Why I Don’t Give Wine Ratings or Scores

Why I Don't Give Wine Ratings or Scores - Travelling Corkscrew Wine BlogOn numerous occasions, I have been asked why I don’t rate or score wines. If you follow my social media channels, you’ll no doubt be aware I do write tasting notes on Facebook and Instagram alongside on some of my favourite wine apps. However, I always do my best to avoid giving a score out of 10 or 100 or even giving star ratings (hence the downside to the Vivino app – you have to give a rating to leave a tasting note!). So today on the blog I thought I’d let you all know why I don’t and probably never will give a wine a score.

I understand there’ll be some people who read this post and have strong positive or negative opinions of what I’m about to say, however, please note, I am not trying to ruffle any feathers. I don’t think anyone who rates wines or anyone who buys a wine based off a rating is doing a bad thing, it’s just not for me. And here’s why…

I’m not Robert Parker, James Halliday or anyone else

Firstly and fore-mostly, I am not Robert Parker, James Halliday, Janis Robinson or anyone in between. I definitely don’t have the experience or knowledge these wine pros have, nor do I want to do what they do. I have so much respect for these people, especially the wonderful Janis Robinson, however, I am simply a passionate wine enthusiast who has worked and studied in the wine industry and now communicates about it online. I am not paid for what I do (however there are perks of course!) and to be honest, I don’t want to be.

The above comment shocks people every time I say it. But truly, this is my hobby, a very passionate hobby mind you – but it’s something that comes with no-pressure, it’s fun and I am crafting it into what I want it to be. I love online marketing, nearly as much as I love the wine world, so for me, bringing these two passions together is a dream come true.

There’s not a lot of people who do what I do. Some may call it wine blogging, or being a social wine influencer – I just call it Travelling Corkscrew. My biggest influencer would probably be Wine Folly who I feel has a similar love of wine and online wine education that I do. But yet again, I don’t want to be Wine Folly – I’m doing it on my own way.

I’m not a full-time wine professional

As I mentioned above and you can also read about on my About Me page, I did work in the wine industry for a number of years. This included vineyard/cellar door work, to retail sales in both New Zealand and Dubai. It was in Dubai I studied my WSET Levels 2 and 3 which has given me some strong education about the world of wine.

When Mr.Spittoon and I moved to Perth, I basically had the options of going back into wine retail/cellar door work or following this crazy passion of online marketing (the blog started in Dubai which is where I started to dabble with everything digital). I opted for the latter which may have been the best thing for my blog and professional career as it meant when I wasn’t at the day job I was embracing this ‘hobby’ I loved so much. Some may call it wine-drinking, I call it research 😉

Therefore I guess what I am trying to say, is I’m not your average wine pro or wine lover. I am a mix of both worlds and because of that, I can’t simply slot myself into a category. I’m all about sharing my wine experiences with you guys and ultimately at the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide what wine you want to drink and whether you like it.

I’ll leave giving wines scores or ratings to the professionals, they’re paid to do it and the pressure and stress that comes with that job.

My palate is unique and so is yours

When I write tasting notes I try to clearly communicate the appearance, aromas and flavours – you will find personal opinions in my notes because heck, if I love a wine, I am going to let you know. I guess my tasting notes are my own personal drinking journey, they are a way I keep track of what I drink and they help to improve my knowledge of the wine world and tasting ability. I share them with you guys to help educate you on what’s out there and also to help encourage you to not just drink, but taste and experience the wines alongside where they are from and who made them.

Because of this reason, I can’t put a number or star-rating on each wine. Every wine critic has their own wine rating system (which makes it so hard across the globe to understand what ratings mean and how much influence personal choice comes into it – even for the critics) so why add another one to an already wine rated soaked world?

I don’t want you to buy a wine because I gave it 100 points

I loved my fine wine clients in Dubai, but sometimes it did my head in when they were so focused on only buying 95+ wines as scored by Robert Parker. Yes I agree, Mr. Parker has a good palate – it loves those big, bold Bordeaux-style reds but dudes, wake up! Why not give something new a try! Who knows you may have Robert Parker’s doppelgänger palate, but you may also uncover the most amazing wines of your life if you let your palate do the tasting.

Probably out of all the points (pun totally intended!) I’ve made today, this is the main reason why I can’t score a wine out of 100 or 10. I don’t want to influence your wine buying and drinking styles any more than I currently do. I want to share with you what I am drinking and educate you on what’s out there (by damn there are so many wines to try and such little time) but I don’t want you to go and buy a wine because I gave it 100 points. Instead, I want you to buy a wine because you love the ‘passionfruit & tropical aromas’ I described in the wine or because you love a good old spaghetti bolognese and that wine I tried is a match made in heaven for it. Or because it’s a totally new grape variety, winery or region that you haven’t of before.

Every wine will be 100% enjoyable in the right place or at the right time – it all comes down to your your current situation & your bank balance. Just because you didn’t enjoy a wine after your s%*! of a day at work, it doesn’t necessairly mean you won’t enjoy it at your best friends wedding. Wine is 100% subjective to your palate and current circumstances.

I guess at the end of the day, like wine, I don’t feel like I can be categorised into something. I have my own opinions and this blog is for me to express those opinions. The Travelling Corkscrew is all about encouraging you guys to try new wines and drink outside the box (or from the box if Goon is your thing). Why be yet another wine critic or reviewer when instead I can be leading the way online for everyone to share their opinions and help the industry lose all that pretentiousness and snobbery that sometimes hangs around it?

What are your thoughts on what I’ve said about and the whole deal with wine ratings? Grab a glass of wine and let us know below.

PS: There are many articles online about what some may say the ‘corrupt wine rating’ system so have a good read of the below – everyone has their own opinion:

8 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Give Wine Ratings or Scores

  1. I totally understand! Every one has such a different palette. People would clearly come to you for insight and see how you found the wine, I think you would need a panel or team to come up with ratings.
    xx Jenelle

  2. Thanks for the feedback Tony, it’s nice to hear there are others who are in the same boat. I like that, “Wine as i see it” – will have to check out your blog!

  3. A very good read, thank you. I totally agree. I also have a wine blog and do not score wines for exactly the same reason. I use a sub-heading for my blog which reads, “Wine as I see it”. Yes, I include descriptors in the notes (occasionally I don’t) but sometimes the wine means that little bit more.

Grab a glass of wine and let me know what you think...

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