WWC23 – who won?

Nick Harbour photographed by Jeff Burrows

We announced this year's competition in late March, started publishing selected entries in July, and now comes the dénouement.

A great big thank you to the 1,847 people who voted for their favourite entries in this year’s wine writing competition (WWC23) – about twice as many people as voted in our WWC22 poll. This year’s theme, ‘my favourite wine person’, really seems to have struck a chord and we feel we have unearthed an enormous amount of talent.

And a great big thank you too to Julian Leidy, who administered the entries and the poll with such speed and efficiency, as well of course to our judges, Team JR supplemented by Hermione Ireland and Susan Keevil of the Académie du Vin Library, sponsors of our writing competition this year, and wine photographer Jon Wyand, who led the judging of the visual category, new this year. (Entrants were invited to illustrate their articles about their favourite wine person with an image of them, photographic or otherwise.)

As usual, there are prizes for both the Judges’ winners and the Readers’ and, as usual, these did not coincide – although Anna Larkin’s drawing of her father John Larkin found favour with both judges and readers, and her written entry was highly commended by the judges.

Judges' choice, written

Winner: Joanne Gibson on Uncle Dieter

Runner up: Paul Shanley on Anna Malgam

Highly commended: Nathalie Spielmann on Fabrice Parisot and Anna Larkin on John Larkin

Judges' choice, visual

Winner: Jason Black’s portrait of sommelier Emma Terhaar, which appears immediately below.

Emma Terhaar photographed by Jason Black

Runners up: Anna Larkin’s drawing of John Larkin and Samarie Smith-Meletiou’s photo, below the readers’ choices, of her husband Georgio and their cat Thulah (can’t beat a picture of a kitten …).

Readers' choice, written

Winner: Emily Sivey on Mick Nippard

Runner up: Nimmi Malhotra on Paramdeep Ghumman

Highly commended: Sami-Jo Adelman on Benjamin Perus

Readers' choice, visual

Winner: Jeff Burrows’ portrait of Burgundy micro-négociant Nick Harbour, which appears at the top of this announcement.

Runners up: Anna Larkin’s drawing of John Larkin and Emily Campeau’s photo of Sophie Evans

Georgio Meletiou and Thulah photographed by Samarie Smith-Meletiou

As you can see, the shortlist of images was completely independent of our choice of which written entries were published. The readers’ favourite image and two of the judges’ favourite images accompanied unpublished written entries. By complete coincidence, the two winners of the visual category are both male American wine lovers with the initials J B. (Jeff Burrows is based in Minnesota, Jason Black sells wine in Connecticut.)

The two winners in the written category will each receive a complete Académie du Vin Library, all 21 wine books, many of which have been reviewed here by our chief book reviewer Tamlyn Currin. The two runners-up in the written category will each receive a copy of the massive, and massively revised, fifth edition of The Oxford Companion to Wine (signed by Julia, Tara and Jancis) to be published this Thursday, and those who were highly commended in the written category will be sent a copy of the Académie du Vin Library’s latest book On Burgundy, due out on Monday. If it’s as good as On Bordeaux and On California, they are in for a treat.

The two winners of the visual category will be offered a photographic tutorial by Jon Wyand (which will have to be transatlantic and online) as well as a signed copy of his beautiful book on the Côte Chalonnaise, which has already been published in France by Bamboo Édition and will be published in the UK by Académie du Vin Library next week. The plan was that the four runners-up in the visual category would be sent a copy of On Burgundy. If we followed these rules strictly, Anna Larkin would end up with three copies of On Burgundy but Hermione Ireland has kindly agreed to let her choose two other titles from the Académie du Vin Library.

All winners, runners-up and highly commended entrants in our competition will be given a year’s complimentary membership of JancisRobinson.com. Should they already be Purple Pagers, we will extend their current membership by a year. We will be contacting all entrants mentioned above by email.

We were thrilled that our total of 134 entries, of which 48 were published, came from all over the world. Our judges’ winner lives in South Africa, as does one of the readers’ visual runners up. One of the judges’ highly commended entrants is living in France and the readers’ favourite writers live variously in Japan (we thought but in fact she has moved to the Cotswolds), Singapore and the Netherlands.

Julian Leidy, who was our direct contact with both entrants and voters, reports that he has received suggestions for next year’s competition. We’re looking forward to sifting through them, and thank everyone who entered this year very much indeed for making it our best competition ever.