Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

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Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby David Glasser » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:31 am

Not only did this guy make up the restaurant, but he populated the wine list with the worst-scoring wines from the last 20 years of Wine Spectator reviews:

http://osterialintrepido.wordpress.com/
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:34 am

Hi David!

This was a pretty funny story. The restaurant issue is one of the reasons I gave up on the Speculator.
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby AlexR » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:08 am

David,

That's a real hoot!

Someone has got a bunch of egg on their face...

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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Bruce Hayes » Wed Aug 20, 2008 8:52 am

Love it. :lol:
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Bob Hower » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:28 am

Nice, but has anyone verified this?
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Dale Williams » Wed Aug 20, 2008 9:44 am

Bob Hower wrote:Nice, but has anyone verified this?


Multiple people have confirmed Osteria Intrepido's award. And it doesn't seem to exist outside the poster's website (there's a Chowhound post about it, but it leads to the blog - he apparently had a fake website in case WS googled).
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby David Glasser » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:38 am

Osteria L'Intrepido is not listed on the WS website list of award-winning restaurants, but I imagine they would have taken it down by now. WS can't expunge the print versions, though. I haven't subscribed for years, so I can't verify if they did name the restaurant. (Oddly enough, I maintained my subscription for a few years after giving up on their wine reviews, primarily for the restaurant reviews!) The website claim that the award appeared in the August 2008 print edition should be easy enough to check. Any WS subscribers (willing to admit it) on the board?
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby David Glasser » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:33 am

I've been told by people who have seen the August issue that the award is in there.

Between the two major errors WS made, I think giving the award to a list packed with wines they panned is even worse than failing to verify if the restaurant was real.

WS does state that they only visit the Grand Award winners. I can understand the logistical and cost issues associated with visiting all the applicants. It can be argued that wine service is integral to the any restaurant wine program, and that this can only be assessed in person. I agree that by ignoring this aspect, the awards have less meaning. But so long as they are clear that the award is for the list and not the service, at least they are not misleading.

Further, there is little incentive for fake applications, other than to make WS look foolish. And there is no real harm to the consumer from giving an award to a fake restaurant: No one is actually going to go there.

The consumer is harmed by awards being given to real restaurants with lousy lists. If they gave the award to this fake list, there is no reason to believe they would be any more selective with a real list. For that the WS deserves to be roundly criticized.
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Daniel Rogov » Wed Aug 20, 2008 11:35 am

Most interesting (!!!)

As for me, I'm chuckling but I think we should wait to find out if this restaurant listing was actually posted in the print edition of the Wine Spectator (it is not at this moment on the internet listings and might have been removed after this news broke). Or, on the other hand, if this is one of those urban myths in the making. As I do not subscribe to the Spectator cannot make a valid guess.

Oh yes….a discussion on this has started on the Spectator's own forum as well. Those curious enough curious can find that at http://forums.winespectator.com/eve/for ... /281100245. So far (17:19 Tel Aviv time) no response from the editors of the Spectator.

I'm looking forward to whatever the people at the Spectator have to say. That's when I'll make my own comments....

Best
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby James Roscoe » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:09 pm

I have not received my issue. I will check it.
Should I apologize now for admitting to receiving it? (It was a gift.) I like the pictures actually and Matt Kraemer is usually worth the trouble of picking up the magazine.
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Michael Pronay » Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:28 pm

Go to

http://dat.erobertparker.com/bboard/sho ... 480&page=1

an check posting #20:

I had to check the issue, and there it was, on page 181 [...]. It was noted as a New Winner [...], with the Award of Excellence [...].
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby wrcstl » Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:25 pm

This is a great story. Servious people do not take WS serious but hey, I'll trade bank balances with Shanken.

I visited eBob and found something equally funny on the post, the names of the wine director and the chef.

"I especially like the names he chose for the Wine Director (Augusto Crazia) and Chef (Paolo Gaggino)."

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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Jenise » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:08 pm

David Glasser wrote:Not only did this guy make up the restaurant, but he populated the wine list with the worst-scoring wines from the last 20 years of Wine Spectator reviews:

http://osterialintrepido.wordpress.com/


Ah, the good old Spectator, where everything's for sale including the ratings!

p.s. David, good to see you posting here again.
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Barb Freda » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:48 pm

I rushed here to post about this...only to find you've all beaten me to it...another blogger's take on it:

http://culinary-colorado.blogspot.com/2 ... -wine.html
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Mike Pollard » Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:52 pm

Jenise wrote:
David Glasser wrote:Not only did this guy make up the restaurant, but he populated the wine list with the worst-scoring wines from the last 20 years of Wine Spectator reviews:

http://osterialintrepido.wordpress.com/


Ah, the good old Spectator, where everything's for sale including the ratings!

p.s. David, good to see you posting here again.


For sale is apparently correct - Robin Goldstein the guy who set up the sting (also author of The WIne Trials) had to pay a $250 entry fee! For what?

I'm ashamed to say the WS is one of the 4-5 wine magazines I get, - but I only get it for the pictures, you understand!

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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Matt Richman » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:10 pm

This is classic. It's about time somebody did this. Boy, WS is getting lazy. They can't even hire a couple of fact checkers for their big annual issue? Pathetic.

The New York Times did a piece about WS's phony "awards" several years ago

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.h ... A9659C8B63

The restaurant issue is also one of the reasons I stopped subscribing to WS.
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Marlene R » Wed Aug 20, 2008 4:20 pm

Unfortunately, this has been going on for a very long time.

For a fun read on restaurant wine please check out my blog posts at Huffington Post.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlene-r ... 17338.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marlene-r ... 18508.html

They were looking for an experienced writer/blogger, and whether or not you agree with the site’s politics, I have created a good amount of buzz and a couple of laughs. I also write for Chef Mag, the Restaurant Standard and California Homes mag--mainstream publications.
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:00 pm

Hello, Marlene ... just out of curiosity, are you quite this self-aggrandizing in real life, or only on Internet forums?

We're happy to have winefolk here, but generally speaking, most of us don't think of it as quite tasteful to post our resumes within our first five forum visits.

Just a thought!
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Marlene R » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:17 pm

My apologies, Robin. It was not meant to be self-aggrandizing.
I just thought the forum members would get a kick out of this and did not want them to think I was just snarky.
Again, I apologize.
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 20, 2008 5:54 pm

Marlene R wrote:My apologies, Robin. It was not meant to be self-aggrandizing.
I just thought the forum members would get a kick out of this and did not want them to think I was just snarky.
Again, I apologize.

No harm, no foul, Marlene. We're glad to have you here, and I'm sorry I had to yell a little bit. We're happy to have you talking with us about wine, and in appropriate settings, certainly don't mind you mentioning your blog. It just seemed awfully forward, awfully fast, and I figured I'd better jump in with an Official Scolding before any of the troops got violent ...
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby ChefJCarey » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:16 pm

Now, Robin, you know there aren't any violent troopers here...
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Alejandro Audisio » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:20 pm

On a related side note (Robin, sorry for going somewhat OT), my experience with Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence has been very variable (to put it diplomatically). In Buenos Aires, my biggest issue with these "awards" is that they have Cabania Las Lilas as one of the top places to have a meal while folks are in town.... and IMO, its the biggest tourist trap in the city. Grossly overpriced for Buenos Aires standards, and unless you are a writer from a well known publication or have a similar inside track, food and service will not be up to par with the accolades the place has received.
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Robin Garr » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:34 pm

Alejandro Audisio wrote:On a related side note (Robin, sorry for going somewhat OT)

Not OT at all, Alex. Frankly, from the standpoint of a guy who also wears a food critic's hat, I won't even publicize the Speck's award-winners on my Louisville restaurants Website because they're so bogus ... fill in a form, send in your money, get your plaque. <shrug>

This delicious scam doesn't do anything but shed a bright light on reality, and if Marvin had any shame, he'd drop the program - or seriously revise it and make it meaningful. Anybody want to hold your breath until this happens?
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Re: Wine Spectator gives Award of Excellence to fake restaurant

Postby Alejandro Audisio » Wed Aug 20, 2008 6:53 pm

Very well put...... I cant stand places that get awards for telephone book long wine lists and when you get around to ordering the wine it turns out they dont have half the list (sold out), or then its a different vintage (200x is better than 200y)... etc. etc. etc. In the end, some of the reviews end up reading like an infomercial....
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