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Decanter awards 2020

I see the shortlist is out and TWS are deservedly up for a number of awards yet again.

Interestingly, given the nature of some of the chat on here, there is no nomination for En Primeur!

Have made shortlist though for -

Large online retailer
Subscription wine club
Italy specialist (although imho, I think the Italian selection could be stronger)
Rhone specialist
Spain & Portugal Specialist
Central & Eastern European specialist.



If I remember correctly, at so many of these Awards, the “Company” must pay a charge for inclusion. It is the same at Wine Awards and there is, in my mind a ubiquitousness regarding the number of these “back slapping” dinners.
I may be alone, BUT I do not require Decanter to tell me who is the best Online Retailer, Rhone Specialist etc.
I will however concede that many are influenced by this type of Accolade, it may not be to my taste - it does however probably bring new members to our door, which must be welcomed. :+1: :dragon:

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That isn’t my experience of these type of awards.

When my company has been up for awards, it’s because the judges have included us on the shortlist after we have submitted a detailed nomination.

Where the company must pay, is to take a table at the big gala dinner which they feel obliged to do just in case they win the award and need to go and collect it.

Obviously, no such events can take place now so that wont be an issue.

No idea if that is the format re these awards.

TWS has been a consistent winner in these awards, I think it reflects well and, as you say, can only encourage others to join.


Good for TWS of course, but specialist in this case is a bit of an overstatement. One-eyed man and land of the blind jump to mind.


Somebody actually did some research into this a few years ago (I’m damned if I can find it, it may be 15 years ago so not readily googleable).

My memory is sketchy, but it went something like if you entered all your wines into the available European competitions you had a 90+% likelihood of a Bronze, 60+% of Silver and 40+% Gold medal. As a (large scale) producer I’m sure you’d like those odds.

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That is my feeling!! :+1: :+1: :clap:
I seem to remember that there was a £50 per wine charge, to enter a wine.
The upside being a very, very high likelihood of getting a “sticker.”
There was/is a category of “commended,” for all the wines that got neither of the 3 you mention. And the “Best in Class” and the “Trophy” one.
I recall ASDA promoting an Argentinean Malbec Trophy winner, it reinforced my utter dislike for this grape variety and on the technical side, it was nothing special.
These days I bodyswerve (akin to Shane Williams) any bottle with a Competition Sticker on it.
I will however honestly confess to buying a 6 bottle case of:
D’Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz 2001 from the Society at £20 per bottle.
I have tasted another six bottles, and it is fantastic.
When I got a bottle, well just look and see!! :blush: :blush: :open_mouth:
And my original 6 bottle case, still resides collecting dust, in store. :dragon:

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Taffy, I’m so glad you jumped into the fire on this one before me! I could have written your comments word for word apart from the last paragraph.

Judging by the absurd number of nominations (short list) it goes to indicate just how few serious players there now are in the market.

For me, Decanter has been too niche for many years, I stopped subscribing years ago.


A lot more than that. For my sins I managed - as a freelance - the logistics of wine competition samples for a major food and wine retailer about ten years ago, going rate then was about £110/sample - and don’t forget there were three competitions (Decanter, IWSC, IWC). A lucrative activity!

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Many years ago, I was a loyal Decanter subscriber.
And for a number of reasons I lost interest.
I felt that it became self - serving.
Then the pay wall.
Then, and most importantly; they unceremoniously dumped John Livingstone-Learmonth; their long serving, loyal and universally acclaimed Rhone Expert (DrinkRhone.com) for a correspondent who, for me was not in the same stratosphere!! :anger: :cry:
There are many other places that I can spend the £99 for the Decanter Full Monty, incl. App, no doubt discounts are available from time to time.
Just for comparison.
annual subscription for:
Vinous.com £106
RobertParker.com £76 (The Wine Advocate)
JebDunnuck.com £76
DrinkRhone.com £25


Blimey, TWS gets nominated for a few awards, no bad thing in my view, and still the thread turns into a moan! Chill out. :relaxed: :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


My sentiment entirely! :+1: Then again, I am a WS sycophant :smiley:


Harsh! :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


The merchant awards make sense to me. The bronze, silver and gold medals for wines much less so.

I was using your words as inspiration… :wink:

"…but there must be a place for commentary of those less sycophantic about the day to day comings and goings of TWS… "

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I have no problem handing out plaudits to TWS. :clap: :clap: :+1:
The reserves cellar that they have permitted me to accumulate, even impresses ME!! :rofl:
But no organisation is perfect, and they should be/ and are open to constructive criticism.
And in a spirit of good faith, Steve Finlan will listen and I cannot say fairer than that. :dragon:

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Decanter have made an ungodly mess of their digital product. Honestly, I cannot think of a way they could have made this worse.

I still subscribe to the digital mag because it comes once a month and is something I can sit with on the iPad for a while but the website and emails are, not no put to fine a point on it, dogshit.


Agreed. It’s really not a good website (or app, if you’ve tried it).

2019 figures = 17,000 entries

50 were Best in show (how can they all be ‘best’?), 148 platinum, 480 gold, 4,164 Silver and 7,376 Bronze.

2020 cost to enter a wine = £160 + vat , plus £51 shipping (plus I suppose the cost of the bottles of wine). Which lets face it is damn cheap considering you have a high chance of winning a gong. And if entries are same as 2019, Decanter rake in around £3.4M in wine entry fees alone.

I’m not moaning, just pointing out the readily available facts. 74% won a gong in 2019. YAY !!!

Regarding merchant awards, there were 31 categories, each with a winner and runner-up, between 2 and 10 entries for each category (most had around 5 entries). So again, it wasn’t that difficult to win a merchant award especially when 7 categories were a two horse race.


I subscribe to the paper edition only, but wonder for how much longer. There is no longer an in-depth review of Bordeaux EP as there used to be, normally in time to help with selection at time of ordering. Now I think only available with the “Premium” edition.The latest edition included a section on spirits (not interested). No panel tastings (Covid 19 difficulties, apparently, but can it be that hard?) Earlier in this thread someone remarked on ‘niche’ nature of the magazine-" US urban wineries" anyone?

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Absolutely ludicrous. A total waste of time and money, unless your name is Decanter