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Blind Tasting Group Scoring Methodology

2009 March 5
by Eric Hwang

I’ve posted some results from a couple of blind tastings and realized that most people may not know how our wine group does its scoring to rank the wines we’re tasting.  The rankings we determine don’t relate to anything in the wine world and really only show how we, as a group, rate a particular wine to the others in that flight. If we have 8 wines, one will end up in first place and one will be last and it has no particular relevance to anything else.

Why do we do this?

It not only gives us an idea of how our fellow tasters rate a wine, but also allows me to see how my tastes compare to someone who is more knowledgable or to my wife’s. If we find we both rate a wine higher, it might be something we could both enjoy. If we begin to notice a pattern, such as one wine consistently ranking lower or last, then perhaps it’s just not a good bottle of wine and not a matter of personal preference.

Wine Tasting Score Sheet

To accomplish this ranking, we have a standard tasting sheet with a table similar to this:

Wine Type Date # of tasters Location
A
$ pts
Group rank My rank
Bouquet Color Wine
T1
T2
B
$ pts
Group rank My rank
Bouquet Color Wine
T1
T2
C
$ pts
Group rank My rank
Bouquet Color Wine
T1
T2

For brevity, this table shows space for only 3 wines indicated by A, B, and C. Our paper version has space for up to 9 wines, A through I, though we rarely taste more than 8 at a time. Each wine is placed inside a cloth bag to hide its label, and marked with a letter that corresponds with a letter on this sheet. We found that letters work best because all the other numbers used on this sheet make numbering the wines confusing.

At the top of the page, we put the information for the type of wines we are tasting, the date, number of tasters and where we tasted them. There is space in the middle columns for our notes on bouquet, color, and two tastes. On the left side we put our ranking of the wine, 1 through 9. How each person ranks the wines is up to them. Some people use a points system, while others simply arrange their glasses in the order they like them.

img00042Once everyone has tasted and ranked the wines, the results are tallied on another sheet of paper and the rankings for each letter is totaled to give the the points. The wine the the lowest number of points is the first place wine, next lowest points is 2nd and so on. In the small boxes next to the letters on this sheet, we put the number of people who ranked the wine first, second, third and last. In the photo on the right of a finished tasting sheet, for wine C, 3 people ranked it first, 3 ranked it second, 1 ranked it third and 2 ranked it last. Clearly, since the ranking were all over the board,  these ranking were probably showing more of a personal preference and not of the wine itself. For wine C, I ranked it number 3 and as a group, we ranked it number 1. The right side of this table has space for information about the wine after each one is revealed.

Using a method such as this not only allows us to quantify our preferences, but gives each of us a place to record information about each of the wines we’ve tasted and our impressions, which I can use later to write about the wines.

Copyright © 2009, Eric Hwang and BricksOfWine. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eric Hwang and BricksOfWine with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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