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Tom Carroll
A few gaffes, a lot of golds
A few gaffes, a lot of golds

THE July announcement set the wine blogs buzzing: Charles Shaw Chardonnay, the $2 wine sold at Trader Joe's discount markets, was awarded a double-gold medal at the 2007 California State Fair (ending Sept. 3). One of the most prestigious wine competitions in the country has canonized a wine whose name is synonymous with cheap -- bringing into question the validity of all wine competitions. In Los Angeles, the gaffe comes just as Ralphs Grocery Co., in its first year as sponsor of the Los Angeles County Fair's wine competition, rolls out an aggressive campaign promoting the fair's medal-winning wines. The Charles Shaw win may sound crazy, but wine industry insiders familiar...

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