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Gold medals mean wines are worth 13% more

Gold medals mean wines are worth 13% more

A working paper by the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE) claims winemakers can charge 13% more for wines that win a Gold medal in a competition.

The study, entitled 'The Causal Impact of Medals on Wine Producers’ Prices and the Gains From Participating in Contests', sought to ascertain the affect a medal has on the price of wine. 

It collected data from eleven wine competitions: the Concours de Bordeaux (BOR), a regional contest devoted exclusively to Bordeaux wines; the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles (BRU), a Belgian international contest held each year in a different country; the Challenge International du Vin (CHA), an international contest held in the Bordeaux region; the Concours des Vignerons Indépendants de France (CVI), a nation-wide contest only for individual and independent winemakers; the Decanter World Wine Award (DEC), a recent but large international competition organized in London by the Decanter magazine; the Concours Mondial des Feminalise (FEM), a recent contest that went international in 2015 and where all judges are women; the Concours International de Lyon (LYO), a recent international contest held in Lyon; the Concours des Grands Vins de France à Mâcon (MAC), an old national contest held in Mâcon; the Concours Général Agricole (PAR), the oldest and largest French wine contest, held in Paris; the Vinalies Nationales (VIN), a national contest where all judges are professional oenologists; the Vinalies Internationales (VII), the international counterpart of VIN.

The paper's authors – Emmanuel Paroissien and Michael Visser –  studied the expected costs and benefits of entering a wine competition. They looked at competition participation fees, the price of medal stickers on bottles, and the costs of sending wine samples to competitions; then they calculated the difference between those costs and the price increases after medals were awarded. 

"Our preferred estimate indicates that a producer whose wine received a medal can augment his price by 13%. The impact for gold turns out to be much larger than for silver and bronze," the researchers said.

This study that the March 2006 issue of the leading wine magazine La Revue du Vin de France revealed that winning a medal at a wine competition allows a producer to increase its price by between 10 and 15%; while the Concours de Bordeaux competition for Bordeaux wines that a gold medal gives the producer the chance to up its price by 30%.

"When we allow the medal effect to differ across competitions, we find that only for a small group of contests there is a statistically significant effect. This group is made up of the most prestigious competitions that have been
founded a long time ago. Interestingly, their judges are required to evaluate relatively few wines per day, and they grant medals by oral consensus. Next we have calculated the profit producers may expect to get from participating in these competitions. We find that that the incentives to participate in competitions is high.

"Finally we contribute to a literature that sheds doubt on the reliability of juries and evaluation committees in
all sorts of contexts. We find that only a minority of contests attribute medals that are significantly correlated
with wine quality."

The Drinks Business notes: "Although the study is limited in its scope, it is particularly interesting to see that the most reliable relationship between rising wine prices and medals is found among those competitions where there is an unhurried and open approach to assessing the entries, as opposed to scoring large numbers of wines without discussion."

“Wine is complicated, and anything – a fancy label, a price point, an award – that gives customers the confidence to try the wine helps,” says Aldi’s wine buyer, Mike James, told db.

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