blogger web statistics/a>
The Otter Badgers of Wine Reviews: Joining the Wine Rating Revolution | 1 Wine Dude

The Otter Badgers of Wine Reviews: Joining the Wine Rating Revolution

Vinted on August 25, 2010 binned in about 1winedude blog, wine review
WP Greet Box icon
HiYa! If you're new here, you may want to Sign Up to get all the latest wine coolness delivered to your virtual doorstep. I've also got short, easily-digestible mini wine reviews and some educational, entertaining wine vids. If you're looking to up your wine tasting IQ, check out my book How to Taste Like a Wine Geek: A practical guide to tasting, enjoying, and learning about the world's greatest beverage. Cheers!

Sorry – couldn’t resist.  I mean, just look at those cute, furry-cuddly, viciously-fanged mammals over there!

I mean “other badges” of wine reviews, of course – in my case, I’m the late-comer to the wine badge review par-tay masterminded by Vintank; that is, late-comer in terms of getting my badges ready for prime-time (I was part of the “wine badgers” group from the conceptual phase).

What the hell are wine badges? Essentially, they are intended to be a visual way to help you identify a wine that I think has something “special” going on, beyond the quality ‘grade’ and mini-review that I might give to a wine when reviewing it.  Here’s the overview from Vintank brainiac Paul Mabray:

As with everything the digital arena is transforming everything we used to know about wine.  I am fortunate to watch a group of talented bloggers bucking tradition and judge wine on new merits by creating a whole new movement for scoring wine.  It seems like a small thing, create a category for a wine that you believe in and assign a badge to it, explain the criteria openly and transparently, and only give those wines that you appreciate fit that category a badge.  Simple, elegant, but more importantly a TRUE representation of the quality you admire in the categories you create.  A wine fits or it doesn’t.  A wine earns an accolade or it doesn’t.

It might help to think of the badges as a cross between a score and a medal, but with more awesome.  The cool thing is that the badges are already in use by Mark deVere, Ward Kadel and Steve Paulo. The badges aren’t yet standardized, which I personally think might come back to bite us in the tushie somehow, but in terms of distribution these puppies are primed for successHelloVino,, and are already signed-on and using the badges, which thanks to their distro. system are automatically being included in content like winery Facebook pages.  We often talk about on-line technology having the potential to change  things in terms of the wine world – this is an example where the potential is starting to actually be realized.

Some great discussion on the badges available so far has popped up over at Vinotology and at, and I left a comment in the DN thread that sums up my view and vision behind the badges, so I’m reprinting it here:

If I give a wine an A- or a B+, does that tell you much aside from my view of its quality? Not really. If I categorize a wine as ‘Elegant’ or ‘Sexy’ does that tell you much? It does – it tells you which wine to try if you want to impress someone, or in the latter case if you want to get lucky on a hot date. So, by giving a badge to wines that meet some kind of minimum standard, I’m hopefully telling people a bit more about that wine without them having to read the entire post or review or whatever (unless they are curious and want to do that). I see no conflict between the badges and scores of any kind. I see them primarily as complimentary.

The main criterion for a wine receiving a 1WD badge is that I give it a “grade” in the B or A range; after that, if I think that they meet the criteria for a particular badge then tat wine will be “awarded” one.

So at this point you’re probably thinking “enough already, what the f—k do these badges look like?!??”

Well, my friend, read on for the badges and their explanations…

Crowd Pleaser
A wine that will make everybody happy at your next party, whether they’re wine-geeks or not.  Bring more than one bottle because it will probably go fast.

Be prepared to be viewed as a rock star for bringing this wine to the shin-dig (maybe literally, if you’ll be playing Guitar Hero or Rock Band during the party…).

A wine that tells you, based on one taste / sniff, and in no uncertain terms, that it has boku amounts of class.

These are the wines to grab when you want to impress the boss, a date, your date’s parents, etc. If you’re a fan of balanced, more subtle but excellent wines, these are for you.

A wine that totally and utterly kicks all kinds of ass.  I mean, really, do I need to explain this one?

Typically these will be “bigger” wines than those in the elegant category, but the essential element is that they are full of intense awesomeness.

A wine that over-delivers quality and taste for its price-point.  These are the wines that offer mad levels of QPR (quality/price ratio).

When looking for a bargain, grab these wines as the market tendency for this kind of wine usually goes something like this:

Wine gets reviewed –> wine gets attention because it’s great value for money –> wine gets popular –> wine’s price goes up –> bummer.

Like Kick-Ass, this category hopefully doesn’t require a ton of exposition. A seductive, supple wine that beguiles the senses.

Wanna get lucky on some sumthin’-sumthin’ with that special someone after some dinner?  This is your wine.


The badges were designed in conjunction with Mofunsun Enterprises, LLC (a.k.a. design rock-star Jeffrey Sun), who did the artwork and brought my (very, very) basic design ideas into stunning and vivid reality (thanks, Jeff!!!). You’ll start to see the badges getting used on 1WineDude pretty much immediately.

Would love to know what you think!


(images:, Mofunsun Enterprises LLC)

Don't miss the good vino! Sign-up now for non-SPAMmy delivery of 1WineDude updates to your Inbox.

Email address:

The Fine Print

This site is licensed under Creative Commons. Content may be used for non-commercial use only; no modifications allowed; attribution required in the form of a statement "originally published by 1WineDude" with a link back to the original posting.

Play nice! Code of Ethics and Privacy.

Contact: joe (at) 1winedude (dot) com