Following numerous requests, bottle stickers for Raymond Chan Wine Reviews have been produced. There are stickers for wines awarded 5-Star, 4-Star and 3-Star, equivalent to gold, silver and bronze medals, as assessed and rated by me in Feature Reviews and in tastings. (Click here to see how wines are reviewed.) Bottles with these stickers attached will be appearing in the market-place now, and they carry my recommendation as wines of merit. The stickers have obvious benefits for the consumer and producer alike, and will make my endorsements much more visible.
The award stickers were designed by Bill Hird of Brandmarks, who specialises in creating and communicating brands. Bill is a very keen wine enthusiast and one of the sharpest wine options players I know and a genuinely great guy. Go to: www.brandmarks.co.nz
The 100-point scale has grown in popularity in recent years. Made famous by Robert Parker Jr, author of the influential ‘Wine Advocate’ magazine, this has origins that hark back to school grades, and again is easily understood, hence its rising attraction for wine consumers and the use in wine publications. An increasing number of wine shows are adopting the 100-point scale of scoring. The ‘human’ criticism of the scale argues that the difference between an 86-point wine and an 87-point wine is not discernible to the general consumer. An interesting aside here is that using the 100-point scale, a high silver medal wine at 18.0/20 points is a 90-point wine, which sounds much better!
There are many other scales, such as the 7-point scale used by Wine & Food Societies, and the populist 5-point scale which offers very basic grades of differentiation. Gold, silver and bronze medals, with a ‘fail’ or ‘no-award’ is about as basic as you’d want to go to, yet these are often not well understood. Of course, for the general wine consumer, the 5-point scale is arguably the most easy to understand, even more than medal ratings, and is thus used the most, in the form of star-ratings, which make a visual statement.
Of course, all these scales are dependant on the standards and perspectives of those who carry out the assessments and ratings. Some reviews are very liberal, and others very strict. My standards are based on over 20 years of involvement in New Zealand wine judging and retailing, The ‘How Wines are Reviewed’ page of this site has a chart which compares and equates star-ratings with those using the 20-point, 100-point and medal awards, as well as a descriptive phrase from my point of view.