Never underestimate alcohol at the supermarket ever again!
Eric Boschman, a sommelier and considered one of Belgium’s best, decided to challenge international wine competitions by sending in the worst supermarket wine they can find. Boschman wanted to find out how these competitions really work and determine if they are really just money-making events that charge winemakers hefty sums for participation so they can win a medal that can probably increase their sales.
To fully execute this experiment-slash-prank, Boschman worked with a team from On n’est pas des pigeons, a Belgian consumer magazine and television program. They then conducted a supermarket wine tasting to find “the one.” After many €3 wine bottles, they decided to pick the cheapest and worst tasting one, which cost around €2.50.
They then proceeded to disguise it as a premium product by naming it ‘Chateau Colombier’ and creating a more eye-catching label and then sent it to the Gilbert et Gaillard international wine competition. They paid a €50 ($55) entrance fee, sent samples for tasting, and gave laboratory data. To increase their chances of winning, they also sent another data under the ‘Chateau Colombier,’ but it was actually of another truly high-quality wine. No one bothered to check if it was genuine.
In the end, the cheap €2.50 wine won the gold medal, with judges describing it as “suave, nervous (a quality of fresh wine) and rich palate with clean young scents that promise a nice complexity, very interesting.” The organization also told them they can buy 1,000 gold stickers from them to put on their wine labels for just the low, low price of €60.
Well, now. This entire thing just blew our perception of prestigious wine competitions out of the water.
Image credit: Valeria Boltneva