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’m The Mr. Spock of Wine Bloggers

by Tim Elliott on June 21, 2007

Mr. Spock, I presume...OK, I admit it; I’m the Mr. Spock of wine bloggers.

El Jefe laid me bare in his post early this morning (insomnia?) with his poetic argument regarding scores. Let me be clear here, the score is the exclamation point on a bit of prose on the wine in question. Sure, I’m a bit clinical and detached in my reviews sometimes but I do have some passion to spare that Spock might not express. I’ll work on expressing this a bit more.

But I stil think the 5-star (or glass/bottle/cork/bung/unicorn) system is the way for us wine bloggers to go…

Discuss ;-)

Proposal for a Standardized Wine Rating System

by Tim Elliott on June 19, 2007

There has been quite a bit of discussion in the wine blogosphere about wine ratings in response to Blake Gray’s piece in the San Francisco Chronicle last week. I’ve blogged quite a bit about this in the past, so I’m not opening up the question of continuing with the 100-point system or not. What I do think is interesting is the idea of some sort of standardization among those of us who blog about wine.

Is it possible for wine bloggers to choose a single rating system?

Given the passion around the 100-point system, I am not going to suggest this as the wine blogger standard. Neither will I propose either the Vinography 10 point or UC Davis 20-point systems. Because, as Ryan said a while back, shouldn’t the web (and wine bloggers) be different?

What makes the most sense to me is the 5-star systems adopted by most of the Wine 2.0 tasting notes sites and fully supported in the hReview standard.

Hear me out here… first, the scale is easy to understand and implement. It can also be used by readers to rate the same wines and the tasting notes sites can more easily extrapolate a composite score. I also think it is imprecise enough for more participants which is the problem with the 100-point system; it’s exclusiveness to just us uber wine geeks.

So I’m going to propose that wine bloggers rally around the 5-star system. I think the addition of 1/2 points will allow plenty of granularity and overlay all the other systems well enough for widespread adoption.

So who’s with me?

Over the next few days I will be posting some reviews on both Snooth and Winelog that will be reposted automatically here. They are the first two sites to implement an easy way for me to post once and then pull into my blog with no effort on my part. I’m hoping other sites follow suit, as well.

And, for the time-being, I will also post my 100-point score for those who like that system along with the new 5-star scale which at some point in the future will be the only scale I will use to rate wines.

Why I Blog (and podcast)

by Tim Elliott on April 24, 2007

I knew it wouldn’t take long for the “why do you blog” meme to come my way and Gabriella from Catavino did just that 4 days ago. So I thought about it for a while and have come up with a few reasons:

1) I want to share my passion for wine: This is really the heart of the matter; I love wine and want others to discover it, too. I hope what I do here will get more people into wine.

2) I want to grow & learn: The podcast and blog have compelled me to try new wines I would not have otherwise. This has opened up an entirely new wine world to me. Each week I look for new wines to try and not the big jugs of plonk.

3) Wine blogging & podcasting is cool: OK, so this was one of the reasons back in 2004 when I got started. Now it’s just nerdy but I don’t care ;-)

4) I like the gigs: Kinda like a musician, this blog has provided me with employment marketing the beverage I love. How cool is that?

5) Because I can: I wish this didn’t sound so egotistical but the tools to share my thoughts about wine are well within the reach of tech geeks like me. I hope more folks with similar passions and technical chops follow, although it’s really pretty easy these days…

I hope I’ve shed some more light on why I do what I do and now will tag a few others in the wine blogosphere and ask the same question: Why do you blog?

St. Vini from The Zinquisition
Beau Jarvis from Basic Juice
Andrew Barrow from Spittoon and Wine Sediments
Tyler Coleman, a.k.a. Dr. Vino
Mark Fisher from Uncorked and The Dayton Daily News

You have all been tagged!

Very Useful Tasting Guide from Vinography

by Tim Elliott on April 12, 2007

Download Vinography's aromas guideI read (skim mostly) my blogs through an aggregator so I rarely visit blog websites but I did find myself on Vinography this evening and I’m glad I did. Alder has posted a very handy pocket tasting guide that summarizes most all the classic wine aroma terms. Like a lot of wine geeks, I have aromas wheels for reference but they are rarely at hand when I need them in caves, winery tasting rooms or large tasting events. Now I’ll have them in my wallet.

Thanks, Alder!

Interviewed on Blography Podcast

by Tim Elliott on February 28, 2007

If you would like to hear what it sounds like when the tables are turned and another podcaster interviews me, check out the latest edition of Blography from the Baltimore Sun. I think host John Lindner does a nice job of learning about Winecast, Wine Blogging Wednesday and me from his line of questioning and his editor does some magic to make me sound somewhat like I know what I’m talking about ;-)

Check it out on the player below: