Deconstructed Wine Reviews
So, a certain percentage of those little advertisements we see on shelves of retailer outlets that we call "Shelf Talkers" are speaking with a forked tongue, according to the Washington Post.
This is not the first time this issue has come up. I recall a similar news story making the rounds a couple years ago.
In this case, the Washington post looked at 100 different shelf talkers and found that:
"Accuracy varied from shop to shop, but overall, 6 percent of the
signs either advertised a score that was higher than the one the wine
actually had received or invented a score for an unrated wine.Nineteen
percent referred to a different vintage from that of the wine for sale.
A vintage mismatch could be chalked up to sloppiness rather than
deliberate misrepresentation, but it can be just as misleading. In our
checks, the vintage available was usually unrated or had received a
lower score, though there were occasions when the actual wine displayed
had received a higher rating."
Before anyone extend this little bit of nastiness into a general discussion of the problem with the 100 point rating system it should be noted that just as much fraud could occur were there no such rating system.
That said, a 25% inaccuracy rate on in-store shelf talkers really has to be called a failure by any measure.
I’ve designed and had printed shelf talkers…more than I care to own up to. But I’ve never once put a score on them that the wine did not earn. That said, I have built shelf talkers that make use of the dreaded ELLIPSE (…)
Let me show you how that’s done:
"Appealing…yellow apple, tropical fruit…Drink Now"
This is an "ellipsed" version of this review:
"85 Points—Simple yet appealing with yellow apple, tropical fruit and a touch of fruit cocktail. Drink now. Tasted twice with consistent notes"
Is this accurate? Yes. But barely. And this is not even the worst example of the use of an ellipse on a shelf talker or an advertisement. I’m proud to say I’ve not ever been convinced to go over the line.
However, this would be over the line…way over the line:
"The vineyard is a good one…Flavors of Blackberries and Cherries"
Unfortunately it could come from this review:
"82 Points—A troubling wine. The vineyard is a good one, but this Cab is hot and overly ripe, with stewed flavors of blackberries and cherries. There’s a heaviness that doesn’t work, especially at this price"
This is not a specific example of something I’ve seen before, but I have seen stuff just as bad.
The point of course is that an old review on a new wine might be bad, but it might not be the worst kind offense.