I get such a kick out of seeing everyone kick this debate around. Those who are mostly new to the wine biz want to tumble the Walls of Jericho so badly, because they’d love to have the wine business “Their way, Burger King.”
Did you ever notice when there’s anew kid at school how long it takes that kid to integrate? And the kid has to integrate. He or she can’t just come to school and immediately change the culture. Society is society, and anyone relatively new to this business just needs to take deep breaths on this one.
Query a wholesaler about this one… the guys who are putting wine on the shelves of stores and into restaurants. Ask how they purchase wine from a supplier.
Present any wine you’d like in the three-tiered system, and the wholesaler will always ask, “So, Mr. Supplier, what has Parker, Wine Spectator, or Wine Enthusiast say about this one? Does it have a score, yet, and if it does, what is it?”
If it’s not int he 90s, then it’s off to the next layer of their bureaucracy.
“We need a sales allowance to sell this wine. With no score, we’re going to have to hand sell it.” Then there’s, “We want a depletion allowance,” for the same reason. (They’ll either take it to bring the wine into the warehouse, or they’ll take a price to move it out of the warehouse.)
Until you’ve worked as a sales agent for a winery, you don’t realize how having that endorsement will make or break the deal for bringing in your wine…It’s brutal for suppliers, and the scores make a big difference in that link in the sales chain. Not saying if it’s good or bad… Not saying if it works for Susie Q. Public, I’m just telling you what it’s like on the streets, if you’ve never been on them. It’s just the reality of sales that you’ve never had to experience and need to take into consideration, before you think that the world is going to change overnight, because that’s what you think should happen.
My company makes money creating shelf talkers, because they matter to our clients, to wholesalers, and to retailers. Some consumers see a shelf talker that says “gold medal” next to a wine that’s got the same price point and no gold medal… They buy the gold medal one. That’s the same as saying this is a 90+ scored wine. Some people trust professional wine palates to help them not waste money on a brand with which they may be unfamiliar.
And, I have to share with you; honestly, wholesalers are laughing all the way to the bank as they read stories about, “Should the 100 point system just go away?”
Bring on the scores, those of you so engaged, because we’ve been judging each other since the beginning of time.
Imagine any sports endeavor without scores… “Oh, yeah, we got the football to the goal post, it was such a (don’t inject an adjective, because that would be judging) move.
Think about taking away the ultimate, like Superbowl, because scores don’t matter anymore. What’s the Masters without having established the Masters. And, how was that done, through gaining personal scores.
This debate needs to end, because it’s pretty ridiculous, when you’ve sold wine at any level.