Blood from a Stone: A Memoir of How Wine Brought Me Back from the Dead, written by Adam McHugh, has made the longlist for the prestigious André Simon Food and Drink Book Awards. This year’s UK-based award recognizes an international list of fifteen food books and nine drink books published by a variety of commercial, university, and independent presses.
Within the drink category, this year’s titles celebrate everything from books about coffee, sake, and cider to McHugh’s book about wine. The panel of judges reviewed one hundred forty books before narrowing it down to the longlist. The selected books were evaluated on four key criteria: the amount of original research in the book, the educational value of the content, whether it was a pleasurable read, and the quality of the work in total.
“Blood from a Stone is such a personal and unconventional exploration of wine, and I am so pleasantly surprised that the André Simon awards would choose to honor it. I am gratified that they made room for humor and self-discovery in what can be a pretty serious drinks business,” said McHugh.
Since its inception in 1978, this award has sought to honor the legacy of André Simon, an author, former president of the Food and Wine Society, and leader in the English wine trade throughout the 1900s. The award grew out of the André Simon Memorial Fund, which was established after Simon’s death and continues to be managed by a group of trustees to benefit the public in the fields of food and drink.
In McHugh’s own words, Blood from a Stone is a story about how “wine brought me back from the dead.” After leaving his career as a former hospice chaplain and grief counselor, McHugh found his new calling within the vineyards of France and ultimately as a wine tour guide, sommelier, and Certified Specialist of Wine in the Santa Ynez Valley of California. This memoir shares the highs and lows of McHugh’s personal journey alongside the old, old story of wine. In bringing wine and faith together, it is a new story about recovery, one of healing brought on by the good gifts of wine, friends, and the beauty of the wine country.
“Adam McHugh has not just written a terrific book about wine, he has pioneered a whole new genre of wine writing. At once funny and sad, his book is a deeply personal exploration of how one man finds himself through his relationship with the world’s most remarkable beverage.” said Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bibleand editor of WineSpeed.
Cindy Bunch, IVP Vice President, Editorial, said, “Reading Blood from a Stone is like being in a wine country tasting room overlooking the vineyards with a delightful host and an open afternoon to talk of nothing but wine. Adam McHugh brings to this book the same wealth of detail about the history of winemaking, the glories of the various regions around the world, and the insights into the industry that he offers in a tasting experience.”
The shortlist of titles within both the food and drink category will be announced in February 2023, and final awards will be presented toward the end of March 2023. A special commendation will be given to one of the shortlisted titles in either the food or drink category at that time as well.