Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wine Ranking Guide

Let's take this out to the parking lot.

We are a competitive culture.  We measure our work.  We measure others' work.  We compare.  We compete.  With each other and ourselves.  It's how we roll as a people.  And there's nothing wrong with that, but sometimes we take it a little too far.

Numerical rankings tend to draw a line in the sand.  Especially where subjectivity is involved.  And this is a site about wine. Wine is about pleasure. And pleasure is very subjective.

So, to avoid this inevitable he said-she said, itching-for-a-fight, this site started out with a ranking system loosely framed around some basic concepts:
  • Did we enjoy this wine?
  • Was it yummy ?
  • Was it a bargain?
  • Would we buy this wine again?
This worked pretty well for the reviewers, but not so well for the audience.  'What, does "Yummy" really mean?' some ask.  We cannot seem to get away from our inate desire to numerically compare everything from stock portfolio performance, to the frequency of our babies' poopy diapers, to the number of our hairs in the drain trap.  Yes, even with wine.

So, we gave in. 

Today's ranking system is a compromise.  Based on a 5 star scale, it provides relative rankings representing our opinion of the wines.  The rankings include commentary about what we liked and didn't like about the wine, so you can still expect our unvarnished take. 

Acknowledging that this compromise is somewhat at odds with our unapologetic tendencies, this gives readers a sense of what we recommend they try and what not to take a risk on while (hopefully) reducing the likelihood of comparing our rankings to other critics' rankings.

At the end of the day, we believe that readers want a binary recommendation.  Should I buy this wine or should I not?  Stars, rankings, and commentary notwithstanding, our reviews start and end with answering that question.