Wine Ratings

Wine ratings are a controversial subject, but we believe that ratings are necessary. How else is a novice going to have a clue as to where to start in identifying a good wine to buy? Or how would even an experienced wine lover find the time or money to taste all of the possibilities in a given varietal without using someone else’s ratings as a point of reference?

So the real question is not whether or not to use wine ratings but rather which rating/review system to use and/or follow? Today, the 100-point scale popularized by Robert Parker and used by other leading services such as the Wine Spectator, Steve Tanzer’s IWC, and the Wine Enthusiast dominates the market. There are also reviewers who use 20-point scales, 10-point scales, 5-point scales, 3-glasses, and a myriad of other systems.

While any or all of these systems can be valuable to you if your palate and the palate of the reviewer are somewhat comparable, we believe that they all have one shortcoming: none of them say anything about value in a typical review. For example, if two wines are rated 91 points but one costs $85 and the other $25, it should be obvious that the $25 bottle represents more for your money.

The Wine Peeps’ emphasis is on getting the most bang out of our hard-earned wine budget dollars, so we have developed two measures for rating the wines that we review. The first is QUALITY, which we measure on a five-star scale.

5 stars (out of 5): Wow!
4.5 stars (out of 5): Outstanding
4 stars (out of 5): Excellent
3.5 stars (out of 5): Very Good
3 stars (out of 5): Good
2 stars (out of 5): Mediocre
1 star (out of 5): Ugh

Our second rating for a wine is found using the quality-to-price ratio, or QPR, for the wine. Please keep in mind that the “most bang for your buck” does not always mean the lowest price. It means that the wine has a great price compared to wines of similar quality within the same varietal/type. Mathematically, the QPR is found by dividing the average price of the wine by the average price of its peers (all wines of the same varietal/type with the same quality rating in our database). Then we rate the wine’s QPR on a five-bangs scale, five being a wine that gives you the most bang for your buck. If a wine does not merit at least three stars in our QUALITY rating, we will not recommend it. Therefore, one and two star wines will have a QPR = NR. We cannot recommend that you purchase a wine, no matter how low the price, if it is not of at least good quality.

5 bangs for your buck (out of 5): Price < 50% of average of its peers
4 bangs for your buck (out of 5): Price = 50% to 74% of average of its peers
3 bangs for your buck (out of 5): Price = 75% to 99% of average of its peers
2 bangs for your buck (out of 5): Price = 100% to 125% of average of its peers
1 bang for your buck (out of 5): Price > 125% of average of its peers
NR: Not Recommended

We define Super Bargain wines as wines of excellent quality (4-star quality or higher) by our ratings with a price less than or equal to one-half of the average price of wines of the same varietal/type and the same quality level (5 bangs-for-your-buck).

By giving you both a QUALITY rating and a QPR rating, you can decide for yourself how important price and getting a good deal is to you.