When you buy a ‘gold medal’ winning bottle of wine, what exactly are you paying for? The answer is, nobody really knows, not even the wine contest judges, it seems. A new study that looked at 4,000 wines at 13 competitions in 2003 found there is almost no consistency in which wines won top prizes. Of the 2,500 wines that were entered in more than three contests, almost half won a gold medal in at least one contest. But of those gold medal winners, almost every one of them were also rated just above average of below average in one of the other contests. The study has not gone over well among wine competition organizers (one called it “hogwash”). Winemakers spend millions entering contests each year with the hopes of being able to slap a gold medal label on their wines. But whether it’s worthy is ultimately up to the drinker.