Wednesday 28 April 2021 11:44 am

Wine's not just for tasting: Meet the wine photographer of the year

Wine is not just about the nose, the finish and mouth feel. It’s about inspiration, lighting, styling, composition and framing, and being in the right place at the right time.

Spain’s Oscar Olivares, an award-winning vinographer, has just become the 2021 Errazuriz Wine Photographer of the Year, receiving  a prize of £1,000 and the prestigious title.

Oscar’s winning photograph – “A Grape View”–  captures Semillon grapes being prepared to be pressed at the cellar.  “It was taken on the first day of the harvest of Sauvignon Blanc at Château des Ganfards, in Saussignac, Bergerac where I live and work as a winemaker.

“I grew up in Alella, one of Spain’s smallest wine-growing regions and the closest to Barcelona. We only have ten wineries but we are very proud of our local white grape variety, Pansa Blanca. One of my favourite producers is Oriol Artigues Viticultor.”

After completing his studies in wine commerce and marketing in 2010, Oscar worked in New Zealand for Mount Riley in Marlborough and Te Mata Estate, Hawke’s Bay, before moving to Champagne Tarlant in France.

“I bought my first digital camera in 2018. During my first harvest in New Zealand, my grandfather, a viticulturist, passed away and I regret not learning more about wine from him. This is why I now have a strong desire to learn, experience and to document. Photography is a way of discovery, a way to express myself and to communicate. Wine is a gift from nature, a cultural heritage that has been passed through generations.” 

The annual event was hosted on the event’s YouTube Channel by Fred Sirieix, best known for Channel 4’s First Dates and BBC’s Two Million Pound Menu. The other finalists were Australia’s Victor Pugatschew, with a picture  taken in the Hoddle’s Creek vineyard, and Ukraine’s Lana Svitankova, with her piece “The Vanishing Art” taken in a cooperage in Porto.  There were no British finalists.

“The range and quality of images this year has been extraordinary,” said Caroline Kenyon, founder and director of the awards. “They tell moving, beautiful, informative, entertaining food and drink stories of every kind from around the world – a world still gripped by the pandemic – and show us how food and wine connects us all.”

Wine photography was part of the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2021 event, the world’s leading celebration of food and wine photography and film.

The prize, in its ninth year, was created by Chilean winemaker Eduardo Chadwick, President of Errazuriz and Decanter Man of the Year 2018. Maximiano Errazuriz, founded Vina Errazuriz in 1870, was responsible for planting the first French grape varieties in the Aconcagua Valley. Its flagship is Errazuriz Estate Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (Majestic £9.99).

Chadwick was a judge for several years before being succeeded by his daughter Magui Chadwick, Family Ambassador for Errazuriz.