A Spanish children’s book about winemaking has won the prize for best illustrated wine publication.

El Estornino Saturnino en la Tierra del Vino (The Gloomy Starling in Wine Country) by Judith Sáenz de Tejada won the prize at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2009, which took place in Paris earlier this month.

It charts a year in a vineyard through the eyes of a wounded starling rescued and adopted by a winemaker in Rioja.

The starling accompanies the winemaker, Ponciano, through pruning, budburst, sulphur spraying and harvesting. He eventually leaves Rioja to rejoin the migrating starlings on their way to Africa.

The author gave up her job as an art restorer in Madrid to live in Rioja, where she writes books and works for a travel company dedicated to the promotion of wine and culture, she told San Sebastian newspaper DiarioVasco today.

‘In my opinion, that cocktail of wine and culture is all part of the same view of life: love for our past, for the earth and for people.’

The book, published by the Dinastia Vivanco winery and cultural centre in Rioja, was also shortlisted for best wine title.

The book comes with an English translation.

WATCH our new How to taste wine video with Steven Spurrier

Follow us on Twitter

Written by Oliver Styles