There are lot of competitions out there, a lot. Actually hundreds in California alone that commercial wineries and home winemakers alike can enter. They vary from well recognised contests and those in vastly distributed industry publications to small, regional local fairs. They seemingly have a million categories that all and sundry can enter...and everyone seems to be a winner. In fact Vinomaker has won two gold medals in consecutive years at a Sonoma County fair for his Syrah. (He's very modest. A 'friend' entered him both times).
The irony is that the Vinodogs made the wines, they're smart poochies. The one judge, in 2007, with the "try again" comment, must have known!