of them, most of them last month. As requested after last year’s competition, in which entrants wrote about what began their love affair with wine, which attracted even more entries – perhaps because no research was needed – for the 2018 writing competition, we featured them only on the Articles page, not on the home page. On the home page we just published links to all the entries in this pinned article.

The following 10 guides to various places ‘for wine lovers’ were our favourite entries and tomorrow we will invite members of our Purple Pages to vote for which of these 10 they think should win. In the second half of September we’ll announce the overall winner of six of my versatile, top-quality dishwasher-safe wine glasses and young wine decanter. The entries are in vaguely geographical order.

Copenhagen by Oliver Carr
Basque Country by Yolanda Ortiz de Arri

Madrid by Anna Harris-Noble
Addis Ababa by Arnica Rowan
Miami by Sarah Phillips
Nashville by Joe Scutella

Pittsburgh by Adam Knoerzer
San Francisco by Rachael Ryan

Cape Town by Jono Le Feuvre
Auckland by Allison Burton-Parker

Considering that almost 40% of visitors to JancisRobinson.com are based in the UK, we were surprised that we had only two entries based on British locations. We had been expecting a wealth of entries such as Manchester for wine lovers and so on. But quite a few Brits submitted guides to places outside the British Isles, perhaps reflecting our enthusiasm for wine travel. Americans constitute about a third of our visitors, and a good quarter of our entries were about parts of the US.

It was also surprising that there were so few entries about France, considering how important French wines seem to be to visitors to this site. We were surprised by how many entries were about the Netherlands – perhaps because the Dutch have such a keen grasp of the English language. We realise that there are many visitors to this site for whom English is a second language and lightly edited some of the entries to take account of this.

These were the countries that featured most frequently:

Country No of entries





























And then there were lone entries about a wide range of countries and places within them, including Japan and Ethiopia, but also about a surprising (to us) array of destinations east of Venice: Poland, East Germany, Slovenia, Cyprus, Israel, Georgia, Armenia and Ukraine.

Some of the entries focused on advice for travellers to wine-producing regions; others concentrated on cities and what they have to offer. But what this competition has demonstrated clearly is that wine culture has been spreading far and wide. Places such as Kyiv, Krakow, Tbilisi and even the Bulgarian Black Sea resort of Burgas all seem to have places – wine bars, wine shops and restaurants – to interest the wine enthusiast.

We received quite a number of entries from those who did well in last year's competition and enjoyed many of them but, as it turns out (no policy here), the shortlisted names are all new.

We will eventually try to collate all these entries in an easily navigable form so that they form a solid body of wine travel tips. We’ll try to do it sooner rather than later as this sort of advice tends to date, as witness the number of times we have felt the need to update our long London for wine lovers.

Later that same day And now Wine Australia has offered a pair of tickets to one of their forthcoming public tastings in northern Europe to each of the shortlisted competitors: 

Australia Redefined London 17 September 2019
Taste Australia’s fine wines alongside Aussie-inspired canapés in the stunning OXO2 in the OXO Tower. With a line-up of 200 wines over £20, you’ll explore unique and iconic styles, revisit regional heroes and meet multi-generational family producers. Winemakers pouring their wines include Chester Osborn (d’Arenberg), Bruce Tyrrell (Tyrrell’s) Robert and Jessica Hill-Smith (Yalumba), Peter Barry (Jim Barry Wines) and Johann Henschke (Henschke).

Far From Ordinary in New York 17-19 September 2019
Far From Ordinary brings the Australian landscape to the heart of New York City, with an immersive, multi-sensory experience that will transport you to our great southern land. You’ll be immersed in Australia’s spectacular beauty through sight, smell and taste whilst enjoying thrilling wines, Aussie-inspired bites and meeting some of Australia’s top winemakers. This fusion of people, places and winemaking inspiration offers a never-before-seen perspective on Australian wine.

Australian Wine Tastings in the Nordics 7-16 October 2019
Meet the people behind the wines, hear their stories and try a diverse range of 250+ wines from 40+ wineries across Australia. From great classics like Margaret River Chardonnay and Barossa Shiraz to alternative varieties and new-wave styles such as Nebbiolo, Pét Nat and sparkling Chenin Blanc, these tastings will demonstrate that Australian wines are far from ordinary.
Copenhagen 7 October
Stockholm 9 October 
Oslo 14 October 
Helsinki 16 October 

We will be emailing the 10 competitors to see whether they would like to take advantage of this offer.