Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Wine Competitions: Are They Utilized
I read two very interesting articles yesterday about Wine Competitions and the awarding of Gold Medals. I mention this because a few hours prior to reading them, I took my list of winners from the New York Wine and Food Classic and went shopping for wines on that list.
Both articles were a little harsh on the competitions and the awarding of medals, for a similar reason, An Analysis of the Concordance Among 13 U.S. Wine Competitions, published by American Association of Wine Economists.
I am not a connoisseur, a sommellier, a wine expert or a journalist. I am just an average Joe wine consumer who happens to buy some wines because of press releases and store tags or medal displays at the wineries. Although some, or even many, journalist in the industry may not agree with the competitions or their value to the winery, I believe they can be a great asset.
The problem is in the marketing of their winners.
I shop at at about 12 different stores for wine. I see in every store, by many of the price tags, wine ratings from the Spectator, Enthusiast, Advocate and other pubs, but never see any mention of how any wine did in competitions. The general public is not aware of any of this.
There may be a mention in one of the 4 page weekly papers, distributed in and around a local winery. After all, most wineries are near small villages in rural areas and local papers are hungry for anything local to print.
I read nothing of the New York Wine and Food Classic in the Syracuse papers and I see nothing about a great bottle of Riesling from Anthony Road Vineyards being named the outstanding New York wine for 2009 in any local paper outside the Geneva-Rochester area which is not far from that winery. I only know this because I blog, I read wine blogs and have a fondness for Finger Lakes wines.
If it is shown in a report that medal winners do not improve sales or does not make for a good wine, shouldn't the consumer, most of whom do not give a rats ass about ratings, make that decision. When a consumer walks into a local shop and sees two aisles of New York Wines, don't you for a moment think that displaying competition results won't improve sales of that wine.
Among the other titles I am not qualified for is Marketing Expert, but I don't see any effort by wineries to advertise through their distributors the results of competitions. This should also be on the agenda of the many associations that promote their region or their State's wines. I would love to walk down that aisle of New York wines and see some kind of tag under the display that indicates a gold or double gold winner and what event it was awarded at.
Another effort should be made to help advise the local shops about the competitions and awards.
In my case, I had a complete list of winners for the the New York Wine and Food Classic. I showed it to the owner of one of the larger shops in this area. Actually they have three large stores. He had no idea what I gave him. I would love to walk into a wine shop, ask about New York wines and have a salesperson say something like; "Here is a nice bottle of Thirsty Owl 2008 dry Riesling which just recently was named the best dry Riesling in NY by so and so" instead of "dry Riesling? Yeah I think there's some over there."
Enough with the rant! It was not my intent to do this on this blog, but it did somehow come out.
To read more about this and to understand a bit more, please read Amy Corron Power's blog AnotherWineBlog.com and Alder Yarrow's blog Vinography.Com. These are two of the best wine blog writers you'll find on the net. I just don't agree totally on this issue.
To read an opposing view of the above two blogs, check out Joe Roberts blog 1WineDude.com.
Read the articles and let me know your thoughts.