As part of the research for an academic paper Im currently working on about standards for wine awards, I submitted an application for a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. I named the restaurant Osteria LIntrepido (a play on the name of a restaurant guide series that I founded, Fearless Critic). I submitted the fee ($250), a cover letter, a copy of the restaurants menu (a fun amalgamation of somewhat bumbling nouvelle-Italian recipes)*, and a wine list.
Osteria LIntrepido won the Award of Excellence, as published in print in the August 2008 issue of Wine Spectator. (Not surprisingly, the Osterias listing has since been removed from Wine Spectators website.)
Something to keep in mind next time you see a Wine Spectator -- or any other -- award prominently displayed in a restaurant vestibule.
(*Robin's fake menu seems to be a mishmash of Italian hilarity -- the first item is "Affettato misto di salumi nostrani 'LIntrepido'." Can someone translate the rest?)