The Annual James Beard Foundation awards for Journalism were announced last night. Effectively the Oscars for the food and wine writing world, these awards are given out each year to honor the top* examples of writing of various kinds and genres within the sphere of food and wine. The Foundation also gives out awards to chefs, but today we’re focusing on writing.
It is my pleasure to heartily congratulate the 2006 James Beard Foundation Award winners whose work relates to Wine and Spirits:
BOOK ON WINE OR SPIRITS:
Whiskey, by Michael Jackson
MAGAZINE WRITING ON WINE SPIRITS OR BEER:
A Cocktail Purist appearing in Food & Wine, by Pete Wells
FOOD AND WINE NEWSPAPER SECTION ABOVE 300k CIRC:
Miriam Morgan and Linda Murphy for The San Francisco Chronicle Food and Wine Section
FOOD AND WINE NEWSPAPER SECTION BELOW 300k CIRC:
Kristen Browning-Blas for The Denver Post Food Section
NEWSPAPER WRITING ON WINE SPIRITS OR BEER:
Wine & Dine 2005: The World in a Bottle: New Tastes From the Old World in the Minneapolis City Pages by Dara Moskowitz
In the non-journalism category, the following individuals also deserve congratulations for their awards as outstanding professionals in the wine field:
OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL
Daniel Johnnes, Dinex Group, NYC
OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE
William Sherer, Aureole, Las Vegas
If you’re interested in all the other award winners, check out the full list here.
* That little asterisk is an opportunity for me to wax editorial. This is a blog after all. While the Beard awards are considered the highest accolade that can be garnered by a food writer (short of a Pulitzer or a National Book Award) there’s an interesting catch to the system. The only people who win awards are those who fill out an entry form and send it in with a $75 entry fee for every piece they would like considered.
The fact that the Foundation does not consider any piece which is not submitted seems to be a bygone relic of the pre-Internet days, where every publisher could be counted on to submit every book that was published in the genre on behalf of the author. These days, with the proliferation of writing in so many vehicles and the internet, to restrict the considered works to just those submitted and then proclaim the winner effectively “the best” piece of writing in that genre seems laughable. I realize this could sound like sour grapes — you know “I should have been nominated, etc. etc.” — but I want to assure you I’m not pining for recognition here. While it is obviously a much more difficult undertaking for the Foundation to survey the field, such an endeavor is really necessary in my opinion to uphold any semblance of credibility these awards have now that they cover broadcast, newspapers, magazines, the Internet, and published books.