Hey, here’s a question: How do wines get awards?

Hey, here’s a question: How do wines get awards?

We have all seen them, boasting proudly from the shelves of the grocery store. Gold Medal winner at the <fill in the blank> County Fair Wines Competition! Silver Medal Winner at the Newspaper in Your Home Town Wine Fair. What does all this mean? How many of these things are there? Well, it does mean something… most of the time. And, there are A LOT of them!

Why do wines need awards?

Most of the time a winery wants to collect as much “hardware” as it can. There are wine competitions at almost every county fair where wine is made. They all make concerted efforts to be objective and fair. The best of these competitions employ judges that are qualified by passing a test to be a certified wine judge as well as being paid to be there. A couple examples are the California State Fair Wine Competition and the San Francisco Chronical Wine Competition. That being said, there is only so much time in the day and not every competition can attract the best judges.

All of this means that if a winery sends it’s wine to enough of these events, eventually they will get a medal of some sort. Ok, if the wine is terrible that might not happen, but the odds are still pretty good. I have judged at some of the better competitions and at a couple… well, not so good. I have also tasted “medal-winning” wines that I would have poured in a potted plant at a party.

What does all of this mean?

Well, if you are inclined to use medal accumulation to choose wine, then you really need to get to know the good medals. Do a little research (thank you Google) and find out who puts on the most objective program. Who brings in the most qualified judges. Ok, sure, it seems like a lot of work, but you are better off being well informed, right? You could just use my method. Ignore all that stuff. Gamble. Try something new! What’s the worst that could happen? If it’s terrible, throw some fruit and an ice cube in it and serve it to Aunt Mabel as sangria. She’ll love it.

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