Valuations are a combination of the world-wide expertise of our team and our rigorous methodology.
We line up flights of wine – usually 10-20 wines of a single class – and taste them together. When you’re able to compare the same kind of wine, from across the supermarkets, the difference can be stark. It is easy to see which are worth paying more for and which less.
We then compare our independent valuation to the shelf price. If the shelf price is less we know we’ve uncovered a great buy for you!
How is it possible to state what a wine is worth? Surely that is a matter of personal taste, to say nothing of wanting a famous well recognised name or brand?
The tasting team have a wealth of experience in wine production, shipping, buying, sales, retail and marketing wines from all over the world. So they are highly knowledgeable about the cost of production, packaging, handling and logistics costs, retail margins, and promotional tactics, and therefore know what a particular wine costs to get on the shelf.
By tasting semi-blind (i.e. not knowing the producer the retailer the price or seeing packaging) the team taste in batches of the same or similar wines from the high street supermarkets we assess. It is this informed blind tasting of all the competition alongside each other which enables us to put a value on each wine from that source at that particular quality level.
How can you be sure you are getting these value assessments right?
Quality is the start point and we first reach consensus on quality level as a team. Then the debate really starts!
Tasting and assessing value is not a precise science so we ask producers, retailers and our users to let us know if they disagree with our assessment of value or our tasting note, and we undertake to do an immediate re-taste. Of course any bottle can be marginally faulty, or we may have tasted a line-up of very excellent wine just before a good wine so we rate it lower than is fair. Or indeed a line-up of very poor wines just before a good wine, so we rate it too highly.
Our tasting manager regularly puts a wine into a line-up of new wines to compare that we have tasted maybe six months earlier. It is extremely reassuring to us that without exception we tend to give that wine a very similar note and value that we gave it six months before.
What do you mean by semi blind tasting?
In order to be able to evaluate a wine for what it purports to be and as vintages vary, the tasters need to know the category of a wine, for instance these are all 2017 Village Chablis, or all 2016 Argentine Malbec’s.
In evaluating the quality level, and pricing level totally objectively, there must be no further cues, as it is well proven that the brain picks up all and any clue and it inevitably clouds a proper evaluation. Obviously the producer if he is famous, or the retailer if they tend to be more up-scale or downscale cannot be known. Most importantly, neither should there be any sight of the packaging as the weight of a bottle, or whether it has a real cork or a plastic cork or even if the wine comes in a Tetrapak can all influence the tasters and their objective, independent evaluation. Only after the tasting note and value is given is “locked”, is the wine revealed.
Some wines are really expensive because they are famous names or produced in limited quantities. How do you put a value on their fame or exclusivity?
Most really expensive exclusive wines are not sold in supermarkets where we concentrate our effort to help consumers.That having been said most supermarkets stock famous appellations like Sancerre and Chateauneuf du Pape as some of their most expensive offer. We know that a top producer of Sancerre or Chateauneuf can charge a very high price, but these wines are rarely found as production quantities and price points exclude them.
But we also know that there are many other producers doing a sound job at more modest prices and therefore we evaluate these famous names in the context of how typical and genuine the wine in question is and in the context of a knowledge of the very best and the disappointing. Some supermarkets stock £120+ great brands of Champagne like Krug and Dom Perignon. We also evaluate these blind and do not hesitate to give our verdict which is hopefully complimentary about superb quality, but at the same time honest about its value for money and pricing alongside its peers.
Why don’t you evaluate all the retailers, specialist wine merchants and shops, Wine Clubs and even restaurant wines?
70% of total wine sales in the UK are made through the Supermarkets and nearly 85% of the population buy the majority of their wine from them.
By focussing on the wine available in supermarkets we hope to provide useful guide to majority of wine shoppers. There are probably over 100,000 different wines and vintages in circulation in the UK at any one time. We only give an assessment once we have actually bought and tasted a wine.
Other wine apps try to cover everything by scanning a label, and then if a user has tasted that wine, or a writer has written it up you get their quality note. But this is a sort of “Trip Advisor” model, we believe the completely independent, curated, “blind” assessments of our panel of professionals, together with our “value for money” assessment, is more valuable for consumers.
Whilst we don’t current cover everyone or the specialist wine merchants and shops, Wine Clubs or even restaurant wines we do regularly taste wines from other organisations to see how they compare and we may in future add other retailers to our list.
We use aggregated data on which wines have been scanned and bought but these are not linked to your individual details.
If have a technical problem with the app, who do I contact?
Our development team are constantly working to improve our app and its functionality, always make sure you have the latest version and be sure to update the database in the menu section of the app for the best experience.
If you continue to experience issues please let us know, it would be most helpful if you could tell us the type and model of your smart phone, and exactly what the problem is with screen shots if possible.