The 2018 IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year celebration
Tom Cannavan was presented with the 2018 IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year award on Saturday night at Vinitaly’s dramatic opening dinner in Verona.
The award – a beautiful goblet of specially-commissioned Murano glass – was handed to the wine-pages.com founder by Giovanni Mantovani, the general director of Veronafiere, the organiser of the annual trade fair.
“This is a tremendous honour,” Cannavan said, in front of an audience of 600 appreciative dinner guests. “Like a lot people in the world of wine, it was a passion for the subject that steered me towards a career in wine. Sharing that passion through my writing and broadcasting rarely feels like work, and is always a pleasure.
“Nevertheless, it is so gratifying to be chosen to receive this truly international honour by the IWSC, which is proof that I must be doing something right. After more than 20 years, 2017 was more active for me than ever, and my enthusiasm remains undimmed, so it’s great to have acknowledgement of that.”
Cannavan is a highly-respected wine critic and journalist. Wine-pages.com, which he launched in 1995, has an audience of 400,000 visitors a month, boosted by a 16,000-strong Twitter following. In 2008 he won the prestigious Louis Roederer trophy for online wine writing.
The wine world is lucky to have him: it’s a little-known fact that in an earlier incarnation he was vocalist and guitarist for a punk band called Restricted Code, which had some success in the late 1970s, including supporting Talking Heads on tour.
The dinner took place in the Gallerie Mercatali in Verona, a cathedral-sized warehouse, built in 1924 and recently renovated by the city council.
Guests were welcomed by a contemporary string quartet perched on a scaffold platform, under a soaring roof supported by massive concrete arches.
The servers, wielding magnums of Prosecco Conegliano Valdobbiadene from Carpenè Malvolti, reinforced the industrial theme of the evening by wearing white boiler suits and hard hats.
The dinner was prepared by chef Davide Oldani in honour of Gualtiero Marchesi, the chef considered the father of modern Italian cuisine, who died last year. Dishes included a splendid riso, oro e zafferano, a saffron risotto garnished with a panel of gold leaf.
The wines served were Antinori’s Calabrone rosé, Alma Terra Bellavista Chardonnay, Sandrone Valmaggiore Nebbiolo, and Donnafugata’s Ben Rye passito.
Cannavan was preceded on stage by two other Veronafiere award winners. Arnaldo Caprai of Cantina Arnaldo Caprai, considered one of the most illustrious names in Italian oenology, and Gina Gallo of E&J Gallo, the biggest family-run winery in the US, were both awarded the Vinitaly International Award for services to the global wine industry.
- “As a start-up brand you focus hard on achieving credibility and creating awareness. Winning Gold Outstanding and the Mezcal Trophy provided us with a level of credibility and exposure that we simply could not have achieved on our own. The awards helped secure key listings in Harvery Nichols and Selfridges and certainly played a significant part in opening up dialogue with potential U.S importers and ultimately securing one. I thought hard about which competition to enter and what the return on that investment would be. I can say with absolute confidence that the IWSC was worth every penny.”David ShepherdFounder & Director, Corte Vetusto
- “IWSC is a very important competition to us in terms of showing consumers our quality. It's one of the competitions that we definitely enter on a yearly basis.”Ian ChangMaster Blender, Kavalan Distillery
- “Out of all of the awards, the IWSC is probably the most prestigious and most honest awards. You choose your judges very well and they're very good, honest, decent people. They do it for the love of the industry.”Sukhinder SinghMD, The Whisky Exchange
- “The IWSC is a very prestigious competition. The prestige is a great thing to be able to communicate to our customers who have great respect for it.”David PorterOperations & Buying, Lea & Sandeman
- “The IWSC represents everything, without a doubt. There's no better competition in the world where you can judge yourself not just against your countrymen but against the rest of the world.”Andy AndersonWinemaker, Takapoto Estate
- “Fantastic company and fantastic award . . . In the wine industry, having an award like this is such an accolade.”Claire GriffithsCommercial Director, Vina Cono Sur
- “It's one of the greatest international awards you can get. It's similar to an Oscar, if you like.”Lenz MoserWinemaker, Yantai Changyu Pioneer Company
- “Because of the number of international judges that are tasting the wines and the number of wines that are being entered, it’s a great privilege for us to receive this award. The history of the competition, the standing that it has amongst the international wine world and certainly amongst one’s peers, to be able to get an award at the IWSC means a lot. There are a lot of competitions around the world – this probably represents the top award you could get as a winemaker.”Gary & Kathy JordanWinemakers, Jordan Wine Estate
- “It’s a great honour to win especially as nowadays people are focusing on the quality not just the numbers, so it does mean a huge amount getting recognition from an institution as well sought after as the IWSC.”Chris BlandyOwner, Blandy's Wines
- “This will be a recognition that will help in building the brand further, and building its prestige around the world.”Victor FuentesDirector General, El Coto de Rioja S.A
- “The IWSC is a well renowned, well looked up to standard and a symbol of premium products so it’s a great achievement to win any award.”Andrea FreeboroughCellar Master, Nederburg Wines