Writing competition poll results


We recently asked for your comments on a possible writing competition this summer focusing on guides to specific places, and what makes them of interest to the wine lover. We are delighted to share the results of our poll

A total of 125 of you were kind enough to share your thoughts. A total of 97 of respondents (76%) were members of JancisRobinson.com – those, I suppose, who feel most invested in what they are presented with this summer.

We asked whether respondents were likely to enter the competition and were quite surprised by the following responses.

I’ll probably enter35.2%44
I might enter38.4%48
I can’t imagine entering26.4%33

We then asked how people felt about how frequently we should publish entries into the competition. (You may remember that last summer, we had so many entries we thought worth publishing that we ended up publishing two a day for quite a time.)

We asked, ‘Which of these best describes your attitude to our publishing competition entries on JancisRobinson.com?’

Publish as you see fit48.0%60
Fine, but no more than one a day, please15.2%19
Fine, but no more than two or three a week, please9.6%12
Publish only the shortlisted entries, please20.8%26
I’d rather you didn’t hold this competition at all6.4%8

There seems to be pretty convincing enthusiasm for this competition, and we particularly appreciated the 49 respondents who took the trouble to add a comment, of which the following are typical.


Most of the comments expressed enthusiasm about last year’s competition. 

I really enjoyed reading the last competition entries. It was a bit overwhelming having so many to read, but they were worth the effort in the end. I even re-read some of them. Thanks.

My attitude is I can always ignore any articles I'm not interested in. All I would ask is that you keep up your professional output while you show the competition entries.

I think it's a great idea! It gives opportunities to those who want to try but in another context wouldn't necessarily apply to a magazine. Thank you for encouraging all levels of writer.

I thought this was a great way for unknown writers to pop up on the radar. Anything that helps promote wine journalism in the more challenging environment today is greatly encouraged.

I was disappointed that I didn't enter the last one. I found the prospect of reading about other people's experience with wine very compelling, and an opportunity to be exposed to other perspectives is always welcome. I struggle, in my attempt to pass the MS Exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers, to keep a broad perspective on the world of wine. JancisRobinson.com has a very different point of view than other forums that I visit online or the San Francisco wine professional community that I count myself a part of.

And, in a reference to the earlier comment about how it was both loved and loathed, someone wrote, Why was this ‘loathed’? I loved reading the pieces. One of my WSET Diploma instructor’s pieces was published, and it was a humanising, connecting insight into someone I quite admire, but knew very little about. Keep ‘em coming, I say!


Though some people had reservations.

I initially enjoyed reading the entries last year but got a bit tired of them after a while. I'd be very happy to read this year's entries if you can filter them a bit more selectively. I think the topic you propose is interesting and I very much appreciate what Purple Pagers have to say about this – if you can limit the number of entries on the website a bit more than last year.

Similarly:  It was too much last time. Some excellent articles but it flooded the Purple Pages.

And even, Self indulgent...... sorry!


Several respondents suggested that we corral the entries in a separate section so they don’t clutter the home page, which is advice we will try to follow.

A typical comment was, Can the entries be in a separate 'file' rather than populate the front page? Small minded I know, but I subscribe to read the articulate pieces penned by contributors. Not saying that competition entries aren't entertaining to read but would prefer they didn't hog the limelight.


Someone also asked how it could be a writing competition when we suggested that it would be possible to provide some of the information as bullet points. Whereas last year’s competition was designed primarily to showcase pure writing skills, this year we will be measuring the value of the recommendations as well as any writing skills. Bullet points were suggested en passant, in view of the fact that some people will have so much information to impart that they may find our word limit too restrictive.

There were other comments that showed that respondents had thought deeply about the suggested topic for this year’s competition.

I think there needs to be some sort of restriction with this particular competition. For instance, the recommended places, regions etc can't be exclusive clubs or friend's wineries that aren't accessible to the general public. Hope that makes sense!

The proposed topic could be limiting for those not in large cities or towns. Why not expand to linking wine and place in any way – so you could cover a town or a village or a region or just one vineyard? Would offer more options to writers while keeping the topic within sensible bounds.

The theme has potential – but needs organising somehow either by geography or other criteria.

Although since we intend to ask for useful information this time, rather than memories, we definitely aim somehow to make the best recommendations as accessible by all as possible. Perhaps not at the same time as they are published, but we will try to organise the information imparted in a logical manner eventually.

And here’s an interesting idea….

The competition can help launch careers of writers who have a hard time breaking in. Wine has a problem with diversity and competitions that should give everyone an equal start can help women and people of colour get a leg up. I believe the articles should be published without public knowing who wrote them. Wine contests become a social media popularity contest. The loudest voices or those with bigger followings get more views.

Next Monday on 1 July we'll publish full details of the competition rules, but for the moment, if you plan to enter, you could start to assemble a guide to your chosen place, however big or small, and what makes it of interest to wine lovers. We suggest a competition deadline of 31 July so that we have time to marshal the entries and publish them as neatly and selectively as possible.