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Sep 24, 2017

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Wine Bitch
by Staff
Magazine Issue: Vol. 2.2
W I N E . B I T C H
the 100-point scale
N E X T P A G E >

The 100-Point Scale
They shoot horses, don't they?

Pros By John Thomas: The 100-point scale provides a needed shopping guide for those who don't know that much, or can't keep up with, what's good in the market. There are simply too many choices for the average wine consumer. It's hard enough keeping up with the Joneses, much less the wine industry. By using the popular 100-point scale and picking the highest-rated wine in their price category, consumers are almost assured that they have made a wise purchase. This will encourage wine sales, not discourage them. Simply put, without the 100-point scale, the majority of consumers would be lost.

Cons by Darryl Roberts: It's time to put the power of wine purchasing back into the hands of the consumer. The era of pretentious and elitist publications dictating what consumers should be drinking is over. Without the 100-point scale, winemakers will start making wines for consumers again, instead of the two critics who believe they should tell you what you like. The only person who knows what you like is you. And we'd like to believe (although it's very hard sometimes) that you, and the majority of wine consumers, have a mind of your own, and are not one of the sheep that these ratings publications make you out to be. And let me add this: If you or anyone is dumb enough to believe that a wine critic (who is only human), after tasting 100 wines in an afternoon, can discern between an 89 and a 90, I've got some swamp land in Florida you may be interested in.

Readers Bitch Back

The 100 point rating scale is absurd. Can anybody, anywhere, tell me the difference between a wine rated 87 and a wine rated 88? In fact, does wine really need to be rated? I know a man who has a cellar full of wines consisting of wines "rated 95 and above." But does he LIKE them?

Part of this mentality stems from consumers unable to rely on their own palates. Who cares what Robert M. Parker thinks. Enjoying wine is simple, if you like a wine, drink it!

The rating system is just as worthless as County Fair Gold Medals. Enjoying wine is not about other people's perceptions of the wine, it is about YOUR perception of what good wine is.

Mark Warren -


The 100 Point Scale is known to a small portion of the wine-buying and -drinking public. For better or worse, most of us buy by the price, attractiveness of the label and whether or not we want to drink a red, white, or other color wine. For every knowledgeable wine drinker, there are probably 50 or 100 ignorant ones. Therefore, the 100 Point Scale is only for a very small portion of the consumer base.

M. E. Browne -


It's time critics quit writing numbers and concentrated on telling the consumer useful information about wine: what it actually tastes like, how much pleasure it gives now, how much it'll give in the future and when, maybe a bit about how the wine's made and the philosophy of the winemaker if they can be bothered to do a little research.

Numerical ratings are not only non-informative, they are damaging to all. You can't judge something as complex and personal as wine by numbers. All you can do is give your (hopefully) humble opinion of what it does for you, and hope that you find readers with similar tastes - and remember that everyone's taste changes as they drink more & different wines, and even as they age (the person, not the wine).

Numerical ratings have been responsible for the reputation of the US market as a media-driven, uneducated, un-thinking buyer of only the "top" vintages of (in particular) French wines. Consequently, the American consumer is encouraged to buy the most expensive vintages, on release or as futures, and being excited, impatient and eager to learn he usually drinks these wines long before they reach their peak. So... the market is thrown off-kilter, the consumer here pays through the nose and doesn't get maximum benefit from the wines he buys.

Let's get away from numbers and find wine writers who know enough about a wine to write useful, interesting reports!

Peter Smith - Avalon Wine Tours


Thank you Peter Smith! I agree 100%! I won't purchase a wine with the ratings only - it means nothing to me. I purchase wines from winery names I know, or if the price and description of what the wine tastes like appeal to me. Dump the points rating system!!


Quite simply put, I really like the 100 pt. scale, because everyone grew up with an understanding of what it means to be rated on a 100 pt. scale - our homework and test scores in grade school and high school. In short, people are familiar with it. And isn't that what it's all about - making it easy to understand?

Jason -


Oh, c'mon. It's not like they kicked your dog or something. People are not deciding "whether or not" to drink wine based on ratings; they're simply gathering published opinions on their options. That's why so many people listen to Siskel & Ebert, and why we have 'Best Seller' lists -- to help consumers decide among several similarly priced and described products. Of course one's personal taste is the most important factor in choosing a wine, but what if you have to choose one wine from six you've never heard of? In such cases, is a rating really so bad, especially one from a source that you've come to know and trust? Where's the harm?

Sarah Donnelly -

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