Frequently Asked Questions

Why do you put a Value on a wine instead of a score?

Is a $15.00 wine that got an 86 point score any good? Most people have no idea. But everyone understands the meaning of a $15.00 wine that tastes like a $25.00 bottle. For the overwhelming majority of wine drinkers, valuing a wine makes more sense because it takes the guess-work out of buying wine and puts the focus on quality.

How often do you update your wine reviews?

We professionally review over 400 wines each month. The reviews are uploaded to the Thumbs Up WineFinder mobile app and website as soon as they are complete (about once a week).

What is your wine tasting methodology?

The short answer is that we taste the wines the way professionals taste them, but under the conditions that most consumers consume them. The long answer is:

  1. We blind taste all bottles.
  2. To calibrate our palates, we always start with a control bottle that we have previously tasted.
  3. We taste both whites and reds under “consumer conditions,” which means:
    1. White wines are tasted coming out of the refrigerator, after they have been allowed to warm up for 20 minutes.
    2. Red wines are left open for 20 minutes, then tasted at room temperature (68 degrees Fahrenheit).

By tasting wine as close as possible to real-world conditions, we ensure that the bottles we recommend match what the wine buyer is looking for.

Why do both of you review each wine?

Numerous scientific studies have proven that everyone has weaknesses in their ability to smell and taste – everyone. So, having only one reviewer means that more wines will be reviewed as “good” that some wine drinkers will perceive as “bad.” While our two experts frequently end up with similar assessments of a wine, one will often catch something that the other doesn’t. Bottom line: having two reviewers for each wine ensures the consumer of fantastic results.

What do the different ratings graphics that accompany your reviews mean?

  • Gold Seal with Blue Ribbons: an Extraordinary Value - worth at least 150% of the retail price.
  • Gold Seal: worth at least the retail price, and often a bit more.
  • Red Seal: not worth the retail price, and often quite a bit less.
  • Half Gold, Half Red Seal: a complete disagreement between our two reviewers of a wine’s value.

How is the Average Retail Price of a wine determined?

We obtain the average retail price from a number of national, industry-standard sources.

How do you ensure that a really bad-tasting wine isn’t just a bad bottle?

When we run across something truly horrific, we taste an additional bottle to ensure that the first one we tasted wasn’t an anomaly. Wines that have been “corked” are different from “bad” – they have an identifiable taste. In those cases, we also taste a second bottle.

Why don’t you show the reviews of bad wines?

Our mission is to help consumers easily find the best bottles the stores where they shop most. Adding bad reviews would be counter-productive to this. Plus, it’s just not nice!

How can I check out the Thumbs Up WineFinder app before I download it?

We have two videos that demonstrate how to use the app and show it in use in a retail store. You can view both on our “mobile app” page.