The wine industry loves to complain about the 100-point scale and other such rating systems, so why do they promote them so much?
Up next in our Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery is our ninth rule: The wine industry needs to change its ways or quit complaining about wine ratings.
The wine industry loves to complain about being constrained by the 100-point scale and other such rating systems.
They do have a valid point in that many times the focus becomes on the rating, rather than the wine itself. Whether consciously or subconsciously many winemakers chase after a high rating; they try to make wines to fit a particular critic's taste. However, these complaints are completely hypocritical when the wine industry uses those same ratings as their primary marketing tactic.
Look at any wine advertisement in a wine magazine and nine times out of ten, wineries will boast about their 90-point rating from a well-known critic or magazine. (Heck, they even love to plaster it on the bottles themselves.)
One of my favorites is when wineries tout their "100-point winemaker," that is, a winemaker who once made a wine that was rated 100 points by a critic — usually from a previous job at a different winery. (Kind of like when an author writes a book that was a bestseller and then slaps the title on five other books after that weren't as stellar.)
What's even funnier is when these same wineries loudly exclaim the current hot tagline of how "wine is made in the vineyard." So then why do you need a 100-point winemaker?
Given the wine industry uses these ratings so extensively in their marketing, it's hard to take them seriously when they complain about those very same ratings.
The key question for consumers is whether you should pay these ratings any attention at all. I'll be the first to admit that it's hard as a consumer not to fall prey to the allure of a highly-rated wine. However, if you've been digesting what we revealed about these wine ratings earlier in our Ten Tenets, you know they are dubious at best.
Even with that, I'm not ready to totally discount them — I do think there is a place for wine ratings if, and only if, you can find a reviewer who has similar taste preferences to you. If not, then yeah, wine ratings simply don't have much purpose. But if you can find a few reviewers who like similar wines it can be a great way to discover new bottles.
Up Next...Tenet #10: Price is Important!
Find our complete Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery in summary form here with links to each as they are detailed.