Tom Cannavan appointed IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year 2018

IWSC news

Mon 26 Mar 2018

By Laurel Bibby

  • The creator of and Festivals of Wine is a “consummate professional”, IWSC says
  • Wine Communicator of the Year is jointly administered by the IWSC and Vinitaly, and sponsored by Vinitaly
  • Cannavan will be at Vinitaly, Verona, on 15 April to share his knowledge in a special masterclass: Falling in Love Again: Re-discovering Chardonnay
  • The award will be formally presented at the Vinitaly Gala Dinner on 14 April in Verona 

The International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC), the oldest and most prestigious competition for wines and spirits, has completed its search for the world’s best wine communicator.

Tom Cannavan was selected as the winning candidate in recognition of his work on his twin businesses, and The Festivals of Wine. In 2017, he celebrated 22 years of continuous publishing of, and launched three sell-out consumer wine festivals in major UK cities.

Cannavan’s online magazine is independently run and free to access, with an impressive 23,000 subscribers receiving a monthly newsletter, and over 450,000 unique visitors per month. In 2017 alone, Cannavan published over 200 pieces of content, ranging from in-depth reports to wine news, reviews and opinion pieces, and welcomed 5.5m readers to the site.

He also hosts tastings, lunches and dinners, quizzes, a UK wine forum, and publishes a weekly wine review on his YouTube channel. 

IWSC General Manager Adam Lechmere said “I’ve known Tom for years and have worked and travelled with him on many occasions. He’s a consummate professional, producing the comprehensive and highly-regarded alone and unaided, while carrying on the punitive tasting and visiting schedule that every wine professional knows and loves.

“The notes he taps out on his BlackBerry while standing in some freezing cellar or windy vineyard will appear in a matter of hours, polished and complete, on That’s what I call communication.”


Richard Stoppard, CEO – Partner Businesses at the conversion fund (the IWSC’s parent company), said Cannavan was a clear winner, with “23 years of wine passion that is clearly as relevant and well communicated today”.

Joe Fattorini, the 2017 Communicator of the Year, made up part of the judging panel, which included IWSC representatives and senior figures from the wine industry. He said this accolade is “a long overdue honour for one of the country’s best, most modest communicators”.

“What shines through is the importance and loyalty of Tom’s community – people brought together by his love of wine and his commitment to sharing his knowledge.”

Alongside the publication of, Cannavan launched The Festivals of Wine in 2017. Held in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh, the three festivals attracted 1,700 attendees and 100 exhibitors from 13 countries.

Manager of International Department of Veronafiere/Vinitaly Janina Mathiasz said “We are delighted with our 2018 winner Tom Cannavan, and very much look forward to seeing him host a tasting at Vinitaly. We hope he enjoys his success and will be an excellent ambassador throughout the world in 2018”.

Cannavan will be hosting a special IWSC masterclass at Vinitaly on Sunday 15 April, titled ‘Falling in Love Again: Re-discovering Chardonnay’.

Celebrating his award, Cannavan said “Like so many people in the wine business, it was a love of the subject rather than any grand career plan that persuaded me to launch my online magazine almost 25 years ago. Now, writing and broadcasting, social media, and my live ‘Festival of Wine’ events all give me the chance to share my passion for wine with others. 

“Since the beginning, I have tried to present high quality, authoritative information, but always to do so in an approachable, inclusive style that will engage both novices and wine aficionados. To have been awarded Wine Communicator of the Year 2018 is such an honour, especially since IWSC is a truly global competition, respected by the world’s wine trade. I was more active than ever in 2017, but I see this award as recognition of 25 years of dedication to the subject we all love. It’s fair to say I’m proud, humbled, and very happy!”

The IWSC Wine Communicator of the Year 2018 award will be formally presented at the Vinitaly Gala Dinner on 14 April in Verona.

> Read Tom's full profile
> Register for his exclusive tasting at Vinitaly
> Discover the 2018 nominees: Mariano Braga, Amelia Singer, Rob Buckhaven, and Ilkka Sirén