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Wine competitions: what are the medals and awards really worth?

Concours de vins : que valent vraiment les médailles et récompenses des vins ?
Wine competitions

In the world of wine, competition is fierce. Winegrowers and producers do everything they can to attract the attention of discerning consumers and showcase their wines. One of the most common ways of standing out is to take part in wine competitions. However, it is essential to understand the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of these competitions.

The benefits of taking part in competitions

Taking part in wine competitions can bring many benefits to wine producers. It offers an opportunity to have your wines assessed by expert judges, who are often renowned sommeliers or oenologists (depending on the competition). This professional assessment allows producers to receive constructive feedback and to improve their products, but above all, to be able to promote the award they have won.

What's more, the medals won at these competitions are often seen as a guarantee of quality by consumers. Winning a medal or award is supposed to boost sales by increasing the credibility of the wine and attracting the attention of buyers. It is particularly used by winemakers who are little-known or unknown, or by new wineries looking to make a name for themselves on the market.

The disadvantages and limitations of competitions

However, there are a number of limitations to these competitions. First of all, there are the imported costs associated with registration, which can quickly escalate, especially if a producer wishes to submit several of his wines. There is also the cost of obtaining the diploma and/or medal. The organisers of the competitions receive their income from the medal-winning winemakers. The more medal-winning wines there are, the higher the organiser's turnover...

Another disadvantage is that competition results can vary considerably from one competition to another. Not all competitions are equal in terms of reputation, credibility of judges and judging standards. As a result, a medal won in one competition may not have the same meaning as a medal won in another. Vitivalor Wines, in close collaboration with Vitivalor Solutions, supports its partner estates by advising and guiding them on which competitions to target, depending on the estate's objectives.

A major problem that has emerged in recent years relates to the credibility of certain competitions. This echoes Gilbert & Gaillard, where a wine was awarded the top prize when in fact it was a counterfeit. There have also been cases of fraud. The integrity of the competitions is therefore being called into question, prompting many producers to think carefully before committing themselves.

French vs international wine competitions: advantages and disadvantages

In France, there are a number of prestigious wine competitions, such as the Concours Général Agricole (CGA) and the Guide Hachette, as well as Betanne + Desseauve. The benefits of entering these competitions include national recognition, increased credibility in the French market and the chance to connect with the industry's iconic players. Some competitions also have an international reach, particularly with state monopolies.

On the other hand, international competitions such as Decanter, Wine Enthusiast, James Suckling and the Frankfurt Wine Competition offer worldwide exposure. This can significantly increase a brand's visibility abroad. However, costs and competition are often higher, and it can be difficult for smaller producers to compete with established names.

Consumer confidence

For consumers, the key question is whether they can have confidence in the medals awarded at these competitions. The answer depends largely on the reputation of the competition and the integrity of its judging processes. Medals awarded by well-established and respected competitions tend to be more credible. However, it is always wise for buyers to be discerning and not to rely solely on medals when choosing their wine. The key is for producers and retailers alike to educate consumers about the winegrowers' history and expertise.

Taking part in wine competitions offers great opportunities, including professional assessment and increased credibility. However, there are also significant costs, doubts about integrity and sometimes credibility issues to consider depending on the competitions chosen. To help you make the right choices, Vitivalor Solutions can advise you on which competitions to prioritise according to your objectives and your wines. Contact us at !

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