Medals Can Raise Price-Points

But all competitions are not equal

by Jane Firstenfeld
Hayward, Calif. -- Earning even a bronze medal at a major wine competition can add gold to winery coffers, according to a study published in the quarterly Journal of Wine Economics. But some competitions bring more lucrative results than others, and medals from two of the evaluated competitions actually correlated with lower price-points, so choosing which events to enter may be an important consideration.

The study's author, Tony Lima, of California State University, East Bay, examined results from nine U.S. competitions in 1995. Each awarded four possible medals: double gold, gold, silver and bronze. Lima tracked 1,884 different wines, each of which won at least one award at one event. "The San Francisco, Orange County, Sacramento and Riverside tastings seem to have the largest impact on price," according to the report. "Conversely, winning a medal at the New World International or in San Diego appear to have a significantly negative impact on price."

Wines & Vines asked Lima why his recently published study examined competitions from 1995. Lima said he had gathered the data "quite a few years ago," thinking he would need more to assemble his statistics. When he discovered that the information he was waiting for was irrelevant, he used the 1995 results "Because I had the data for that year."

"Winning a medal in San Francisco adds about $3.65 to the price of a bottle of wine," the report states. A medal at Orange County adds $2.33, Sacramento, $1.89 and Riverside, $2.02, while the New World International reduces prices by $1.14 and San Diego, $1.02. "Consumers appear to value medals won at San Francisco, Orange County, the California State Fair (Sacramento) and the Farmer's Fair (Riverside). The New World International and San Diego events are apparently viewed as an indicator that a wine possesses below average characteristics," Lima concluded.

To see the entire report, subscribe to the Journal of Wine Economics at wine-economics.org/journal.
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