Wine competition woes

Some wine competitions seem to be in business only to earn an income for their owners. How else to explain the hyperbole they use to ramp the credibility and importance of their results – results which, after all, are only as good as the wines entered in the competition. Sometimes their gold-medal lists read like a “Best of a bad lot”. 

Germany has a competition called Berliner Wein Trophy. The title itself is ridiculous. A competition may award trophies to various wines, but it is not in itself a ‘trophy’. Yet that is what this one is called. 

Barossa Valley winery Chateau Tanunda (tastings) recently trumpeted its considerable success at 2015 Berliner Wein Trophy. No argument about the wines – they are superb – but the poor old consumer who tries to make sense of the names of show awards will quickly find his or her head in a spin. Chateau Tanunda won a premium gold, five gold and six silver medals. The picture accompanying the announcement shows a sticker for a ‘Grosses Berliner Gold’. What is the difference between a gold, a premium gold and a grosses gold, we are not told. 

In many international wine competitions, there is a superior type of gold medal, called – variously – double gold or grand gold. These terms are by now reasonably well understood as awards for a particularly high-scoring gold-medal wine. They are higher than a gold medal but not as high as a trophy. But why introduce more levels of gold, and more names no-one understands?
Also, as the name of the show, Berliner Wein Trophy, appears on all of the medal stickers, who can blame the punter for assuming the wine has won a trophy? 

A trophy is normally awarded to a wine that is judged the best of a number of gold-medal winners. To include the word trophy in the name of a competition is misleading and confusing.

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