Virtual restaurant reportedly wins real honor
Just yesterday, one of my recent posts received a comment from “Anonymous” taking me to task for not doing all of my own original research but rather using other media sources for some of my posts. I suspect that Anonymous does not understand how media works, and I took some time to try to explain that publications in general and individual writers rely on press releases and other sources as the foundation for some of their own work — particuarly when it is something to which the writer would have no immediate direct access.
A case in point is a post called “Fictitious Restaurant Wines Wine Spectator Award of Excellence” on a wine site called Dr. Vino. This exposé never would have fallen into my lap, but I believe it is of enlightening for anyone who dines out and admires the plaques on the walls of restaurant foyers. If wine or restaurants or the shady side of awards interests you, I urge you to read the entire post and follow the links. Here’s how it starts:
“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 [di Milano], a riff on ‘fearless.’ Then he typed up a menu (‘a fun amalgamation of somewhat bumbling
nouvelle-Italian recipes’) and then 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 (see screenshot). “
I searched the Wine Spectator website for “Osteria L’Intrepido” or just “Intrepido,” and there are no matches on the site — nor did I see any prominent correction or acknowledgment. Dr. Vino provides a link to Goldstein’s blog about unearthing the scam, and so do I. If it were April Fools Day, I’d suspect that the outing of the scam was itself cyber-prank, but Dr. Vino has wine road cred. Written by Tyler Coleman (the Dr. referring to his Ph.D.), it won the 2007 Best Wine Blog and Best Wine Blog Writing Awards and was nominated that same year for a James Beard Award in the category of Best Website Focusing on Food, Beverage or Nutrition. I think those awards are legit.