Controversial article in the Times today discussing the role of wine competitions. Are, as they suggest, just money making schemes for the organisers or ‘scrupulously fair’ and impartial events that highlight the very best wines available and give un-represented wonders exposure to the market?
Specifically looking at the two UK events – the International Wine Challenge
and the World Wine Awards
– the first run by Wine International, the latter by Decanter Magazine. It is well known that Wine would have closed
years ago if it wasn’t for the income generated from the IWC. They are mammoth undertakings – try organising 9,000 different wines, the multitude of tasters, runners and so on. Are they totally fair though? Over the years some surprising wines have been awarded the top accolades; results that were put down, amongst the trade, due to the amount of money spent or special advertising deals, unsubstantiated of course, but widely accepted.
And don’t get me started on the printed results – page after page of little tasting notes. Who reads these? I am much more interested in the smaller focused tastings such as the New Wave Spanish Wine Awards
and the Top Vin De Pays
Awards both organised by Off Licence News.
“Several of the top wine competitions hand out several thousand types of award, rendering most accolades absolutely worthless, he said, adding that his view was shared by many experts. He said: “Who is benefiting from these awards? It has to be the wine houses who clear their stock, the supermarkets who can drum up sales from promotions, and the companies which organise the competition. I am not convinced the consumer gets anything out of it.”
UPDATE: BBC Radio 4 You and Yours, available for the next week on listen again, has a debate on the issue between Robert Joseph and Martin Izak. Lasting for about 6 minutes the discussion starts 20 minutes into the program.
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