As a member of the “Wine Media” – I hear about medals won by wine all the time – in fact, I have been to a number of events where the wines were judged and awarded medals. My questions for consumers are:
- Does anyone in the general wine-drinking public care about these medals – most of which are from competitions many have never even heard of?
- When was the last time you purchased a wine simply based off of the medals it won in a competition?
- If you did make that kind of purchase, did you find your experience of the wine to collaborate with the medal(s) it earned i.e., gold. silver or bronze etc?
Example, you go into a winery tasting room here in Washington State and you’ll see notes about the wine or hear from the tasting room staff, things like: “This won a double-gold at the Tri-State Fair Wine Competition”. Call me a little naive here (really, go ahead, I promise I’ve been called worse) but how many of your typical “wine consumers” here in Washington State have either heard about or even care about that competition?
While I have my issues with the 100-point rating system, at least it’s an industry-accepted standard and does provide a quantitative benchmark for wines. However, this medal thing – to me – is a bit out of control. Did you know that there is normally a per-bottle fee that each winery has to pay to submit each wine for judging and that they have to submit those bottles on their dime? Wineries around the world, literally spend millions of dollars each year on these competitions and to what avail?
It would seem to me that the only competitions that would carry any real measurable merit on a regional or national level would be those conducted by magazines/web sites which have a large enough readership to even matter. A good example would be Sunset Magazine which has a combined print/web readership over 800,000 subscribers and covers many states across the west. A far cry from local state fairs or small competitions.
I don’t have an issue with any wine-related show/exhibition charging what they need to charge to cover their costs, however, if it doesn’t help the winery sell more wine then what good is accomplished here?
The intent of this post is to spur discussion between end-users and wineries – I’d love to read first-hand experiences from wineries of how some of these competitions have or haven’t impacted business and to hear from consumers on their thoughts of it. Please comment below and thank you!