And the IMW's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to …

Jeannie Cho Lee accepts Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Jancis Robinson

At last night’s V d’Or dinner in Paris we were honoured twice over. Above, Jeannie Cho Lee MW accepts the Institute of Masters of Wine's Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of Jancis.

At a glamorous black-tie dinner on the eve of Vinexpo, which kicks off today in Paris, Jancis was presented with the Institute of Masters of Wine’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award.

Every two years or so the Masters of Wine choose, via a poll of members, ‘an outstanding and inspirational figure in the world of wine whose enduring contribution spans a whole career’ for this award, originally presented in 2005 at Vinexpo in Bordeaux. The first recipient was presumably easy to choose: Robert Mondavi, who did so much to put California wine on the world map. A succession of towering wine personalities followed: Marchese Piero Antinori (2007), Jean-Michel Cazes (2011), Baroness Philippine de Rothschild (2013), Hugh Johnson OBE (2015), Miguel A Torres (2017) and Paul Symington (2019). Pause for COVID-19 …

Jancis was, most unfortunately, unable to travel to Paris to collect the award, presented by Julian Gore-Booth of the IMW and Patrick Schmitt MW of The Drinks Business, as she had just spent a week in hospital with double pneumonia. Via Zoom, however, she commented:

‘I can’t tell you how surprised and delighted I am to be honoured by my peers and to join such an array of wine stars, many of them old friends. Especially since, much to my chagrin, I have never made a drop of wine in my life and hardly picked a grape. (I’m sure if I’d been born later, I’d have ensured that I had more practical experience.) I’ve never felt part of the wine trade per se but have always thought of myself as a very happy parasite on it.

‘Here’s to many more women in wine being so recognised. I give sincere thanks to the amazing and supportive team at, who work so hard and so brilliantly, as well as my collaborators on all the books and at the Financial Times. And finally, this award should of course be shared with my wonderful, long-suffering, growing family, not least my husband Nick Lander, who has looked after me so well for 43 years.’

Old vines recognised

But this was not the only recognition for last night. A further five V d’Or awards designed ‘to celebrate the excellence of industry members in terms of performance and sustainability’ were presented at the dinner. They were divided into these five categories: new business solutions, brand experience, heritage initiative, eco-friendly launch and joint initiative.

The winner of the Heritage Initiative Award was The Old Vine Registry, a stand-alone website inspired by the Old Vines Register that we started compiling in 2013 and which was nursed brilliantly to online fruition by our US correspondent Alder Yarrow.

It is now a free-to-access, independent entity run in conjunction with The Old Vine Conference, whose Belinda Stone collected the award last night. It is wonderful to have global recognition for all the work involved in this directory of the world’s treasured repository of vineyards older than 35 years. Please don’t hesitate to submit details of any missing vineyards!

Oh, and one more thing. Last month, Jancis learnt that she has been shortlisted as Critic of the Year in the 2024 UK Press Awards. This is not a wine-specific award but applies to all UK journalists and is for her Saturday columns in the FT (which are also published here on She is up against a starry list of writers, including her good friend Rachel Cooke, who writes such perceptive profiles in The Observer. We’re mentioning this now because Jancis says she knows she doesn’t stand a chance of actually winning.