I don't know much about Vanguard tripods but their camera bags are really good value for money.
I won't put too much faith into all awards, but generally there ARE particular awards which do mean something, i.e. they are consistently given to better products, etc. Of course if you're willing to pay through the nose you should be able to get a better quality product, but I for one think that value should be taken into consideration... For example, if all other things equal, Car A max top speed is 310 km/h and Car B max top speed is 309 km/h; and if Car A price is $8 million while Car B price is $500,000, I'm sure many will agree that Car A is a better product, but it is not very purchasable when you consider the presence of Car B.
With all that is said about price and value, TS you need to go to the store and test them. I tested both the Alu and CF versions of the alta pro series. With center column in vari angle, I gave the legs a light tap, and watched in amazement as the center columns vibrate like crazy (both CF and alu versions). And the legs flex like nobody's business. Even the low end siruis did much better. The CF version alta pro costs almost $500. I got my explorer for mid $500s (before the price hike and at a limited time special discount). Tested in TK with uncle phillip. Even he told me to avoid the alta pros after he saw my test, shaking his head in the process.
But in the end, it is your money and your decision. Find real value. And not perceived value through reasoning without testing the products in real life.
Personally, even if the alta pros are priced same as manfrotto xprob, I will still take the xprob over the vanguards.