Barely even a few months into the winery visits, I am realizing how extremely difficult it’s been (and going to be) to track my progress. I do want to track my impressions of the wineries I visit and give general feedback for people who may want to visit after me, but I really have no intentions of trying to become a “food critic” of sorts. In fact, after my first disappointing winery visit, all I could think about as we pulled out of the parking lot was, “how in the world am I supposed to blog about THIS place?” I just kept having mental images of the wine maker somehow coming across my blog, seeing my posting, and then throwing his computer against the window, smashing his wine bottles, and losing faith in his abilities and the wine industry to which he probably dedicated his entire life…
Negative reviews? Ugh. No, thank you.
Still, there does seem to be an essential need for a quantitative value system to distinguish one location from another. I’ve barely even visited a dozen locations, and I’m already asking myself, “How did that one compare?” Good question.
Hoping to remain as objective as possible, I at first started at first with a single scaled rating system, where the wineries could be rated on a 1 to 5 level based primarily on the wines, but also on the wine location itself. However, after my first initial tasting opportunities, I’ve since realized that I’m not really just rating the wine flavors, nor am I only rating the overall environment of the location I’m visiting. Both factors are broad enough to require separate scales. By rating each winery, I’m really trying to give an all-encompassing feedback on two primary but different factors: wine flavor and my impression of the winery’s location, presentation, staff knowledge and friendliness, etc.
Given the wide range of small, family-owned wineries to large, commercially-run vineyards, it seems a dual rating system may be required. Therefore, I’ve decided to keep track of my progress in two ways: rating the wines and the environment.
For the taste of the wines themselves, my wine scale is displayed also on a scale of 1 to 5 of cute, little half-full wine glasses (1 – poor, 5 – excellent!). I have to give a shout-out to my friend, Aimee, for the little wine glass idea.
To distinguish between the wines and the ratings I want to give for the winery’s environment (also on a scale of 1 to 5), I opted to go with little grape bunch graphics:
In this category, a rating of a 1 indicates that I left with a disappointing impression of the location, staff, winery presentation, etc. A rating of a 5, on the other hand, is indicative of a superior winery in all respects!