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Award stickers on supermarket wine bottles?


Do they influence your wine buying decision?
Are they just a marketing device?
Can you trust them?
Let us know what you think.


I might be alone in this, but I pay no attention whatsoever to award stickers on wine bottles. When I used to buy from Lthwtes their brochures were full of ‘multiple award winner’ wines, that I’d get excited about before drinking them and finding them hugely underwhelming. Call me cynical, but it makes me question the awarding process, and wonder how much the winemaker/negociant/co-operative/distributor/whatever is paying for the sticker… Also it seems there are so many awarding bodies that everyone’s a winner, and therefore nobody is!

There are some decent bits and pieces in the supermarkets, no doubt about it, but the presence of an award sticker or lack thereof isn’t an indicator for me.


They seem to dominate in the new world, particularly oz stuff. I say 100% marketing, but if you’re in the market for a sub £7 oz wine and you’re in tescos it may be the best choice of the 8,125 different chardonnays they stock!


It seems to be a big thing for Bordeaux as well, but it’s just laughable. Using Lthwtes as an example, they boast 48 medal winners in their list of 109 Bordeaux wines. Two of those are Chateau Le Coin and La Croix de Bordeaux, with the former boasting golds from ‘Gilbert et Gaillard Guide des Vins’ and ‘International Wine Awards’, and a silver from 'Concours General Agricole de Paris; the latter has gold medals from Gilbert et Gaillard, and a double gold(!) from the China International Wine & Spirit Comp, along with a silver from ‘Mundus Vini International Wine Competition’.

I looked at Le Coin and Croix de Bordeaux because I’ve drunk both. £10 a pop. No redeeming features whatsoever!


I think there are awards and there are awards. While the IWC and Decanter awards aren’t the be all and end all, in a world of overwhelming selection they help to narrow the field. They are well-run events with good panels of experienced tasters.

outside of that, I’m more cautious. Those French regional awards always seem to say to me ‘the mutual backslapping award of pooling our resources and promoting each others’ wines’. Which I find dodgy.


Having kicked this one off, I think that they can be money making schemes for the organisers in that; from what I read one has to pay an entry fee for each wine submitted. £50+ rings a bell. Also with so many categories of winning, maybe best in show, category winner, trophy, possibly platinum, gold, silver, bronze, recommended and commended, I reckon that you would have to have an inferior wine not to win something. Gosh, I really am a cynic?!?
I have had a few bottles of French wine that had a Paris, Bordeaux and Macon Concours sticker on the bottle which were very acceptable. It is possible that they have a similar system across the Channel, maybe they have competitions allied to agricultural shows?
The bottle of Dead Arm Shiraz 2001 that I consumed last night had 5 different Gold medal awards stickers from London, San Francisco X 2, Sydney & Brussels. Also rated 98/100 by Robert Parker, Le Grand Fromage!!. So there is one wine with a bucketful of awards that was more than deserving.


No difference whatsoever. I’ve even seen them on the wrong bottles. My own judgment combined with trusted opinions


I’d have to say, I’d much rather try a gold medal Decanter or IWC awarded wine than something Robert Parker rates as exceptional. Just don’t share his tastes for monster wines at all.


They’ve cut the range a bit, do only 7,999 now


Apologies for sounding cynical, but Decanter exists because of advertising revenues. Those producers, agents and finance houses contribute and their wines get headlined, articles are written about them and they get awarded points. Nothing wrong with that in essence but the points and awards need to be taken with large pinches of sodium chloride.


Fair enough. We’ve all got to find our own way through the jungle of choice to find new and interesting wines. I think awards have their place, but I’m not naive, I know how the industry works. Which is why I buy from the WS so often.