Franschhoek Wine Writing Competition Sucks


Letter to Emile Joubert
From Christopher Hope, director of the Franschhoek Literary Festival

Dear Emile


We are writing to invite you to submit the best piece of writing you published in 2008 on any wine-related topic, for the Franschhoek Literary Festival’s SA Wine Writers Award. (this does not have to be a technical piece)
Your writing will be judged on its literary merits, so please indicate the publication format. (Just a sentence will do; for example, “this was a feature article in WINE magazine” or “this column was written for my regular food and wine blog”.)
Our judges are Jancis Robinson MW (Financial Times wine writer, Oxford Companion To Wine Editor), Stephen Tanzer (International Wine Cellar editor, Food & Wine Magazine senior editor) and Duncan Minshull (BBC commissioning editor) are widely dispersed, so please submit your work to ,in an electronic format. The closing date for submissions is 10th April.
The award consists of a cash prize of R25 000 and you will also receive a certificate/artwork produced especially for this purpose by famous Pippa Skotnes. The presentation will be made at the Franschhoek Literary Festival on 16th May, at a reception hosted by one of the local wine estates. The travel and accommodation costs of the recipient will be met by the organisers.
Although any wine writer based in SA may submit his/her work, we are particularly hopeful that you will accept this personal invitation to be recognised as SA’s pre-eminent wine writer.
This new prize will be awarded annually from 2009 onward at the Festival.
Thanks and good luck!

Reply from Emile Joubert

Dear Mr Hope
Thank you very much for the invitation to participate in the SA Wine Writers Award. It is a most worthy initiative ?+¦-+???+¦-ú?-¦?+¦-ú?+¦+¦ like all scribes, wine journalists and commentators warrant some sort of recognition. As you know better than any wine writer, slaving away in a lonely space with only the computer screen as company can sometimes be seen as an ungrateful occupation.
Unfortunately I will not be entering this competition out of principal.
Firstly, a competition of this nature without a South African judge lacks credibility. As learned as these three persons are, not one can fully understand the nuances hidden in South African wine writing. It is as ridiculous as getting a panel of British judges to give an award to the best South African Pinotage.
Secondly, a lot of South African wine writing is done in Afrikaans, the language used by over 80% of the industry. By not offering Afrikaans media an opportunity to enter, the competition cannot be regarded as representative or complete. Take, for example, a writer such as Christine Rudman, a Cape Wine,Writer whose columns exclusively appear in,Afrikaans. There are many others.
I commend you on a worthy initiative. It is, however, unfortunate that the result will not deliver SA’s best wine writer due to it excluding a large percentage of writers and their audience.

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3 thoughts on “Franschhoek Wine Writing Competition Sucks

  1. I fully agree with Emile, there is far to much eurocentricity in SA in alot of fields. don’t we value ourselves enough?

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