Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards Exposed as a Total Farce

My colleague Jim Gordon who currently edits Wines & Vines magazine just pointed me to an article on their web site that made my jaw hit the table.

Reporting from the recent meeting of the American Society for Wine Economists, writer Peter Mitham describes a presentation by researcher Robin Goldstein, who seems to have performed a sting operation on the Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards and exposed them as a total farce, as part of his ongoing investigations on the perceptions of value and quality in wine.

In summary:

1. Researcher invents fake restaurant in Italy.
2. Researcher builds web site for fake restaurant.
3. Researcher constructs wine list of the lowest scoring Italian wines from Wine Spectator in the last decade.
4. Researcher enters Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards.
5. Fake restaurant wins Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.

I haven’t laughed so hard at a piece of wine news in years. It’s truly unbelievable.

Read the article at Wines & Vines, and then go read the the researcher’s own blog post on the subject, which includes text from the Spectator’s reviews of the wines on his list. It’s hysterical.

If this is true, it completely destroys any shred of credibility that these awards might have.