Medals in competitions, too many and some for counterfeit wines
English wine competition reward up to 70% of wines with medals while the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles carries out tests to catch those who falsify bottles
A very interesting article by Wine News underlines the excessive number of medals of the English wine contests. According to OIV there should be less than 33% whereas the various contests by “Decanter” awarded medals to 70% of the participants and <<“The Drinks Business”, regardless of a jury made up practically of only Masters of Wine, actually awarded in one go medals to 90% of the Champagnes>> state ironically Wine News. A situation that could be connected to the price to be paid for every one of the 16.000 bottles in the first of the competitions mentioned and that was put into evidence by “La Revue du Vin de France”.
The “Vinalies Internationales” seem to be much more rigorous, they give medals to 29,8% of the 3.500 competitors and the Concours mondial de Bruxelles gives recognition to 28,2% out of 8.000.
Although the advantages go quite rightly to the sole winners of these competitions every medal, if well used, with commercial actions and with vip clients, can give an increase in wine price between 10-15% and an increase in winery reputation.
These circumstances can attract those with malevolent intentions. For this reason the competition organizers keep their eyes well open to see if the bottles accepted are the same as those on sale. It is one of these checks that has brought to the discovery of a real fraud reported to the Belgium authorities by the director of the “Concours Mondial de Bruxelles
The episode told by Wine Searcher is one quite apt for a mystery book. The Bruxelles competition is, as I said above among the strictest. This year it has reached its 23rd edition, and has an itinerant formula, this year was in Plovdiv in Bulgaria, involving 320 jury members from 50 Nations. The winners receive every year Grand Gold, Gold and Silver which are replicated on the stickers that will be applied to bottles of the same wines on sale.
In 209 a Spanish judge bought a bottle that had been awarded a medal to take home to drink, then when opened it was awful and much much different to the one he had tasted during the competition. This circumstance was reported to the board of the competition started a programme of checking the correspondence between the bottles sent to the competition and those normally on sale to the public.
With a certain amount of difficulty the organizers found a laboratory in Bordeaux available to carry out these tests and this brought to the checking of 100 samples per year chosen at random among the various winners. Unfortunately or luckily the test found two counterfeit wines. They come from two different wineries and their names have not yet been made known but they won with wines different than those on sale. <<It’s impossible to say how widespread the practice is of submitting fake wines to the competition, but we hope that the testing program will make wineries more wary of being busted>> said Costenoble, responsible of the competition. We too share this hope, because sometime some winners to make you doubt. You buy the wine in a wine store and when you taste ii you say <<Is it really this wine that won that competition or maybe at the competition they had an incompetent jury?>>.