Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Do Points Matter? The Results

SWE 2009 Do Points Matter? from David Glancy on Vimeo.

Last month, I attended the Society of Wine Educators conference and sat on a panel "Do Points Matter?"

Well I'm not sure we resolved anything conclusively, although there was lively discussion among the attendees as to the merits / demerits of point-based ratings of wines. My personal take was that many professionals who have been in the wine industry for years, lamented longing for "the old days" where points didn't exist. For those younger professionals, it seems that points are a non-issue, merely accepted as part of the rating practices of the industry.

Perhaps most interesting than the whole points debate was the results of the tasting. My fellow panelists joined the audience in a tasting of 8 wines, some rated 88 points and some rated 92 points. Our challenge was to predict whether each wine we tasted received 88 points or 92 points. Results were surprising: the audience (at least 60%) was able to correctly guess the points on only 1 wine.

So it seems we all have our own unique rating systems. My thanks to David Glancy for moderating the panel and providing the following recap of the % of the audience who was able to guess the actual Wine Spectator (WS) rating:
  1. Chateau Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Horse Heaven Hills 2006 (WS88) - 33% correct
  2. Karl Lawrence Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2005 (WS88) - 46% correct
  3. Joseph Phelps Sauvignon Blanc Napa 2007 (WS92) - 49% correct
  4. Jacob's Creak St. Hugo Cabernet Sauvigon Coonawarra 2004 (WS88) - 51% correct
  5. Rodney Strong "Charlotte's Home" Sauvignon Blanc (WS88) - 54% correct
  6. Geyser Peak Sauvignon Blanc California 2007 (WS88) - 59% correct
  7. Beaulieu Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford 2005 (WS88) - 59% correct
  8. Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2005 (WS92) - 79% correct


Randy Caparoso: said...

Hi, Jennifer... thanks for your note on my blogspot (!

Re points: always an interesting subject. I hate 'em. Think they're the worst thing ever invented, particularly from a consumer's perspective.

I mean, would you "score" a book, a film, a work of art? Because it forces people to buy by a number, consumers are screwed because they miss so many wines that would be right up their alley because of their personal taste, but they miss them because they're distracted by stupid scores. For instance, a James Joyce might score a "99," but who's to say a reader might enjoy a Patricia Cornwell scoring just "88" a lot more?

Scores are a ridiculous waste of time, which is why in the restaurant trade, almost none of us put them on the wine lists... we train our people to talk about the wines people should have, imagine that!

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