Monday, January 24, 2011

The Vino File Turns 1, and Grows Up a Bit

This blog began in January 2010 with only the inclination to learn about wine and write along the way. Of course the primary means of doing this involved drinking as many different wines as possible. So the best intentions brought wine reviews and notes, with comments on wine events, winery visits, and all things wine from the average consumer standpoint. Inevitably with this came the need for some categorization, some ranking of the reviewed wines, some consistent measure of a wine's ability to deliver pleasure, offer quantifiable quality, and ultimately be worth the outlay of your dollars. Thus The Vino File rating scale of 0-5 was invented, and many a wine has passed through its judgement in the last year.

Over time I have felt bound by the decision to give wines a rating. The first indication of this was the huge majority of wines that were rated a 3 or a 3.5. Considering that my scale correlated these two numbers as representing approximately an 83-91 on the traditional 100 point scale this is no surprise. However it made me quickly feel that this rating added no value to the blog post or the reader's ability to categorize the wine for future reference. Seeing that this is exactly why the rating existed it seemed contrary and irrelevant.

But recently I have felt a deeeper need to abandon the wine score. As I have explored more wines, more regions, more pairings, and such, I have realized that context is by far the most important aspect in the quality of a wine experience. Theoretically a wine in a non-descript glass, in a non-descript room, drank by oneself with no phyical effects would mean nothing to those of us who love it. And yet that is our expectation of how a wine can be most accurately scored? The entire experience of the wine is what really matters and lasts in our memories. This is not to say that quantitative aspects of the wine's quality may or may not add to your personal experience with the wine, but this is a piece of the whole. Therefore to end each post with such a piece of judgement, an outright categorization that diminishes all the previous words to a number that was essentially meaningless is not something I can stand to do any longer.

I will still judge. I will still gush. I will still recommend and discourage, bash and praise. But I will not assign a score to any wines on the pages of The Vino File from this day forward.

Otherwise for year number two you can expect more of the same (groan or cheer about this, I can't hear you anyway.) I have every intention to expand my knowledge of Italy as it tends to confuse and overwhelm me, and be a bit more aware of some of the New World offerings from down south as there have not been too many Argentinian or Chilean wines on these pages recently. I hope to continue to make fun of the wine establishment when I see fit, and continue to engage with readers as they see fit. I am looking forward to another year of The Vino File, and hope you are too.




  1. Congratulations on your 1-Year anniversary! Glad to know that you will continue to "judge and gush"!

  2. Thanks Sediment and Stephen. I really feel that it better serves the whole experience to just abandon that aspect of the blog.

  3. Congrats Scott, looking forward to another year (and score free!)

  4. Thanks Lynette, I can't wait to keep going either.