When you need to stock a wine store or wine list, how do you go about doing it?
One way is to see what people want. Crowd-sourcing the buying decisions to leverage cumulative preferences of the marketplace is incredibly useful, but it is also a huge and near impossible task.
Snooth’s People’s Voice Wine Awards has created something that does resemble just such a crowd-sourced list of wines. We recently finished up our first round of voting, which resulted in six finalists for each category. These six were selected as the best in their respective categories by consumers.
We all know that points sell and that buying decisions are often driven by point scores. This happens both at the wholesale level, where a wine buyer knows that a 90 plus point score means an easy sale, and at the retail level, where consumers love the simplicity of buying a 90-point or 92-point wine.
Point scores are pervasively used as an easy selling tool throughout our industry. Of course, grade inflation means that today, every wine gets a great score.
We could start to change things a little bit if responsible retailers opted instead for the note that they felt best represented the wine or alternately best helped the consumer, but that’s not the way things are done. If “Boozehound” gave a wine 96 points and both the “Wine Prosecutor” and “Provincial Wine Cellar” gave the same wine 93 points, you know which review would get the most play.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, the use of these reviews is free promotion for the reviewer. Who wouldn’t want to get even more free promotion for their reviews? Surprise! It’s so easy even a moron can do it, just jack up the points.
Our industry is broken and we don’t really want to do anything about it. Except, of course, complain and lament.
This brings me back to the point I was trying to make. Since every wine is now great, how do you choose between competing 90-point wines for valuable shelf space?
My suggestion is to check out the People’s Voice Awards finalists. These are the wines our consumer base has voted for and prefers. We all know that all 90-point wines are not created equal, so here’s a tool to help you identify those 90-point wines that the consumers prefer!
How’s that for helpful? Let’s revisit this whole wine criticism debacle soon. I would love to hear some of your thoughts on that! Please feel free to comment below.
Check out some of the winning finalists in Snooth’s 2012 People’s Voice Wine Awards.