Wine and spirit brands rarely make such widely broadcast use
of honors bestowed at the numerous major and minor tasting
competitions held annually, even as the number of competitions
has been increasing. Such investment is significant, and it raises
the issue of whether retailers can put these honors to better use
as well.
The reasons why producers enter competitions are numer-
ous and mostly self-evident. There’s nothing like a third-party
endorsement when a producer can’t afford media campaigns or
advertising in major magazines, says Jeff Runquist, producer of
California’s Jeff Runquist Wines. “We look to the competition
results to act as enticements for folks to try the wines,” he says,
and so he features on his company’s website recent awards from
the California State Fair and competitions in Los Angeles and
San Francisco. (Disclosure: I have judged at one time or another
at all the competitions mentioned in this story.)
hile radio ads promoting wine and spirit
brands are hardly a new phenomenon, a
current nationally aired promo for Avión
Tequila stands out. The ad presents the
tequila’s qualities and image, of course, but the
main thrust is the award it garnered: “Best Tequila”
at an annual competition. And when Bacardi
developed a print ad for their new Cognac, D’ussé,
the creative showcases a Gold Medal, not critics’
scores. And if you watch Food Network, you have
probably seen an ad for Black Box wine, touting 40
gold medals in assorted competitions.
by jack robertiello
Wine and Spirit Competitions Increase,
Offering Retailers a
Golden Oppor tunity
Above: Rosé entries
await judgment at
the Ultimate Wine
Challenge 2013.
Left: Judging room
at the Dallas Morning
News competition.
Top left & opposite page top / Ultimate Beverage Challenge photos by Daniel Silbert (Opposite page bottom) Photo by Hawkes Photography
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