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The 89 Project

A group blog project- What is the difference between an 89 and a 90 rating for a bottle of wine? Sales. The 89 Project invites wine writers, reviewers, critics and bloggers to cross-post anything they write about any wine getting an 89 rating.

Members: 75
Latest Activity: Feb 26, 2011

Discussion Forum

89 Project Developments 3 Replies

Started by David Honig. Last reply by Joel Vincent Sep 9, 2008.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of The 89 Project to add comments!

Comment by Mutineer Magazine on October 11, 2008 at 1:22pm
Check out Mutineer Magazine. We feel rating a wine on a 100 point scale is a lot like rating sex on a 100 point scale...just doesn't work. The 100 point scale had its time, but it is time to move on and transcend this broken model. I wrote a piece about this in the latest Sante...check it out!
Comment by W. R. Tish on September 6, 2008 at 7:26am
D, we are on the same page, essentially. I think we need to be careful about accepting the 100-point scale in general. I prefer to applaud critics -- bloggers included -- who have the conviction and intelligence to praise wine without numbers at all. THe 89 Project helps do that, but I still feel it is important to reject the 100-point premise that put us in this pickle to start with.
Comment by David Honig on September 3, 2008 at 7:11pm
W.R. Tish, that was a great comment. I think some people see The 89 Project as an attack on the 100 point scale. It is not. It is an experiment ABOUT the 100 point scale, and a second chance for 89 rated wines. I talked about it at some length on Wine Biz Radio last week, and hope you get a chance to hear it. I think we are probably on the same page.
Comment by W. R. Tish on September 3, 2008 at 6:18am
My goal is not to throw water on this project, but can we keep a little perspective on where 89 fits in the big scheme? That catchy little number was at one time symbolic of "step-child" status; but there is just too much saturation of ratingsin the marketplace for that meaning to resonate these days. In short, if a wine got an 89 somewhere, it probably got a 90 or 91 somewhere else...and an 87 or 88. By focusing on this number, you are really just reinforcing the whole 100-point scale rather than demonstrating its overall dysfunctionality.

If you want to make the point that a lot of good wines are missing the 90-point bus, why not...

1) Stress that IT'S ALL GOOD. Or at least almost all good. If you look at the verbiage in the info box in every Wine Spectator buying guide, you will see that a wine rated 80-84 is "Good: a solid, well-made wine." And a glance at any WS issue will show that a good three-quarters of the wines they review are essentially "good" or better, period. That message is getting lost in the glossy mags, and needs to be trumpeted.

2) Stop supporting the 90-POINT ENABLERS. Joe, your personal zest for this project is noble and palpable, but do you realize that your blog features ads from two companies that basically cook their own numbers? It is easy to criticize retailers who post ratings in their brick and mortar stores, but the mindset behind websites creating their own "ratings" -- which are ALWAYS 89 or higher is even more insidious.

3) Keep an eye on the prize (THE TABLE). At OWC perhaps more than any other place in cyberspace, there is a collection of people who understand that any numerical rating falls short of reality. Ratings falsely imply not only that the subjective (taste) can be quantified, but also they imply immutability. Wine changes based on context, especially with regard to FOOD.... The truth is not flashy and not as simple, but it's still the truth. Wine is a greased pig; drop the numbers and focus on the bacon end of that pig and we'll all be in a better place. Indeed, apply some nice vittles to any well-made wine and you instantly add ten points to its supposed score!
Comment by Thad W. on August 29, 2008 at 10:01am
Thanks for the invitation to become part of this project. I look forward to sharing my experiences with 89 pointers, especially those from Oregon and Washington.
Comment by David Honig on August 1, 2008 at 10:29pm
Doug, you should get an invitation to join via Google/Blogger. If you don't, please let me know. I look forward to seeing you post your new 89-pointer there. David
Comment by Doug Shaver on August 1, 2008 at 5:24pm
Dhonig, I would put a few Premier Cru Burgundies somewhere between the "just me" and the "Dad's death bed." Those are some mighty tasty wines!

Anyway, I have a post on an 89-pointer to send up if you want.
Comment by Jill on July 31, 2008 at 9:53pm
I clearly don't check OWC enough. Such a great idea! I'd love to be a part of this. I've written a few times about sub-80 point wines, but haven't really focused on the strange breed that is the 89 point wine.

How do I post?
Comment by Joe Roberts on July 30, 2008 at 6:09pm
Lookin' forward to posting... just need to locate a suitable 89er (not always easy in PA!). I will give the project a plug on the blog tomorrow tho, just so you feel the love!
Comment by David Honig on July 28, 2008 at 12:23pm
Richard, I am laughing out loud. One of the great delights of wine writing is just how very clever so many wine writers prove to be.

I don't actually use a scoring system, hoping the description of wine and how it evolves in the glass tells more than numbers. On the off chance that I might ever need my own scoring system, though, I put one together (warning, some thought it a bit macabre at the end):

Box neighbors." The well-intentioned but loud neighbors. You know the ones. Their kids are a bit too loud and stay out a bit too late. Their dog barks too early and too much. Whenever there's a neighborhood barbecue they bring a box of wine and expect you to tell them how wonderful it is.

"Gift friends." You know them, too. They know you collect wine, so on their way to your house they stop at the grocery and buy the second- or third-cheapest bottle on the shelf. They are very nice people and are really trying hard. I save these bottles with the name of the person that gave it to me, so I don't share with or regift back the same bottle.

"Weekday family." This is just for the every day something-to-quaff-with-dinner-when-dinner-is-something-whipped-up-to-feed-the-kids wine.

"The acolyte." You know him, too. Heck you WERE him once, and so was I. This is the guy who is just starting to get into wine. These bottles are not wonderful, but they are very good standard examples of what a wine should be. You can say "do you smell the green peppers? That's from South America."

"The afficianado." We're getting to the good stuff now. This is the wine you taste and want another wine-drinking friend to taste too. You want to say "hey, try this," and know somebody else will appreciate it just as much as you do.

"Just me." We're all a little selfish. Once in a while you find something that you just can't share with anybody. You buy it and save it for the time the wife and kids are visiting her sister. Then you make yourself a steak, or some lamb, or something else wonderful, and spend the evening drinking it.

"Dad's death bed." I have not met this wine yet. If anybody has a bottle that qualifies send me an email and I will give you my shipping address. This is the bottle you open at your father's death bed, giving him a glass, or a sip, or just a drop on his lips, so he can enjoy a finish that truly lasts eternity. Then you sit with his body and drink the rest, sharing it with his departing soul.

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