academy awards of wine?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I’ve been in Palm Springs for the past week, attending the Palm Springs Film Festival as a guest of the talented Mrs. G, whose film “A Not So Still Life” was included in the “Best of the Fest” and voted to the Top Five best films by the audiences. This evening we are watching the Golden Globes with a group of friends, gathered round a cozy courtyard on a balmy winter evening. Awards awards awards.

They’re fun, exhilarating, inscrutable, sometimes aggravating, but always fascinating, whether you are an observer or a participant. So why can’t the wine industry come up with a legitimate awards system to honor the best in the world?

Yes, there are many, many (TOO many) judgings, but these are mostly excuses for the organizers to make money. There is no one awards competition that is comparable to the Academy Awards for film. And why not? It really would not be that hard to put it together. Here’s how.

Choose 100 well-known and universally recognized wine judgings from around the world. Take the winning wines from each and put them all into a single competition. Toss in some nominees from a handful of influential critics. Do a big tasting with celebrity judges. Then roll out the awards on tv with celebrity chefs, winemakers, critics and entertainers. Jazz it up with some comedy, some music, whatever. If you can make cooking on tv interesting, certainly someone can make a wine competition entertaining.

And then we would know, at least once a year, which truly were the best wines in the world.


Woody said...

I completely agree! I would watch those every year. This way you would take all the top wines from each judge, and judge them independently. I have found over the time that there are some judges that my palet agrees with and a few here and there, that no matter how good they say the wine is, I dislike it. Great Idea!

Ron Washam, HMW said...

OK, Paul, this sounds like you'd had more to drink than the crowd at the Golden Globes.

The great wines in the world almost NEVER enter wine judgings. So now you're judging the best wines to enter wine competitions, which is like giving Oscars to the best films that went straight to DVD.

Congrats to your wife, however! How do we see the film?

Jo Diaz said...

I tried doing just that in 2001, and was told by another wine PR pro the following: "Do you know how dangerous that would be?"

Well, I didn't give a rat's patootie, but without support, I wouldn't be able to pull it off.

I thought it was a splendid idea then, and I still think that it's long overdue.

Jo Diaz said...

Okay, so I should have read in greater detail... still trying to recover my original idea.

My idea was to give awards to wine writers of distinction for works they had produced over the course of a year.

Oops! You can delete both comments, if you'd like... Or, maybe other people could comment on this concept!

PaulG said...

Jo, all good ideas welcome on this forum! Ron, you are right. That's why I added the bit about nominations from wine writers – to fill in the gaps.

Ron Washam, HMW said...


Great wineries know they have more to lose entering competitions than they have to gain. So why would they? And how does one judge Margaux next to Guigal next to Chateau d'Yquem next to DRC? And then have them compete with the crappy Cabernet that won the most wine competitions in the country. Blech.

Celebrity judges? Surely, you jest. Who? Vaynerchuk? Parker? Hugh Johnson? No one would tune in for them. Maybe annoying rich guys who can afford to drink all the wines that would win. After all, if a movie wins an Oscar for Best Picture we can all go enjoy it for the same amount of money. If DRC La Tache wins Best Wine it's consumed by Chinese billionaires mixed with Diet Coke.

Wines are made to be put into beauty pageants. Which is why wine judgings are about business and not about the results. I'll never forget the proprietor of Chateau Margaux saying when asked how he thought his '82 compared to Latour's '82, "I don't make wine to be compared to my neighbors', I make Margaux." Exactly.

PaulG said...

Ron, think Academy Awards. The Academy picks the entrants. The celebrities are real celebrities – who said they had to be wine writers? There are categories – you have an award for each. Think ShowBiz! This is a totally workable and fun idea. Not a beauty pageant - an Oscar!

kschlach said...

Interesting idea, but you'd need deep pockets to buy all that wine! While not on an international scale, Doug Frost's Jefferson Cup is perhaps the closest that this idea has come to fruition.

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