Earlier this summer, Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) held an alumni event in New York with the main focus of conversation revolving around the power of scores for wine and spirit brands. Discussion was lead by WSET’s very own International Development Manager, David Wrigley, alongside a panel of experienced individuals within the wine and spirit world. In total, more than 50 industry professionals, all WSET Diploma graduates or current students, spoke their opinions on the scoring system and its importance in the selection process.
Scoring systems, specifically the 100-point system, date back to the 1980s. It’s important to remember, though, that scoring is used to determine where a wine sits qualitatively within a group of similar wines, thus scores are not indicative of style or palate. Scoring reshaped the way wine is viewed and how it is bought. While wine and beer evaluations are rather honest, the scoring system on the spirits front is younger in its developments since evaluators are qualified individuals who possess the skills and knowledge to review the products leading some to believe the spirits side needs some more transparency.
All in all, scores have done nothing but help the wine and spirit industries boom and increase consumer involvement. One area the WSET panel would like to see improve is the inclusion of brand-neutral education to avoid favoritism so that the entire industry can be explored without bias.