WS Point System

Was thinking today about wine ratings and how the majority of wines in the world rate at WS. I work at a winery tasting room and our wines have been consistently rated from 87-90. Of all the wines rated by WS, where do the majority of them land? I also ask this because every once in a while I get a customer who snubs their nose at anything less than 90 points. And I've also seen a bumper sticker that says "Friends don't let friends drink 100 point wine". Clearly there are points of view out there. What are most people drinking?
Original Post
Points awarded by many sources (not just WS) have been creeping upward for many years, to the point that what used to indicate a very good wine (87-90) may be viewed by some as only mediocre in today's market. It may not be advantageous to advertise scores that are lower than 90. Sad. Scores given out by some critics have lost credibility as a result but the impact remains that the average person going into a store sees lots of cheap wine with 90+ scores nowadays. Why would they may more for an 87 or 88, hence my comment about not pushing scores lower than 90. You may have better results focusing on other attributes of the wine than the score...
In addition to Vin Centric's good points (heh)...
The scale is supposed to reflect school grades, making it easy to understand. It's supposed to be kinda sorta objective, in that it's not grading on a curve. So, while we have seen real grade inflation, there has also been a marked improvement of general quality in the decades since this system was adopted. There's also a bunch of reasons publications don't usually print lower scores, and plenty of not so great wines never get submitted for review. That skews public perception about what the normal point range is. It's certainly understandable that if the only data point someone has for a wine they don't like is a pretty good score, he might turn around and give an unjustly high score to a wine he doesn't like on social media, despite the literal definitions of the point ranges. To put it bluntly, those of use who've been around wine forums and such a long time have seen people call a wine undrinkable and still rate it 89 pts.
quote:
Originally posted by asv:
I'm going to rephrase this question: there are so many wines rated 90+ from WS and others, but what does the public REALLY drink? Maybe only a wholesaler can answer this question.


Retailers pick the highest rating available for their shelf talkers, rather than using one source.

Many people just go by brand loyalty, sticking to what's familiar.

Different strategies work for different wineries. Many do fine never submitting to critics or wine competitions at all. No easy answers. Getting distribution is a challenge. Getting your distributor to lift a finger to try to get your wine placed is a challenge. Making wines stores want to carry at whatever price points is a challenge.

These days in CA, if you make a $45 PN and get 92 pts, but don't have an established brand name, it's nearly impossible to get placement. The shelves are full with slow moving PSs at that price. They don't need another taking up space, when they can sell 2 cases of $25 wine in the same time it takes to sell one bottle of that $45 PN.
quote:
Originally posted by asv:
Was thinking today about wine ratings and how the majority of wines in the world rate at WS. I work at a winery tasting room and our wines have been consistently rated from 87-90. Of all the wines rated by WS, where do the majority of them land? I also ask this because every once in a while I get a customer who snubs their nose at anything less than 90 points. And I've also seen a bumper sticker that says "Friends don't let friends drink 100 point wine". Clearly there are points of view out there. What are most people drinking?


I've often been led astray by wine ratings. I think the best they can do is provide a level of comfort that the wine maybe isn't schlock. One rater's 88 is another's 90, and another's 95. Just because a wine receives a high score doesn't mean I'm going to like it.

In a retail store those sub 90 wines are going to lose out to the 90+ tags unless staff are going to point out the value or uniqueness of their other offerings.

It would seem that in a tasting room, you give the customer the opportunity to taste your wines, and can encourage them to come to their own opinion. I think it is tough with a relatively new consumer who is starting to want to upgrade their buy. They take the scores too seriously. But, if you level with them that scores vary by critic, and what really matters is their own taste, maybe you'll convert some to customers. Once I've found a particular producer I like, I tend to buy more of their offerings and in more variety, and rarely pay attention to whatever score they achieve.
WA seems to have some sort of edge with their higher ratings and giving out 100 point scores like Halloween candy. I've also seen the exact same wine from the same vintage scored 89 and then 95 a year later by WA. I look more to Cellar Tracker for aggregate peer ratings than one person's tasting notes. I wish wineries would do the same.
quote:
there are so many wines rated 90+ from WS and others, but what does the public REALLY drink?


Prisoner.

Meiomi.

Conundrum.

Stella Rosa.

As for me, I would only drink a wine rated 88 or more. A wine only getting 87 points would probably suck. Otherwise it would get the extra point, right?
quote:
Originally posted by GregT:
quote:
there are so many wines rated 90+ from WS and others, but what does the public REALLY drink?


Prisoner.

Meiomi.

Conundrum.

Stella Rosa.

As for me, I would only drink a wine rated 88 or more. A wine only getting 87 points would probably suck. Otherwise it would get the extra point, right?


You left out Butter and Rombauer.

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