Awarding Wine Writing
The most prestigious awards in food & wine journalism are the James Beard Awards. While the amount of attention given to wine in these awards is scant, they do manage to recognize some of the most intriquing and inspired writing on the subject.
The nominations for the 2006 James Beard Awards have been announced. It struck me while looking them over that 1) wine writing gets a bit of a short shrift in these awards 2) that Internet-based journalism is ghettoized into it’s own category and 3) there is no important award in America that focuses on the wine writing genre.
Given the amount and breadth of wine writing that is being produced today, there really should be annual recognition of the very best. Not only would this help point wine lovers and readers to the best in the genre, but it would also encourage those who do write about wine. Neither of these results would be anything but good.
That said, here are some James Beard Award categories that should be made note of.
BEST WINE & SPIRITS BOOK OF 2005
Author: Richard Juhlin
Publisher: Éditions Flammarion
The Emperor of Wine:
The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr.
and the Reign of American Taste
Author: Elin McCoy
Author: Michael Jackson
Publisher: DK Publishing
BEST NEWSPAPER WRITING ON SPIRITS, WINE OR BEER
Phoenix New Times
“Behind the Green Door”
City Pages (Minneapolis)
“Wine & Dine 2005: The World in a Bottle:
New Tastes From the Old World”
“Mixing It Up”
BEST INTERNET WRITING ON FOOD, BEVERAGE, RESTAURANT OR NUTRITION
“Reserve Wines Score, But at What Price?”
“Down with Gloves: Why Chefs Shouldn’t
Have to Wear Them”
“Star Wars: Did Michelin Lower the Bar for
BEST MAGAZINE WRITING OF SPIRITS, WINE OR BEER
Maricel E. Presilla
“Mendoza Mountain High”
“Wild West Wine”
Food & Wine
“A Cocktail Purist”
OK, so McCoy’s book does give us a bit of a look into the big man, but its only a pin-hole peek of a look. And in my view Parker’s real impact has yet to be measured.
In contrast George Taber’s Judgment of Paris is the real deal. In retrospect the guy was probably the elephant in the room in the eyes of the French. But he recorded history in the making as far as the American wine industry is concerned. Someone goofed when they picked the books to be considered for this award.
But that’s the best thing about award and award nominations: they give us a chance to have our say. Elin’s book was very good I thought, surely the best exposition of the most powerful wine writer in the world.