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Putting ‘frogs in a wheelbarrow’

Putting ‘frogs in a wheelbarrow’

by Tim Elliott on June 22, 2007

The conversation around my proposal for a unified wine blogger rating system has brought both sides of the numerical issue to the forefront. In the comments here and around the blogosphere we have seen agreement, push-back and, well, poetry.

Now seems like the right time to put on the table how this system might work in practice. After thinking about this some and considering what Ryan wrote the other day, I humbly propose we wine bloggers adopt the following rating scales:

Overall Wine Quality

* Flawed, Not Recommended
** Average
*** Very good, Recommended
**** Delicious; A Wine of Distinction
***** Outstanding; A Classic Wine


* Bad Value
** Average Value
*** Good Value
**** Great Value
***** Excellent Value

We can discuss the merits of adding half-stars to this mix once I get a read on the community’s reaction to this proposal. In the meantime, vote on what our icons should be below (aggregator/email readers might have to click back to the site to vote):


Thanks to everyone for their thoughts on this modest proposal. I believe we are making some progress here.

  • I think the symbol is the least of our worries. 5pts is all that matters, put rubber duckies over them for all I care. I’m just amazed how this whole process is getting people so worked up.

    Wine is for drinking. Maybe I need to toss out the whole 5 grapes after all. Personally I buy wine when I walk into a store based on whether or not I’ve had it(if I haven’t I buy it), and secondly if the label looks good. It’s the truth, sorry.

    If you REALLY want to learn about wine, taste everything you can, but start with the wines you haven’t, no matter what score they received. That’s how I learned about wines, and some of the people I respect most in the wine world gave me this advice before I even started.

    As to the two scales, WAY TO CONFUSING! People want one thing to see. I still say, PLEASE

  • Sorry got cut off. Basically I say, use the scores as a secondary annotation to the note. Put them at the end of the TN and in small print. Then use them to search/sort your notes only.

    Maybe we need to start a debate on what a good note should look like. Everyone seems to not like the points, so why not REALLY focus on the note, and have a writing contest of sorts… What should the note look like not what the points should look like. That might be the better question…

  • Tim


    As for what a note should look like, I would recommend Alder’s style or variations of it (i.e. you don’t always have to use as many words, etc.).

  • I come back again to what was said over on winehiker: instead of going through a thought process to condense opinion into a single figure of merit – why not instead capture the thoughts prior to that condensation for distribution?

    By feeding both scores and text descriptors for key criteria, the user can decide how to use that information.

    (I’m not even sure I’m all over this exact idea, but I think the discussion of it may lead to something better!)

  • I do think that the two scales need ot be combined…. an average of ‘quality’, ‘drinkability’, ‘value’ and ‘interest’ would work for me.

  • Tim

    Jeff and Andrew,

    Points taken… I’ll give this a week or two and then start to post reviews with the new rating scale. Or maybe I’ll do this sooner.

    Hope some other wine bloggers join me; or not. It’s a personal decision, after-all 😉

  • Even if I’m not in favor of a five-star methodology as a standard, I salute the discussion, especially to the point El Jefe makes, since one size does not fit all. How that’s done, whether via Winecast, Snooth or elsewhere, is perhaps the next direction we’ll go in this discussion.


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