Wine awards - real quality or hype?

We’ve done the research to guide you through the wine medal jungle.
Learn more
  • Updated:30 Sep 2008

03.What to look for

Buying tips

  • Looking for a really good drop? Go for a trophy winner, they’re reserved for the best gold medal wines in the show.
  • A gold medal from a major state capital city show is a good indicator that the wine is of high quality and has been compared with many others in its class.
  • Don’t ignore gold medals from regional or other reputable wine shows, especially if you’re after a particular style. For example, a gold medal from the Hunter Valley Wine Show is probably more relevant and valuable for a Hunter Valley Semillon than one from a large state show, just as a medal from an alternative varieties show is more relevant for a Tempranillo or Sangiovese, simply because they’ve been judged with similar wines.
  • Silver medals are easier to achieve than gold, but a bronze medal simply indicates the wine is of sound quality, perhaps a bit above average.
  • Never heard of it? Ask your wine retailer about a wine you don’t know, or Google it and read reviews. The wine label and back of the bottle is also a good source of information. Here the winemaker will tell you if it’s a consistent wine show medal winner, even if this particular vintage hasn’t (yet) won a medal.

Multiple medals

multiple gold medal labelMultiple medals are a good indication that a large number of judges have thought this wine to be worth a medal. This Shiraz Viognier (bought for $28 at Dan Murphy's in August 08) boasts one trophy plus three gold medals, including one from a large international show.


Quality at low cost

Multiple gold and silver medal labelNot all award-winning wines are in the premium price bracket.

This shiraz cost us less than $10 (at Dan Murphy's in August 08) and it boasts seven medals: three gold from Australian wine shows, including one trophy for the best shiraz over one year old, and four silver medals, including one from a prestigious international show.

Double gold medal

Double gold medalThe prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition judges thousands of wines and awards a Double Gold Medal when all judges on a particular panel agree that the wine deserves a Gold Medal.


Top 100

Top 100 medalAn award-winning wine from the Sydney International Wine Competition has been judged alongside appropriate food — a unique feature among major international shows. This show concentrates on the top 20% of wines in the show and has its awards capped at about 15%.

The top 5% of entries receive the ‘Top 100’ award.


Don't be fooled

Medal-shaped stickerNot all gold stickers are wine show medals; this one just lists the vintage, others we saw promoted a producer’s 25 years of winemaking, or that it’s been imported.


Sign up to our free

Receive FREE email updates of our latest tests, consumer news and CHOICE marketing promotions.