Posts Filed Under commentary

Scores Still Kinda Suck – Now With More Better Science?

Vinted on March 21, 2018 binned in commentary

There’s been a good bit of discussion lately on the Global Interwebs over a recent blog post by the wine-data-focused David Morrison (to which I was alerted by intrepid friend-of-1WD Bob Henry).

In that post, Morrison puts the scores of two of Wine Spectator’s then-critics-both-named-James, James Laube and James Suckling, through the data-analysis wringer, focusing on scores they gave to wines as part of WS’s “Cabernet Challenge” of 1996.

Generally speaking, Morrison’s blog post, while enviably thorough, can justifiably be criticized as much ado about nothing, considering that no one in the right minds could draw any statistically relevant conclusions from such a small data set. The summary version is that he found a high level of disagreement in the scores that the two Jameses gave to the same wines. Morrison draws out some interesting suggestions from this finding, though, primarily about the use of numbers when evaluating wine quality; to wit (emphasis is mine):

“The formal explanation for the degree of disagreement is this: the tasters are not using the same scoring scheme to make their assessments, even though they are expressing those assessments using the same scale. This is not just a minor semantic distinction, but is instead a fundamental and important property of anything expressed mathematically. As an example, it means that when two tasters produce a score of 85 it does not necessarily imply that they have a similar opinion about the wine; and if one produces 85 points and the other 90 then they do not necessarily differ in their opinion.

So… where have we heard that before?

Oh, that’s right, we heard it right here on 1WD. Several times, actually…

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Thoughts On Instant Pot “Wine”

Vinted on March 1, 2018 binned in commentary
instant pot

Instant BAD idea in terms of fermentation vessels

A few of you intrepid 1WD readers have brought to my attention, in whoa-check-this-out-dude! fashion, the intrepid endeavors of foodie David Murphy, who recently blogged about using his popular-with-the-cool-kids Instant Pot to make wine from Welch’s Grape Juice.

I have some thoughts on this:

1. I admire the gumption, ingenuity, and persistence that Murphy displayed in making this Instant Pot wine thing actually happen. I mean, in a geeky, passionate, too-much-time-on-your-hands kind of way, this is brilliant and his tenacity and desire to learn and then put that learning into practice should be lauded.

2. No. Just… NO.

This is a bad idea for most wine lovers for many reasons, but for brevity’s sake I’m only going to focus on a couple of those reasons…

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And You Were Expecting What, Exactly? (Thoughts On The PA Pay-To-Play Scandal)

Vinted on September 5, 2017 binned in commentary, PLCB, wine news

“The most endangered species –
The honest man”

-Rush, Natural Science

In the great room of my house, there are two 5″x7″ framed prints in Chinese script, each of which represents one of the two “house rules” of the home shared by me and my daughter (it’s generally too big of a space for the two of us, but she understandably – and emphatically – did not want to move after I filed for divorce).

And yeah, there really are only two house rules at Chateau Dude. One represents Integrity, the other Honesty.

And yeah, we really do believe in and live by them. The fact that I feel compelled to write that last sentence is, I think, indicative of just how far through the looking glass we have come, socially speaking, in the USA, even in my relatively short lifetime.

And yeah, this will eventually get to the topic of wine, but that’s not the crux of this article (you have been warned). To get to that, we’ll need to review a couple of articles by W. Blake Gray that were recently published on Wine-Searcher.com [ full disclosure: I utilize their affiliate program ]. The first of these, Pay-to-Play Scandal Exposed, detailed the fallout from illegal bribes (including several thousand dollars spent on “adult entertainment”) offered by the likes of mega-distributor Southern Glazer’s to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to influence what alcoholic products were/weren’t carried on its state store shelves.

That story justifiably got a lot of traction. But it’s Gray’s follow-up story that, to me, is actually more important, and should have most of us outraged…

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Stay On Message (Talking Wine And PR At Boozehoundz)

Vinted on July 12, 2017 binned in commentary

Earlier this week, I was quoted by author, veteran wine competition judge, and personal friend Michael Cervin on his big, Boozehoundz. In that article, Michael included my now-exceedingly-repetitive advice on wine PR, along with much more helpful words from others far more versed in the wine PR field, regarding the value of public relations in helping wine brands to get their message out to their perspective customers/fans/consumers/etc.

Michael’s article has immensely insightful information on the how and why of communicating wine brands messages; what that article doesn’t discuss is how few wine brands have actually crafted a viable message in the first place, and therefore aren’t even in a position to use the helpful information therein.

I have become more acutely aware of this issue during 2016 and 2017, specifically and most vicerally during my travels to regional wine events and subsequent tours of those wine areas. It’s astounding how few of those regions have crafted anything close to resembling a message tailored to the markets that they wish to penetrate. In most cases, they don’t seem to have actually identified the specific markets to which they’d deliver a message if they even had one.

In more than one instance this year, I’ve attended regional panel discussions targeted to the press in which representatives from across the silos of those wine regions – farming, production, oversight, marketing – not only do not have a message about their region to pass on to the press, but use the platform to either engage in internecine arguments, or to ask people like me “what do YOU think our message should be?…”

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