I have been a senior wine judge in Australia and South Africa for over 35 years and agree with most of what you have said. Sure there are wine shows and there are wine shows, however most credible (check out the judging panels and judging process if you have any doubt about credibility) wine shows will anoint wines that meet style and quality parameters determined by judges of great experience and perception.
I suggest in most Australian wine shows around 35 - 45% of wines will receive either a Gold, Silver or Bronze Medal.
Although a Bronze Medal may be seen by some as nothing to crow about it does tell the consumer that the wine is sound and meets the style parameters expected. No medal says to the consumer that you will like this wine as that is a personal choice (there are quirky palates as well as quirky wines!).
Also in most Australian wine shows producers are able to attend Exhibitor's tastings as part of the show process which allows them to taste their wines against those benchmarked by the judges. This also provides another check on the judging process as many of the producers been wine judges themselves.
With the plethora of wines available many consumers seek guidance in selecting their wines. Show medals are only a part of the assistance available in making the decision to buy a wine.
Educating your palate and increasing your knowledge of the provenance of wine seems a smart way to decide what wines (style, regions, producers etc.) you like - it is also a most enjoyable activity.
Hi Fongyee Walker, Thank you for a most refreshing article and attitude to wine. In the words of the great Len Evans; " it is just a drink so whump it into you."
We need to help consumers feel comfortable with wine and trust their own judgement (and palates). It should create great excitement (especially when shared with food and good friends) - we do have to eat and drink so lets enjoy it whenever we can (why not always??).
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