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The power of wine awards

on 29/10/11 at 12:16 pm


Big wins at international wine competitions will only improve sales if they are properly communicated, according to winemakers and retailers.

“You can’t win a medal and expect your wine to walk off the shelf. It’s a lot harder work now; you really have to let your customers know about it,” Gary Jordan of Jordan Wine Estate in Stellenbosch told the drinks business.

Simon Doyle of Concha y Toro agrees: “Ten years ago, award wins had a much more immediate impact. Now it’s more ‘steady as you go’, with a gradual increase in sales rather than a sudden surge,” he said.

Producers are becoming increasingly cynical about wine competitions, and more discerning about which ones they enter. “Wineries are getting a bit tired of supporting someone else’s bank balance,” said Jordan. “With everyone trading off each other, you have to ask yourself: ‘what am I getting in return?’”

South Africa’s Eben Sadie and Ken Forrester have spoken publicly about their dislike of the wine competition model, refusing to enter any of the awards on the market.

Deborah Pratt of Canadian wine producer Inniskillin thinks the increasing amount of wine awards around the world is starting to dilute their importance: “People are less likely to react to the results if the market is flooded with similar competitions.”

There also appears to be confusion surrounding the meaning of the medals: “I read an article that said consumers consider a “commended” award better than a bronze medal, because bronze is seen as coming third and commended means experts have given it the thumbs up,” Andrew Maidment of Wines of Argentina told db.


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