These folks all know what they like. Problem is they don't know what you like. They don't even know what's available to you locally.
You want to develop your own tastes. Any medals or points earned are guidelines only, not the "truth." Over time with enough wines sampled you will develop your own tastes. Figuring out what that is and being about to convey that to a wine store clerk can be important. Or finding out you like the style of certain winemakers. Or it might be you like a certain variety of wine grown in one particular region. For instance, you might discover you love:
- Russian River Valley Chardonnay
- Hanna Winery Sauvignon Blanc
- Wine from the Rockpile growing area
- Any red wine from Trentadue Winery
So the moral of the story is to gain enough experience with wine to be your own judge. You do this by trying wines and being able to analyze why you like or dislike certain wines or styles of wines. You don't have to do this by making a lot of purchases at the store. There are opportunities to taste wine at wineries, wine shops, at local tasting events, or in local tasting groups. Take every opportunity to sample wines to get to know your own palate.
You really are the best person to decide what you will like. It takes some confidence in yourself when it comes to picking wines, but you'll get there!