Harry Eyres who was this year's assessor for the wine books, said that in a normal year all of the five short listed books would have been worthy winners.
He described Wine Grapes as an exceptional, groundbreaking work. Not only was it full of information on every page but it is also enjoyable to read. Much of the book's excellence comes from the DNA from José Vouillamoz.
Harry recalled that some 20 years ago Jancis wrote Vines, Grapes & Wines (published 1986) Wine Grapes 'goes far beyond'.
Of the other short listed books Harry described Brunello di Montalcino (University of California Press) by Kerin O'Keefe as a labour of love which is shown by the number of visits and amount tasted. He praised Eric Asimov (How to Love Wine published by William Morrow) for going back to a previous discursive approach, in particular for the chapter on ambiguity in wine - an antidote to the present emphasis on scores.
Neal Martin's Pomerol is a 'remarkable and exuberant book on a Bordeaux region that has only relatively recently come to prominence'. Harry recalled that his wine merchant father, Philip, had bought two cases of Pétrus 1967 - the best wine of the vintage. Two years ago they had shared the last bottle with his late father wistful that he could have bought 120 bottles rather than 24.
With all the changes in the region Peter Liem and Jésus Barquín's superb book (Sherry, Manzanilla & Montilla published by Manutius) is 'timely with many vineyards grubbed up, famous old names that have completely disappeared and now boutique producers' who have emerged.
I was very touched that the whole Avery family were so pleased with the photo I took of John raising a glass last year. It was one of those split second photos that you don't even have time to check the focus or anything else.
Caroline Conran won the Food Book Award for Sud de France (published by Prospect Books).
In all there were 20 drink books to assess and a massive 120 food books.