The Times's Diner's Journal caught a whiff of Wine Spectator's major gaffe in stamping a fake restaurant with an Award of Excellence, and they're not one bit surprised. It sounded familiar, in fact. Five years ago, Amanda Hesser wrote an article for the Times explaining the award process. "Only the winners of the Grand Award are ever inspected," she wrote. We're less interested in how long it took for a sneaky wine writer to trip up the magazine than we are in the contest as a revenue stream. According to a Diner's Journal calculation, the [entry] fee has gone up to $250. More than 4,000 awards were granted this year, so Wine Spectator made more than $1 million in fees.
Sour Grapes [Diner's Journal/NYT]