Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wine Spectator Busted

I have not subscribed to Wine Spectator in years and don't read the magazine or pay attention to the scores.  My reasons are three fold: 1. Matt Kramer's editorials ticked me off one too many times; 2. I think the scores are dumb and the descriptions are useless.  In fact I have a theory that they use a bingo ball with 10 words and randomly pull out the same words to create each description.  If you cover the names of the wines in a section, the reviews are nearly the same with the words changing their order; 3. I have met winemakers who stopped advertising in WS and suddenly their wines got poor reviews.  I notice bigger ads seem to get bigger points too.

So it's no surprise to me that someone named Robin Goldstein recently did a little investigation on the Wine Spectators's restaurant awards.  I should note that I have received the award of excellence when I worked at the Sienna and always wondered how did WS know if my wine list was real?  Well, Robin did just that. He paid the fee ($250) submitted a fake wine list and fake menu for a fake restaurant and received the award of excellence.  Making it even better is that many of the wines on the list he chose were intentionally poor wines reviewed by WS in previous issues with scores like 72 pts, 64 pts and 62 pts for example.  

You can read his story at WS Award of Excellence.  -Salamanzar