"Wine Lister" claims "new standard" in wine ratings -- debuts a 1,000 point scale!

From thedrinksbusiness.com: A new wine rating system, Wine Lister, which claims to be the “new standard in wine rating” is set to launch this month.

The system is “data and technology-driven” and aims to give a truer “holistic” assessment of each wine based on aggregated scores from eminent critics as well as its brand strength, liquidity and price – all presented on a 1,000-point scale. (Article continues at length.)

Hmmmmm. I don’t know about others, but I’m mostly interested in what a wine tastes like. I guess, when I was a retailer, brand strength was something to think about, but I’d have to know how that is being assessed. As with similar things, I’d want to see the system in use on several wines I know something about. Good luck on this concept. It could be useful or just an algorithm producing something marketable for the creator.

Oh,how 20th century of you!

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!!! ;^)

Personally, I’ve never paid attention to the ratings on the 100-point scale, so I doubt that a 1,000-point scale will affect my buying habits. With the 100-PS, I don’t think I ever saw a wine that had a rating below 80 or 85. So the reality is, it’s a 20-point scale. Will the new 1,000 PS present wine ratings that fall below 800?

Instead of rating scales, I prefer to take my wine recommendations from the experts who work at my favorite wine shop. They know the intracasies of the wines they’re selling, they’ve usually spent time with the winegrower, and, over the years, they’ve gotten to know my personal preferences. For me, that’s become a “can’t-miss” way to select wine.

1 Like
1 Like

@CindyJ --> To be fair, originally wines as low as 65 points appeared in The Wine Advocate, but Parker announced years ago that he would no longer publish [read “waste ink”] on wines that score below 85 points.

That said, the 100-point scale is merely an expanded version of the UC Davis 20-point scale. On that scale (and it is similar with the 100-point), it is literally impossible to score below 10 (or 51). So, in reality, the 20-point scale is a 10-point scale, the 100-point scale is actually a 49-point scale, and the 1,000-point scale is simply ridiculous!

Exactly! And the reality is, something like wine tasting is so subjective, I don’t see how it can even be quantified. In my experience, a wine expert’s rating of 98 is NO assurance that I’m going to enjoy it.

NO ONE has ever said it was.

Cindy, I may be “nit-picking,” but as someone who not only spent 40 years in the wine trade, but also spent 25+ years writing about it, the whole idea of writing about/reviewing wine is to do the impossible: describe a flavor. Go ahead. Try it. Try to describe what chocolate tastes like to someone who has never tried it before. (Seriously, it’s impossible.)

The various numeric scales (6-, 7-, 20-, 100-points) is an attempt to objectify the subjective. (Also impossible!)

And THIS is exactly the way you SHOULD be buying wine! This is the best, most perfect way. Precisely because . . .

There is no better way to buy wine.

1 Like

Agreed! I’m lucky to live close enough to Delaware that I’m not forced to do my wine shopping in the state-controlled wine stores here in PA. And more fortunate, still, that there’s a store like Moore Brothers that offers the wine-shopping experience I’ve described.

Point scales are silly marketing techniques. Most stores these days even put multiple different scales/reviewing companies on their products. Hopefully we can get to more relationship based marketplaces again…I miss knowing who I was buying from.

A couple of comments . . .

I would strongly disagree with that statement.

The original point system, as applied to specific wines (rather than vintages), was developed by UC Davis in order to rank the relative merits of different wines in as scientific a manner as possible. The original UC Davis 20-point system did not even have the capability to award points on a subjective basis, merely for (e.g.) having the correct color (or not) for the type of wine being tasted; having the proper aroma and variety correct flavors (or not); and for not having any technical flaws. The scores never made it outside the university setting.

As subsequent point scales were developed (modified UC Davis 20-point scale, which allowed some points to be awarded strictly based upon subjective preferences; the Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine’s five point scale based upon the Michelin star system; Michael Broadbent’s six star rating; and Robert Parker’s [now omnipresent] 100-point scale), some wholesalers and retailers began to use the results just like they used the results from various competitions (e.g.: California State Fair, the San Francisco International Wine Competition, the Orange and Los Angeles County Fairs, etc.) to market the wines to their respective clients. That is where the marketing came in.

What’s stopping you? There are many “true” wine merchants still in existence, with staff who know the wines they’re selling, who take the time to know your personal palate preferences, and who can make recommendations based upon your personal likes and dislikes. Certainly CindyJ (above) does that, as do I and many, many others . . .

Ha ha ha. I don’t get the 1000 point scale. :smiley: It is not like 100 point wasn’t enough. Do we really need this level of accuracy? A 8763 point wine? Is that different than a 8765 point wine?

No and… no. Just someone trying to sell a career, an article, or a book.

1 Like

What’s the difference between a 91- and a 92-point wine?

1 Like

That is pretty much my point.

A 100 point is more than enough since most of us cannot even consistently score a wine between 91 vs 92. However, I understand and can defend why a 100 point system is the last place to be. The reason isn’t so much that “a 100 point system is perfect”, as it is that “a 10 point system maybe insufficient”. A 10 point system is often too coarse for many.

Some of us may very well want to describe something between a 8 vs a 9. So essentially, you will usually see the tenth decimal for a 10 point system, like 8.5 vs 9.0. <-- this, however, is essentially a 100 point system of 85 vs 90… (once you start to add a decimal to a 10 point system).

For example, ign ranks their movies and games in a 10 point system with a tenth decimal – again that is the same as a 100 point system. Rotten tomatoes scores their movies in a 100% system which of course is a 100 point system.

A 1000 point system is implying that a 100 point system is insufficient, and I don’t think we can realistically make that claim yet. Unless some people really are claiming that they really want to describing something between a 91 and a 92…

Yes. I was agreeing with you. However, while I don’t know the difference between a 91 and a 92, I certainly know the difference between a 93 and a 94, and between an 89 and a 90 . . .

Care to put more words around that assertion?

An 89 will get ignored, whereas a 90 will sell in “Middle America.” On both Coasts, where “94” is the new “90,” and a wine with 94 will sell, while a wine with a 93 is far more difficult.

In terms of wine quality, however, wines with an 89, a 90, 93, or 94 are all statistically equal and there is no difference whatsoever.

So if I’m understanding you correctly, the distinction between an 89 and a 94 is strictly in the marketing value. Therefore, as we’ve already concluded, ratings are meaningless.

Ah, but you are not understanding me correctly . . .

According to “the powers that be” at UC Davis, the human tongue has an built-in sensory evaluation error factor of +/- 1.5 (based upon the modified UC Davis 20-point scale). Thus, the difference between the quality of a wine with a score of 17.0 (out of 20) and the quality of a wine with a score of 18.5, statistically speaking, is insignificant. So, too, the wine which scored an 18.5 and 20.0. HOWEVER, there is a statically significant difference between the wines with a 17-point score and the one which received a perfect 20.

Expanding that out five-fold to the 100 point scale, since “89” and “90” are indeed within five points of one another, one could say there is no statistically significant difference between those two wines. Nor between the “90” and the “93”, or the “93” and the “94.” There will, however, be a statistically significant difference between the 89- and the 94-point wines.

But the larger – and more important – issue is captured in your sentence,

and with that, I could not disagree more.

Cindy, whether or not we like the system, there needs to be a way for wine writers/critics to say to their readers, I liked Wine A better than Wine B. The way to do that has evolved – the world over – into either a system of medals (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Double Gold, etc.), or a numerical rating of some sort.

THAT is how these systems developed, and – sorry – it makes perfect sense to me that that happened.

The problem with the system is not that it’s meaningless, but rather that it had unforeseen consequences. Prior to Parker and the 100-point scale, people (consumers) read newspaper articles/magazines, and read the results of various fairs and competitions, and took that information for what it meant: writer John Doe (or the judges at X fair) liked, or disliked, Wine X. Then, they (the consumers) would go down to their local stores, talk with their wine merchants, and get recommendations from them – people who had gotten to know their customers’ likes and dislikes. Then came Parker . . .

Parker and the 100-point scale changed all that. The 100-point scale – we may not know what a point means, but anyone who attended school in the US knows that 100 is a perfect score, and thus, this scale resonated with consumers in a way the 20-point scale (or other scoring systems) never did. Based largely on his ratings for the 1982 Bordeaux vintage, consumers began to bring copies of The Wine Advocate to the store (and add to this the growth of wine sales in supermarkets and “megastores” without trained sales staff) to buy only the wine Parker raved about. From there, retailers got lazy and just started posting “Parker points” on various wines and let customers pick the wines themselves – never mind the obvious: that the points were based upon Parker’s palate, not the individual palate of the consumer buying the wine.

As a result, the points were “wrongfully” applied – and the original meaning (Wine Writer: I liked Wine A better than Wine B) was lost. It was never YOU will like Wine A better than Wine B, just like I did . . .

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold