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Delhi Wine Club

Posted: Thursday, August 28 2008. 13:45

Wine Spectator gives Real Award to Fake Restaurant

Delhi's Diva, Mumbai's Indigo Restaurants and the Taj group of Hotels and other aspiring restaurants in India  may not flaunt their Wine Spectator's wine and food list awards so fervently when they find out that the coveted wine magazine recently included  an imaginary restaurant in Italy with a poor wine list for this year's awards .

Milan based ' Osteria L'Intrepido'  restaurant won Wine Spectator magazine's award of excellence this year despite a wine list that features a 1993 Amarone Classico Gioe S. Sofia, which the magazine once said tasted like paint thinner and nail varnish. It also included a 1985 Barbaresco Asij Ceretto, which Wine Spectator described as "earthy, swampy, gamy, harsh and tannic. But is worse is that the restaurant does not even exist.

It is an online fiction created by wine critic and author Robin Goldstein, who said he wanted to expose the lack of any foundation for many food and wine awards. All he did was to create a bogus Web site for the restaurant and submitted an application for the award along with a copy of the restaurant's menu and a wine list which include terrible wines like the Amarone and Barbaresco.

"I am interested in what's behind all the ratings and reviews we read. The level of scrutiny is not sufficient," said Goldstein, who is reported to have revealed the prank while presenting a paper at an American Association of Wine Economists meeting in Portland, Ore.

Wine Spectator claims to have made significant efforts to verify the facts, which meant calling up the restaurant and checking the website on Google. "We called the restaurant many times. Each time we reached an answering machine and a message from a person purporting to be from the restaurant claiming that it was closed at the moment," Googling the restaurant turned up an actual address and located it on a map of Milan. The restaurant sent us a link to the web site that listed its menu." says a company executive defending their award.

The magazine says it never visits the 200 establishments that get its award annually. It claims the awards have contributed to the growing popularity of wine since they were started by the magazine in 1981.

Getting the award isn't like winning an Olympic medal. This year, nearly 4,500 restaurants spent $250 each to apply for the Wine Spectator award. All but 319 reportedly won the award of excellence or some greater kudos, to the applicants but over a million dollars to Wine Spectator, according to Chicago Tribune.

Here is  a mail sent to the award winning restaurant which is self-explanatory:

"Dear Restaurant Award Winner: Congratulations, your restaurant has been selected as a Wine Spectator 2008 Restaurant Award winner! All award winners will be listed in our Annual Dining Guide, published in the August issue of Wine Spectator, and will be mentioned in our restaurant database and online at I am writing to ask if you have an interest in publicizing your award by placing an ad in the upcoming Restaurant Award issue. We will be creating a special advertising section where ads will receive premium positions located in the Restaurant Dining Guide. Space closes on Friday, June 6th. Special rates start at only $3,090 for a 1/8 page 4-color. The rate card and additional information can be viewed here: If you are interested, it's a good idea to contact us as soon as you can to get the best possible position adjacent to your state. If you have any questions feel free to contact me."




Posted By : Mayukh Dewan

September 04, 2008 08:37

again a well done article, MR Arora. Kudos! awards like these actually hold no meaning for real restauranters and hoteliers worldwide. its more of a show-off for slightly under exposed brands and managers/owners who are somewhere lacking in confidence in their establishment. i really commend your research. thanks again. mayukh dewan Kuala Lumpur Malaysia


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