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  • Jancis Robinson
Written by
  • Jancis Robinson
6 May 2013

I'm thrilled to report that on Friday night in New York Wine Grapes, the tome on 1,368 wine grape varieties written by me, Julia and José Vouillamoz, won the coveted James Beard Award for the best 'Beverage' book published in English last year.

We all feel very proud, and delighted that Julia was there to collect the award in person. Apparently ours was only the second award to be announced on the evening and her short acceptance speech on the stage at a packed Gotham Hall was much admired. (She also reports that the food and beverages served at the award ceremony were heavily sponsored, with the result that 'the amuse-bouche was accompanied by Stella! Then we jumped to a very nice 2006 Jacob's Creek Steingarten [South Australian] Riesling. Sweet, oaky Ysios Rioja with the lamb'.

The other wine writer to have been awarded a Beard is Michael Steinberger for his account in Vanity Fair of the Rudy Kerniawan saga. Many congratulations to him for an entertaining public airing of the wine world's dirty linen. I understand that a movie based on the article has been optioned.

If you can bear a bit of kvelling, here is a list of the awards garnered by our 1,400-page book, published by Penguin/Ecco last October:

  • Best Drinks Book 2012, Wine & Spirits magazine
  • Hall of Fame for Best Wine Book, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2013
  • Best Drink Book 2012, André Simon Awards
  • Best Beverage Book 2012, James Beard Awards
  • Shortlisted for Best Drink Book, Fortnum & Mason Food and Drink Awards 2013 (results announced in 14 May)

See here for more about the book and here for where to buy the handsome, beautifully designed paper version. (The UK and US editions are identical apart from the covers.)

An e-version is expected in September 2013.

While Julia was in New York and José at home in his native Switzerland I was at the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food & Wine organised by this enterprising hotel and cooking school near Cork, Ireland. It was a wild success with sessions and tastings for hundreds and hundreds of people and a wonderfully democratic and welcoming atmosphere - a great get-together of stars of food and drink such as Madhur Jaffrey, Claudia Roden, Stephanie Alexander, David 'Thai' Thompson, etc etc. Very many congratulations to Darina and Hazel Allen and teams for a brilliant event.