Wine Spectator opens a corked bottle.
September 1, 2008
Wine spectator recently gave the Excellence award to an italian restaurant that does not exist. Robin Goldstein, wine critic, in an attempt to prove the lack of any foundation behind many food and wine awards, entered to the Wine Spectator award of excellence a restaurant that does not exist and won. And what was even more surprising, when entering the award, the wine list entered included some of the most poorly rated Italian wines by Wine Spectator.
This is not the first case and will not be the last. In 2005 the Michelin Guide gave 2 stars to a restaurant that had not opened yet and according to what the chef said at that time, the restaurant got the stars because of the good relationship it had with the guide. Today there are too many awards and competitions and everyone wants to win one. On the other side, each award or competition wants to be seen as the one.
I have recently read a post on James Suckling's Blog (Wine Spectator blogger) where a reader was asking about a wine that according to him was one of the best and had never won the three glasses Gambero Rosso (which is considered the bible of Italian wines) and he replied to the reader that there were plenty of rumours about the way the Gambero Rosso was awarding the three glasses. This posting was published before the Excellence award became news.
Another element to bear in mind is the cost involved in participating in these awards or competitions, which, according to my experience, leave out a lot of potential winners, not everyone can afford to spend several hundreds pounds to enter them whilst the organisations running the competition get quite a substantial stream of revenue and they need winners to be able to run the same competition the following year. In the case of the Wine spectator excellence award, 4500 restaurants entered the award and 4181 received the award or a similar mention, a staggering 93% of the total.
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