1WineDude TV Episode 26: Don’t Go Hatin’ On Wine Scores

Vinted on January 12, 2011 binned in 1WineDude TV, commentary, going pro

I mean it.  Don’t go hatin’ on wine scores just because they get abused.  Or because you (like me) don’t care for them much yourself.

If you really want to change things in the wine world, then go out there and buy wines that appeal to your own preferences, and based on recommendations from sources that you trust – irrespective of whether or not those recommendations are based on scores.

In this short video, I explain why I think wine scores/ratings have their place (gasp!), and why it’s not the fault of the scores or rating systems themselves that they get relentlessly abused in wine media, retail and even by consumers.

At the end, things get a bit… trippy…  Also, monkeys are involved.  Whatever.  You’ve been warned…






  • Frank Haddad

    Good points and good lighting Joe

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Frank.

      I'm never gonna live the lighting thing down, am I?


      • Frank Haddad

        Last comment about the lighting. The point system will die a natural death, as consumers and the trade no longer need it as a crutch. Maybe tasting notes and systems will evolve that will become the new reality.

        • 1WineDude

          C'mon, Frank, I need you to keep me honest about the lighting! :)

          Regarding teh scores and a new reality – I wouldn't mind scores and other rating systems hanging around, provided they are used with more education by both consumers and retailers. Cheers!

        • tom merle

          No way Frank. Scores are shorthand and they are used in every field of evaluation.

  • Colorado Wine Press

    I completely agree. It is NOT the system's fault! The system obviously works or else it wouldn't be the dominant wine evaluation tool. I agree that the system is not perfect, but it is probably the single most influential innovation in the wine industry, ever. The problem is with how this system is used or manipulated. People often forget that there is actual interesting wine inside those expensive glass bottles and not just liquid numbers!

    As a corollary, (I posted this on Tom Wark's most recent post) Are Parker's (and the other big critics') scores actually starting to become a disservice to the wine consumer? One thing that is already taking place and I would bet will increase is that regions on Parker's "it" (ahem, Bordeaux) list wait to price their wines until he has had the chance to evaluate and rate them accordingly. If this becomes more commonplace, perhaps Parker, et al. are turning into more of a producers' advocates rather than a consumer advocates. Tom makes a good counter argument about how producers (and I would add retailers/wholesalers) are capitalizing on Parker's popularity and raising their prices according to what the market will withstand, and I agree. However, could critics demand that (or simply just wait until) prices be established before evaluating a wine? Would this be a more consumer friendly approach?

    • 1WineDude

      CWP – "not just liquid numbers" – EXACTLY!

      Interesting thought about waiting for prices – not sure it would ever stick, but then when Parker retires it's unlikely anyone will ever have that much influence again so we may indeed see prices get set irrespective of ratings.


  • Chris Coleman

    Nice Post, Joe. Couldn't agree with you more. Keep up the good effort.

    BTW: Love the lights. Don't ever change, man. As a matter of fact, I promise to keep watching till you upgrade your lights to some kinda fancy-pants, nihon-techie, 10,000 kw, LED infused LCD…EFG…HIJK stuff. 'Cause that's when I'll know you've sold out and stopped doing it for the love of the game.

  • steve shanahan

    Joe, I think that the point system served a postive purpose as it helped separate money from the pockets of people who very understandably lacked intermdiate knowledge about wine but had the inclination and means to try new things. Hey 9-5 and two kids takes away from my ability to read up on wine, and I'm into it! The point system was the de facto VIP club membership card that gets you by the red velvet rope guarding the wines beyond the 9.99$ rack.

    As for your comment point that the point system is responsible for weeding out overpriced wines, I think that international competition and crowd sourced opinion are bigger contributors.

    By the way I rate your white monkey 92. It was soft with realitic fur, the battery acid was well balanced should be well suited for cellaring.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks, Steve.

      You know, I'm re-reading my friend Elin McCoy's book Emperor of Wine and it's striking me the reasons that Bob Parker had for coming up with the 100 point system are no longer as pressing/relevant as they were back then in the late 70s / early 80s. So I think your comment about competition is apt, but more for recent decades.

      Oh – and the monkey thanks you! :)

  • 1WineDude

    Folks – I know there's been some chatter in the blog-o-world on the fact that I and a few other wine bloggers have brought up the topic of the points system again, and the resultant inevitable question "can't we ever talk about anything else?" etc., etc., etc.

    Those people have a point but it's not one that's pertinent to these articles on 1WD.

    I say that for 2 reasons:

    1) I'm NOT talking about the point system or judging as good/bad/indifferent. I am talking about the fact that the point system is getting abused and it's having real negative impacts on real people trying to make and sell wine.

    2) Wednesdays on 1WD are reserved for my Going Pro series where I discuss the industry and my foray into it as I "go pro" as a wine blogger in 2011. Wine rating systems are totally fair game in that context.

    So I suppose what I am saying to those folks is that if you want to bemoan me railing against the 100 point system, then please at least pay attention and read the blog and reserve that criticism for when I actually do, in fact, rail against the 10 point system. :-)

  • Vinoguru

    Just remember that not all retailers rely on scores. I'm speaking as one of them. If you trust your local store and they are good at helping to develop YOUR palate, they shouldn't have to rely on scores. Just sayin. Great work Joe!

    • 1WineDude

      Amen to that, Vinoguru!

  • WineDilettante

    Trusting a retailer is really important. When I first started drinking wine, I relied on retailer shelf notes a lot, but then discovered in many stores – even in pretty good wine stores – they sometimes were a device to sell aging wines meant for early consumption. The Parker, WS, etc., ratings have their limitations, but over time you can get a sense of what the accompanying descriptions mean in terms of what you might want to try, regardless of whether the number is a 79 or a 92.

    • 1WineDude

      Thanks WD – as I like to say, the most important wine critic in the world is the person in the wine store!

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