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"Likes" to Replace Wine Scores by 2020

Leading publications announce 100-point system to be replaced by crowd-sourced "likes" by next year
by R.H. Drexel (press release)
April 01, 2019

New York, NY – During a well-attended press conference, held at the New York Marriott Marquis, the nation’s top wine publications announced in tandem that numbered wine scores, also known as the 100-point system, will be replaced by crowd-sourced “likes” by the summer of 2020. “Millennials have rendered wine scores all but obsolete. Crowd-sourced, peer reviews are au courant,” said Wine Aficionado publisher, Bill Paide. Standing beside a Power Point presentation, Paide then lead the mostly media and trade audience through a multitude of slides illustrating the refreshed approach to wine reviews. “On our website, we’ll be asking subscribers to click the “like” emoji from white to red, to demonstrate their fondness for a wine.” Modeled on Instagram’s white-to-red heart approach, a clear emoji, shaped like a wine bottle, may be clicked upon to turn red, indicating the consumer’s approval.

“We will then publish reviews reflecting the wines that received the most likes within a certain window of time,” added Paide. Marsha Sedi-Mentt, of Brethren Wine & Spirits, one of the nation’s leading wine, spirits and beer distributors, added that “digital shelf-talkers” are being developed in tandem with major distribution houses, in order to better translate the crowd-sourced review system into effective sales and marketing tools. “We’re already working with our regional teams, as well as major retailers, to develop digital shelf talkers, which will be showing a wine’s “likes” in real-time. Consumers will literally be able to stand in front of a bottle of wine as they shop, and watch numbered “likes” flash before their eyes,” Sedi-Mentt continued. Restaurants already utilizing iPads for their wine lists will also be able to utilize “real time likes”.

Not everyone in attendance was pleased with the announcement. Sommelier-turned-winemaker, Rudolph Side commented from the crowd, “I used to think scores were stupid until my own wines got really good ones. That changed things. Now, these same publications are trying to level the playing field. How can a collector know a wine is good if it doesn’t get 98 points from a seasoned and respected critic?” Appearing to turn visibly red in the face as he spoke passionately, Side added “How about if my wines only get 100 likes, because, let’s face it, a lot of collectors aren’t on social media, and Rombauer gets 500,000 likes? Does that mean their wine is better???! This is ridiculous!”

Walter Werld, of Werld’s World Wine Magazine, one of the oldest and most respected wine publications, appeared to address Side in particular when speaking about the new reviewing system. “Winemakers who make modern-style wines, that is to say, wines demonstrating transparency rather than pleasure, should not concern themselves with the new system. Their wines will still find a place among the sommelier culture, which is tremendously loyal, until it isn’t, of course. But, still, you will be able to move your wines primarily through the on-premise sector, which traditionally hasn’t paid much attention to scores anyway. Restaurant owners will probably continue to allow somms to include a handful of cerebral wines on their lists. If you can move one six-pack a year each, through several fine dining restaurants, in all major and secondary markets, you’ll be able to deplete your inventory every couple of years without incident.” Side responded that he’d have to be on the road a lot more to hand-sell his bottles, which would cut into his profits.

Also among the disenchanted were a handful of critics employed by the major publishers in attendance. “Look, I’m lucky to have a job in publishing, period,” said one critic who requested anonymity. “But, I’m not crazy about the idea of having to collect crowd-sourced comments and count “likes” instead of writing up my own notes and applying my own numbers to a wine. I imagine the new accompanying tasting notes on “likes” will be pedantic and riddled with words like “huzzuh”, “good stuff” and “YAAASS.”

The same critic revealed that, during a 9-month long focus-group trial, via a test site, the wine that received the most “likes” was Abrau Durso, a method-classique brut, by Russian producer, Victor Dravigny.

Curiously, the only Millennials in attendance were the catering staff employed by the venue. When asked his opinion, Banyon Mann, 24, of Brooklyn, said, “I’m barely making rent and I have four roommates. Why is everyone always trying to sell us shit? We don’t have any money. Call me when someone’s giving away free wine or beer. Then I’ll be there.”

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