The news that Wine Spectator magazine was scammed into giving an Award of Excellence to a non-existent restaurant has been greeted with guffaws by schadenfreude fans and with fury by the magazine's editor.
But longtime readers of the Dining section might have seen this coming. Five years ago Amanda Hesser wrote that the magazine granted the award, the lowest of three levels of recogntion by the magazine, without actually inspecting the restaurants involved. Restaurants submitted a wine list, a menu and an explanation of their wine program. (Like the wine writer Robin Goodstein did with Osteria L'Intrepido, the fake restaurant in Milan.) "The basic award is not that hard to get,'' the magazine's executive editor, Thomas Matthews, told Amanda.