And The Winner Is... Second-Rate Plonk

Article date: 10 November 2006

Having come in for stern criticism over discount wines, supermarkets are now being challenged over another marketing tactic: wine medals. According to The Times, “money-spinning competitions have become the marketing men’s way of selling off any old plonk.”

Martin Isark, a wine taster and writer, told The Times yesterday that wine competition gongs were being used to sell unsold stocks of “plonk”, while the best vintages do not allow their labels to be tainted by such industry baubles.

Read the full article

The criticism over wine competitions goes like this. A merchant has unsold stock. So it’s entered, along with thousands of others, into a competition. And, lo and behold, it wins a medal. As do most of the others. Well it’s bound to. The competition charges for each bottle entered. A neat money-spinner. And what better way to keep the entries coming in, than handing out awards?

Now the wine has a new label and a bogus air of quality. This suits the retailers, such as supermarkets, because the public is more likely to buy it.

Whether or not this is fair criticism is open to debate. But the issue remains that buying wine at supermarkets can be confusing. Are half-price wines good value or a con? Does that gold medal mean anything? Especially if you’ve never heard of the competition or know nothing about the judging process?

In the end, that’s the challenge of this web site. To make it easy to find a good wine at your supermarket. One that’s been recommended by someone with a trust-worthy opinion.


  1. PHIL NUTTALL says:

    Yours is an interesting site, but as a visitor and drinker of Romanian wines, I find no mention of them on your web site. Yet I read elsewhere that Romania is the fourth biggest producer in the world! Is this simply down to poor image and ignorance? Believe me, I have tasted some excellent wine in Romania.

    18 April 2007

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