Betty's Wine Musings
Are Wine Ratings Overrated?
Are Wine Ratings Overrated?

If you are relatively new to wine, you might not be familiar with the concept of wine ratings, where wine critics and wine publications rate wines on a 100-point scale.

If you are a seasoned wine verteran, you are likely to be very familiar with wine ratings, and you might even use ratings to guide your purchase decisions.

I am fascinated by the people I’ve met over the years who only buy extremely highly rated wines – say 92 points or higher. I find their approach really interesting. Many of these people are high-powered people who, in all likelihood, would resist giving up control of just about anything in their lives. So why are they so quick to give up control of deciding whether they like a wine?

Wine judges have amazing palates and great experience, but they are human. When you try 50 to 100 wines in a single sitting, it doesn’t matter how good you are. Your consistency and judgment will get a little fuzzy.

Even if your consistency and judgment are miraculously perfect, your palate is not identical to anybody else’s palate. According to, “…Basing purchases on wine ratings may not garner the perfect wine match for your tastes.”

I encourage people at my wine tastings to trust and honor what they like and not worry about what other people like.

According to W. Blake Gray, Chronicle staff writer, in a June 15, 2007 article, “The 100-point rating scale, created by wine critic Robert M. Parker Jr. in the mid-1970s, was a great innovation that has done a world of good for wine lovers. But as it has become the most-accepted critical standard, the scale may have gradually changed from a consumer’s best friend into a force that discourages diversity of styles, encourages higher alcohol levels and inflames price inflation for highly sought wines.”

What are your thoughts about wine ratings? How do you use them? How seriously do you take them? Do you follow certain critics more than others? Is it because you feel like their palate matches yours?

I would love to hear your thoughts. Please post your  comments here!

As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

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    1. I agree. It’s too easy to assume that somebody else is the expert. We need to trust our own intuition, whether we’re talking about the wine we like or anything else.

  1. I guess I am not a very sophisticated wine drinker! I didn’t even know about the wine ratings! I think I may be influenced to try a wine based upon its rating, but at a tasting, I only go by what my palate tells me. So, regardless of the rating or cost or reputation of a wine, I am only going to buy what makes me happy!

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