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5330 Debbie Road, Suite 200
Santa Barbara, California 93111
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Welcome to Gold Medal Wine Club. America's Leading Independent Wine Club since 1992. Celebrating 20+ Years!
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Wine Ratings

The wines featured in each of our 5 Series must meet strict selection criteria that includes multiple medals from major wine competitions, and high ratings from national wine publications such as Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits, and Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate.

In general, the numerical ratings used by most national wine publications can be qualified in relation to school grades: 90-100=A, 80-89=B, 70-79=C, 60-69=D, and 50-59=F.

Virtually every wine featured by Gold Medal Wine Club has earned 88+ Points. The numerical ratings apply to each of our 5 Series.

The Numerical Ratings System


An extraordinary classic wine with superior character and style. Diamond Series.
An outstanding wine with brilliant complexity and highly recommended. Platinum Series and Diamond Series.
Memorable and truly excellent in style and distinction. Extremely well made. Platinum Series, Pinot Noir Series, International Series and Gold Series.
Very good, and usually an outstanding value. A wine with special qualities and well recommended. Gold Series and International Series.

Wine ratings may influence your decision, but remember that the ultimate judgment is yours. Everyone has a different palate and personal preference, which is why ratings should be used along with tasting notes and winery information as a guide to help make informed decisions.

Wine Publications

Wine Spectator Magazine

Wine Spectator editors review more than 15,000 wines each year in blind tastings. Every issue of Wine Spectator magazine contains from 400 to more than 1,000 wine reviews with detailed tasting notes and analysis. They set stringent standards for themselves and rely on the proven ability and experience of their editors as tasters and critics.

Classic: a great wine
Outstanding: a wine of superior character.
Very Good; a wine with special qualities.
Good: a solid, well-made wine.
Mediocre: a drinkable wine that may have minor flaws.
Not recommended.

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate Publication

The Wine Advocate, with over 50,000 subscribers throughout the United States and over 37 foreign countries, exerts the most significant influence on wine consumer's buying habits and trends not only in America, but in France, England, Switzerland, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, and China. Robert Parker has also been profiled in a number of major magazines, notable newspapers and top television broadcasts.

An extraordinary wine of profound and complex character displaying all the attributes expected of a classic wine of its variety. Wines of this caliber are worth a special effort to find, purchase and consume.
An outstanding wine of exceptional complexity and character. In short, these are terrific wines.
A barely above average to very good wine displaying various degrees of finesse and flavor as well as character with no noticeable flaws.
An average wine with little distinction except that it is soundly made. In essence, a straightforward, innocuous wine.
A below average wine containing noticeable deficiencies, such as excessive acidity and/or tannin, an absence of flavor, or possibly dirty aromas or flavors.
A wine deemed unacceptable.

Wine and Spirits Magazine

Wine and Sprits magazine is one of America's most trusted publications in regards to food, wine and spirits. Extremely informative for distributors, retailers, restaurateurs and consumers alike, Wine and Spirits features wine reviews, food and wine pairings, wine business, travel recommendations, and new product introductions.

Superlative, rare finds.
Exceptional examples of their type.
Highly recommended.
Recommended as good examples of their variety or region.

Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Wine Enthusiast was founded in 1979, and ever since has been regarded as one of the top sources for wine accessories, education and information, wine storage, and useful, accurate ratings. Ratings are based on tastings by the magazine's editors and other qualified tasting panelists and only wines scoring 80 points or higher are published.

Classic
Superb
Excellent
Very Good
Good
Acceptable

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

This independent and critically acclaimed bimonthly publication, established in 1985, is read by wine lovers in all 50 states as well as 34 countries. Every issue includes in-depth articles on three to five important wine regions, extensive coverage of virtually every important wine category, detailed tasting notes, and scores on more than 1,000 wines.

Extraordinary
Outstanding to extraordinary
Very Good
Good

The Beverage Tasting Institute

The Beverage Tasting Institute was founded in 1981 with the objective of producing fair and impartial wine reviews for consumers. Today, this philosophy still holds true. Over the years, their buying guides have appeared in the Wine Enthusiast, Restaurant Hospitality, The New Yorker Magazine, Wine & Spirits, International Wine Review, Epicurious.com, All About Beer, and many others. Currently, the Beverage Tasting Institute publishes a monthly e-newsletter called eTastings.

Superlative. Provides a world-class experience.
Exceptional. Truly excellent in style and distinction.
Highly Recommended. Very Good.
Recommended
Not Recommended

Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine

The Connoisseurs' Guide is written by publisher/editor Charles Olken in collaboration with associated editor Stephen Eliot. Co-founded in 1974, Connoisseurs' Guide has earned a national reputation for its objectivity, expertise and integrity when it comes to reviewing wines. Reviews are accompanied by their availability, aging potential, and food pairing ideas.

★★★ An exceptional wine. Worth a special search of the market.
★★ A highly distinctive wine. Likely to be memorable.
Fine example of a type or style of wine. Without notable flaws.
Wines of varying quality and value.
Wine Competitions

...where Gold Medal winning wines are selected from

  • California State Fair Wine Competition:
    Since 1855, the California State Fair has taken pride in honoring California's top wine selections and wineries, making the California State Wine Competition the oldest and one of the most Prestigious Wine Competitions in North America. The competition is limited to California bonded wineries selling retail.
  • Monterey Wine Competition
  • San Francisco International Wine Competition
  • Jerry Meade's International Wine Competition
  • Orange County Fair Wine Competition
  • Los Angeles County Fair Wine Competition
  • Hiltonhead Wine Competition
  • Amador County Wine Competition
  • San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition
  • Dallas Morning News Wine Competition
  • Critic's Challenge Wine Tasting Competition
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