Change to scoring method

Regular readers may have noticed that I have decided to migrate my scoring system out of 10 to a 100 point scale.  I have done this because the 100 point system is perhaps more familiar to many.  It has been brought to my attention that many of Australia's leading wine reviewers adopt a differing interpretation of the 100 point scale than that which was pioneered by in the United States by Robert Parker, particularly in the 80 to 90 point range.  My method, while my own and formed solely by my own judgements, probably more closely resembles the Parker model.  No model is perfect.  I am proposing to trial it for 6 months and see how it goes.  My view is that scoring systems are inherently subjective, but, for a particular writer, are at least an indication of really how enjoyable they found a wine, and consistently applied serves a purpose.*

To convert between the scales, essentially multiply by 10 and add 15. The addition of 15 is because it seemed unfair to be giving perfectly good wines that I have given a 6.7 only 67 points, incorrectly suggesting a poor wine.  It makes sense to include both scores for a while.

A conversion table from the old to new systems is as follows:

Just passable to Fine: 5 to 6.4 = 50 to 79

Good: 6.5 to 6.9 = 80 to 84

Very good: 7 to 7.4 = 85 to 89

Extremely good: 7.5 to 7.9 = 90 to 94

Outstanding: 8+ = 95+

* My original post has been edited in view of reader feedback.
Wine Thoughts
March 9, 2011


Anonymous said…
That's the prevalent American system. It's nothing like the Australian one.
Sean Mitchell said…
Yep the Australian wine show circuit certainly does adopt a different approach. I think many of the big/well known wine writers in Oz at the moment (Halliday, Oliver, Stock, you guys at Wine Front) use interpretations of a 100 point scale, so that's what I was more thinking of by mentioning its prevalence here.
Anonymous said…
So if the aim is to make it easier for your audience to (attempt) like with like, then why don't you adopt something more like the local method? You say "I have done this for comparability in view of the prevailing wine writing approach in Australia.."
I'm not being perverse by the way, just trying to help.
SMH Good Wine Guide via Stocky is pretty much in line.
Halliday helped Oliver convert his system to 100 points when he did it.
It's a bit confusing if you give a 'good' wine 83 points is all.
Sean Mitchell said…
I do see what you are saying, and don't worry, I'm flattered that you're taking an interest ;)

I think my error was in using the words "comparability". Perhaps I should have said I am moving to a 100 point scale that is "ostensibly more familiar, albeit applied differently by me in some cases compared with what the important Australian wine writers are currently doing, and more similarly to what Parker is doing". Ugly, but probably more accurate.

Unfortunately my IT skills preclude me from posting this, but I plotted out a tabular comparison of scores v descriptors for the big 4 Australian writers (Halliday, Oliver, Stock, Wine Front) and Parker. And largely it supports your point. It showed that the Australian, the Parker and my fledgling approach are similar enough between 90 and 100, but diverge substantially between 80 to 87. I must admit I hadn't really looked at that terribly much before. I just liked the idea of giving full voice to the 70s and 80s. Pun may or may not be intended.

Largely the divergence is that by 86 in the "Australian" 100 point scale we are in the "just ok" range, whilst 85 and below heads over into the "poor" range, and certainly is there by 83. Conversely, Parker is still in his "above average to very good" range at 80-89, and my own fledgling conversion is still in the "good to very good" range. Thus, the apparent similarity between my approach and the Parker approach.

Within the 80-89 range in the Australian version, I also did see that, while almost alarmingly consistent, there are some little oddities that pop out. For example, at 87, you guys describe this "average", while Halliday is still on "recommended", Oliver "top bronze" and Stock "good wine" (while Parker is in his "above average to very good" zone). At 84, you guys give that score a "poor", but Halliday is still on "acceptable" and Stock on "a simple thumbs up". Then at 80 to 83, you guys are at "poor" to "eeeuw" and Halliday at "over to you", although they are probably the same thing.

So my fledging 100 points conversion fairly does have a lack of comparability to the Australian reviewers' approach most evidently between the scores of 86 or 87 and below, and is more similar overall to Parker's method. Thus, my better description above is in order.

Thanks for the good food for thought. For now, I'm going to keep trialling this new "Parker like" presentation, if only because I am used to thinking like that (albeit previously out of 10), and it best reflects my attempt at a numerical translation of my opinion at the moment. If, for unknown and unexpected reasons, I become wildly popular in Australia ;) or I am to actually achieve full Australian comparability, I may need to conform. Or perhaps not if Mr Pringle is any guide ;)

Anonymous said…
Cool. Just trying to help with your popularity/uptake/relevance/marketing. But so long as you're putting your cock on the block and providing a rating, then that's the main thing.

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