Australian wine writer James Halliday has won the 2005 Saltram Australian Wine Communicator Award.

Halliday received the prize for his book, the Australian Wine Companion 2006, which profiles over 2,000 wineries and gives tasting notes on 4,500 wines.

‘The consistency and detail of this annual guide is extraordinary,’ said Jancis Robinson MW. ‘That it is the work of one person is almost incredible.’

Robinson was one of four judges, along with Len Evans AO OBE, Nigel Dolan, senior winemaker at the Saltram estate, and Darren Jahn, president of the Wine Press Club of New South Wales, which also sponsors the award.

Now in its second year, the award is one of Australia’s most prestigious wine trophies, with the winner pocketing AUS$11,000 (£4,500).

Halliday, a contributor to Decanter magazine, has written or co-authored more than 60 wine books since 1979, and won many awards, including Decanter Book of the Year, the André Simon Book Award and the James Beard Award. He was first approached to write a wine guide in 1985.

‘I wrote the book at night and on weekends,’ he later said. ‘It was typed by the midnight to dawn word processing section at Clayton Utz [a law firm] on nights when they had nothing else to do.’

Halliday’s annual Australian Wine Companion is Australia’s best selling wine book.

To read Halliday’s Decanter article on screwcaps, see the July issue of Decanter magazine out 7 June.

Written by Felicity Carter