A handsome package arrived this week, and inside was a razor-sharp trophy. It was a ‘Special Recognition Award’ from the Harpers French Wine Awards and I’m extremely chuffed to be able to stick it on the mantelpiece next to our grumpy bronze boar.
I was gutted, in fact, not to have been able to collect the prize in person at the awards ceremony in London – you don’t get many rounds of applause in a vineyard – but it was the night before Angela’s birthday and I’d promised to bring her tea in the morning.
The funny thing is, the prize isn’t for our wine at all. It’s for writing and tweeting. Richard Siddle, the editor of the UK-based trade magazine and known as ‘chief’ in the wine business, wrote the flattering explanation below on the Harpers website. Forgive me for modestly including the title of the article but it really shows that the little people – in wine, at least – can make the headlines above the ‘Supermarket of the Year’ and the like.
All the winners and finalists are listed below, with links to their Twitter pages (hey, Twitter’s all about sharing).
“Gavin Quinney, the English winemaker who owns and produces wine at Chateau Bauduc in Bordeaux, has won the Special Recognition Award at the first Harpers French Wine Awards.
Quinney received the honour for the work he has done in giving the wine trade as a whole a fascinating insight into the day-to-day highs and lows of being a winemaker and running a Bordeaux winery.
Quinney has become a one-man publicity machine not only for his own business but for helping promote French wine overall, Bordeaux wine in particular, and for airing some of the more lively and controversial issues facing French wine in such engaging and entertaining way.
He has built up such a following online through social media that he has more Twitter followers than prestigious Bordeaux houses and many of the generic French wine bodies.
Quinney, though, has had a difficult 2013 with much of his vintage wiped out by a disastrous hail storm in the summer, but despite the impact on his own winery, Quinney took to Twitter and his own Chateau Bauduc newsletter* to spread news of how the storm had affected wineries across the region, providing as valuable a source of information as the mainstream media and wine trade press.
Quinney is also a regular contributor to Harpers Wine and Spirit and provides a yearly analysis of the vintage, comparing his own scores to the major wine critics.
His Special Recognition Award was sponsored by the Pays d’Oc Wines. Quinney’s Chateau Bauduc wines have been the house wines at Gordon Ramsay’s three Michelin-starred restaurant since it opened.
Other winners in the Harpers French Wine Awards were:
Congratulations to all the winners and finalists, and a massive thank you to Harpers.
I’d also like to thank (as if standing there, pissed, with a microphone) all the customers and friends who commented on our Hail in Bordeaux, part 1 and other posts, and to all the Twitterati for their support. Thanks also to Jancis Robinson and Livex for posting my rants and weather charts on their websites.
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We no longer publish the newsletter on the blog – it is, after all, a ‘newsletter’ – so it’s the only way to get it.
You can also find me on Twitter here.