Can’t remember where but someone once said that the bronze medal awards were the most useful as those wines should be avoided at all costs.
From me - another thumbs down for awards stickers. My buying habits from TWS are either repeat buys for wines I know quite well, albeit with vintage changes, or something unusual or interesting about which I know less than I should. Sometimes too it might be research for a forthcoming wine trip.
Just an anecdote - Forumers may remember our local Norfolk winery Winbirri winning a “platinum” best in show type medal for their Bacchus - I think it was the 2018 but can’t remember exactly. Anyway of course it sold out quickly. Winbirri continue to make a lovely Bacchus every vintage but… no more medals. Why ? because Lee, the winemaker, doesn’t bother entering it any more as he knows he will sell the entire vintage fairly quickly anyway.
The other problem I have with these awards, is the lack of nuance.
The medal system essentially comes down to " outstanding / good / average / indifferent " - but I (and I suspect many others) buy according to personal taste and other criteria.
Example: Chablis is the preferred white at Chateau Lapin… and it has to be light, fresh and mineral. Yet the awards tend to go to wines which are rich fuller bodied & more complex in style.
I’m very sorry not to be as erudite as some of the other responders but personally I think they are a load of ‘old tosh’. Even lower down than The Brit awards, if that is possible!! Well you did ask! Sorry
Completely agree on the return of the member and press review pages, those are definitely the most useful for me. PLEASE can we have an update on when they will be coming back?
I do look at the decanter awards, though I also accept the caveats others have rightly pointed out.
Any form of award that is only dished out to those who pay to enter loses any form of meaning really.
Is an Argentinian Malbec (insert other region/grape as needed) that gets a gold better than a Lafite that does not ? Of course not, but only one of them pays the entry fee to join the circus.
I would have thought the society’s funds were better spent elsewhere (e.g. fixing the members reviews and stock keeping issues mentioned elsewhere) than engaging in a vanity fest to make their bottles look like a North Korean (or any other dictatorship) general on parade.
In my opinion the society should be pushing the message of how good their buyers are and the range they offer - who gives a monkeys what colour a sticker is if they know the wine has been bought by someone whose tastes they trust/align with.
Platters stars are the only awards I take any notice of.
The Decanter awards (and similar) undermine that publisher’s credibility as a serious authority on wine in my eyes.
Also a bit of soft spot for those with Guide Hachette stickers and especially the Coups de Coeur. I think it it is free for French wine producers to enter their wines.
The presence of an awards sticker may not mean much to those already in the Society (the cognoscenti!), but would they not help draw in new members; “Come join the Wine Society, we have all these wines with all these awards. Aren’t we good?”
Then of course they join, and completely ignore the stickers. But they have joined.
More members!!! It’s hard enough getting some of the low stock wines already, don’t need any more trying to take our wine!!!
You make a fair point, I think the overall awards for specific region seller of the year awards could be worth while as they are more about the quality and value of range, demonstrate expertise. Not sure individual wines being judged makes much difference to membership.
I agree with the general consensus on awards/award stickers. I think they appeal more to the uninformed wine buyer as a perceived guide to quality, but community members tend to be of the informed nature so are pretty meaningless.
However, they may appeal to a certain category of TWS members, just not the ones this community is representative of .
This puts the onus on TWS to be very selective on how they use this I think. I certainly don’t want them paying money to enter a whole range of ‘awards’ or giving wine away to ‘influencers’. I don’t believe that they do, but that would not sit at all well with me.
They do give wine away via their PR company to “influencers” but have moved away from the more controversial influencers and are using more lifestyle types and some wine influencers who have a large following.
Thanks @Leah. I couldn’t remember. I still don’t like it conceptually. The mere phrase ‘lifestyle types’ gets stuck somewhere in my septum!
It’s not in the same league as the ‘crypto influencers’ who may rightly get into some uncomfortable places soon…
Free-to-enter awards have a bit more credibility for me…as opposed to the ones which are nothing more than a money-making scheme where producers pay a fee for a near-guaranteed sticker on their bottle.
But as @MikeFranklin said earlier
if the membership is to grow (and that’s a whole other can of worms), then you need to bring in members. And being able to say TWS has more awards than Tesco’s would help, with some people; the people who don’t just buy the wine on offer at the end of the aisle, but actually differentiate, and go for the wine with an award.
Draw them in, dare I say educate them, and everyone’s a winner (apart from those falling foul of the EP algorithm!)
basically the awards stickers are not for us, but for the future us.
Is this question because the Wine Champions judging is going to commence shortly?
I guess I see it a bit differently when you know a bit more about the competition, the judges and have a level of trust in their motives. Hopefully no paid entries there!!
Assume that’s TWS own Wine Champions you mean? If so, I agree with you, but the original question was more specific to IWC and Decanter.
Not a new subject, and many articles reveal the whole reason for awards and how easy it is to get one, this is just one of them and is five years old, little changes.