Why You Shouldn't Pick A Wine Just Because It's 'Award Winning'

Why You Shouldn't Pick a Wine Just Because It's

When you don't know much about wine, you might be lost when picking out a bottle. It's great to experiment and try different varieties, but if you're choosing a wine simply based on a gold medal award sticker, that's not the best indicator that it's good.

Photo by Gadini.

Winery owner Robert Hodgson gave Forbes some tips for picking great wine. Your own tastes and preferences will obviously vary, but Hodgson warns against selecting a wine just because it displays a gold medal:

My research has shown that gold medals, for the most part, only reflect the amount of money a winery is willing to spend for marketing, not so different than winning a jackpot at a casino. The more you play, the higher the probability of winning at least one jackpot. So it is with gold medals.   The more competitions entered, the higher the probability of winning at least one gold medal. And, as I have shown, if a bottle displays a gold medal, there is overwhelming evidence that the identical wine was also panned in other competitions. I personally do not place any faith in the verbiage to be found in the major wine publications. As far as "experts" are concerned, it is well known that they disagree.

Obviously, this isn't to say you should never buy award winning wine, but it's something to keep in mind if that's the only measure you're using to pick out a decent bottle. For more detail, head to the link below.

See also: Aroma, Palate, Mouthfeel: An Introduction To Wine

5 Expert Strategies For Buying Wine [Forbes]


    Medals or recommendations are the way to go. If someone else has liked it, it's a lot better start than some of the other bottles of vinegar out there that no-one likes.

    "As far as experts are concerned, it is well known that they disagree"

    Up to a point yes, but they will also tend to align on consistently fine wines (e.g. Wendouree Shiraz).

    It's worth finding a reviewer whose tastes on a certain varietal/region match yours. Then you can monitor their notifications to spot wines to buy in the future.

    I think that main issue with awards is noting what the award is for - often the award shown on the wine was not won by the wine itself. It may be for the winery or a different wine altogether.

    Fact of the matter is, if that wine won an award, then that wine is probably a better bet than one that didn't, especially if you have no idea what you're picking. However, an award is no guarantee you will like it or prefer it to a wine without an award.

    An award is a safe bet - not a sure bet.

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