The Rating Scale

I’ve never gotten along well with numbers. Whether it is balancing my bank account or just doing basic math, numbers are not my thing. Maybe that is why I have never liked the numerical rating scales for wine. Wine elicits strong emotions from me, or none at all.

When I wrote the “My Wine Education” blog in the mid-2000s, I created a smiley face rating scale. This scale made sense to me because it was easy. It didn’t require figuring out why the 100-pt rating scale you so often see really only uses 20 points. Alternatively, there is a defined 20-point scale, but when you start adding in half points, well, I end up back with my happy faces. It captures what I’m thinking much more accurately than a number.

Early on, I experimented with a Bookish rating scale for this newsletter. Apparently that confused a few folks. Upon reflection, I settled on “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Smileys it is!

Wine is emotional. And in searching for the right rating scale for this newsletter, I can easily acknowledge that books are emotional too - moreso, I think. Simplistic as it is, the happy face scale (similar to a pain scale in a hospital, but more pleasant) better describes the emotions elicited by the wine, and how I feel about it, than any number could.

So, when I try a wine, or read a new book, I’m going to rate with my sliding scale of happy faces. Take a look and once you get past your initial laughter, tell me that it doesn’t make perfect sense.

Some details:

Anything at the middle guy (I call him “meh”) or below I won’t be buying or reading again.

Most wines and books will probably fall in the purple happy face category. That’s for I’d drink it again, I’d buy it again, and it makes me happy. If it’s purple, it’s worth investigating for yourself. For books, I enjoyed it but it’s probably going to be eBook only.

That smiley guy at the very top? That’s a whole different category. That’s an I love it, it’s OMG worthy, it’s a book I need in multiple formats, and so forth. There are those books that I need both in eBook and hardback, and those wines that just blow me away. There are the books I’ll re-read, the wines I’ll buy again, and then there are the others. There aren’t a lot categorized at the top of scale (especially for wine), but there are some. Be on the lookout.

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