Almost Any Wine Can Be "Award-Winning"
Due to a sitcom-esque mix-up, you've accidentally invited a date and your boss over for dinner tonight. Fortunately, you can impress them both by showing off your elite knowledge of wine. Unfortunately, you don't actually have an elite knowledge of wine. But that's OK; you can just pay extra for a bottle with a fancy-looking award label, then bullshit something about mouth feel, right?
Well, contrary to popular belief, the glamorous awards you see on wine bottle labels don't mean much at all. Wine competitions don't function like Olympic events, wherein thousands of hopefuls are whittled down to the best three, then bestowed with rare honors. If you look at the results of the 2017 International Wine Challenge, there were 9,569 "winners." The majority of wines that enter a competition will walk away with some sort of prize. In one case, it was 70 percent.
According to an anonymous judge, the only way a wine won't be commended is if it makes someone "retch." Another said, "A commended wine is one that causes you less than pain." Wineries will also take awards they won for, say, a 2011 white and slap them on 2017 bottles of red. Or if they somehow failed to "win" anything at all, they'll add their own suspiciously similar-looking labels.