If you decided to get a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for you restaurant wine list, what would you need? The answer according to Robin Goldstein is $250 and Microsoft Word. Restaurant not actually required. Goldstein, the author of The Wine Trials, has a posting up on a new web site describing how he invented a restaurant name, Osteria l’Intrepido, a riff on “fearless.” Then he typed up a menu (”a fun amalgamation of somewhat bumbling nouvelle-Italian recipes”), put together a wine list, and submitted both to Wine Spectator–along with the $250 fee. The list was approved and given an Award of Excellence.Further, the author of the phony restaurant says:
It’s troubling, of course, that a restaurant that doesn’t exist could win an Award of Excellence. But it’s also troubling that the award doesn’t seem to be particularly tied to the quality of the wine list, even by Wine Spectator’s own standards. Although the main wine list that I submitted was made up of fairly standard Italian-focused selections, Osteria L’Intrepido’s “reserve wine list” was largely chosen from among the lowest-scoring Italian wines in Wine Spectator over the past 20 years.As a restaurant owner this leaves me in a real quandary. The award does seem to impress people, and probably solidifies a restaurant as a wine destination in consumer's minds. However without any sort of measurable standards the award is meaningless.