ticipating results and buying or pro-
moting on the basis of final awards.
Wilfred Wong, cellar master at the
nearly 120-store BevMo! Stores in Ari-
zona, California and Washington and
a frequent judge at competitions him-
self, uses awards in tandem with his
own selections. “It’s another accolade
that legitimizes a wine or spirit in the
customer’s mind,” he says, though he’s
careful to exclude competitions seen as
As a retailer, Wong appreciates
the way competitions include many
palates to provide awards, and how the
predictable arrival of awards at the same
time annually makes it easier to plan
and respond to them, but he thinks
that a high score from a noted wine
critic still means more to customers
than a gold medal.
That’s partly the product of over-
worked retailers finding it easier to
clip or copy ratings, rather than wad-
ing through lengthy lists of winners
when competitions release notices
about hundreds of brands assessed.
In fact, with 90+ scores by critics
reaching a level of numbing frequen-
cy in our market, it can be argued
that medals, conferred by groups
of judges, represent a refreshing/
Aligning medal winners with store
inventory may take some work, but it
is nonetheless a golden opportunity to
share the opinions of some of the best
palates in the country. As competition,
especially from giant retailers, increases,
stores smartly employing every freely
provided advantage, like legitimate
awards, may be the ones who end up
with the gold themselves.
Jean K. Reilly MW
checks out a flight
at the Ultimate Wine
Making use of the
provide—free artwork and
medallion icons, for instance—
is simply good marketing sense.
2013 Professional Wine
Judges of San Francisco
Chronicle Wine Competition.
marks the spot...
leading to the dark, dangerous taste of
Hook’s Black Caribbean Spiced Rum
At 92 proof, this premium rum gives a kick
worthy of the mightiest swordsman—with
rich notes of cinnamon, clove and sweet
vanilla, overlaid with an oaky charred finish.
Sip it straight or mix it up. Either way,
adventure lies ahead.
©2013 Produced and Bottled By Hook’s Rum Import Co.,Weston, MO.
46% alc./vol. (92 PROOF) Drink Responsibly. Drive Responsibly.