Wine tasting is bullshit. Here’s why.


The human palate is arguably the weakest of the five traditional senses. This begs an important question regarding wine tasting: is it bullshit, or is it complete and utter bullshit?

There are no two ways about it: the bullshit is strong with wine. Wine tasting. Wine rating. Wine reviews. Wine descriptions. They’re all related. And they’re all egregious offenders, from a bullshit standpoint.

Just like many of us suspected.

  • Trader Joe’s $2.99 Merlot. No joke.

    A rare red wine that tastes great and doesn’t hurt me.

    • I can’t stand the stuff, personally.

      I know a couple $4 wines I like just fine, but the “two-buck-Chuck” at Trader Joe’s just isn’t palatable to me.

      • Unto each his own. We’re relieved to have found it.

  • Their main problem is trying to mark quality via a large ranged numbering system, much more than what is needed for that which depends entirely on a SINGLE variable – that of taste. I understand using a 1-5 and maybe even 1-10 system, but 1-100 give me a break! That’s equivalent to artistry (e.g. film, music) to be rated on a 1-100,000 scale and electronics to be rated on a 1-10,000,000 scale. BTW, anyone who distinguishes 84/100 and 87/100 wines, or any other food for that matter, is the definition of full-of-shit pompous prick. Wine, much like everything else that enters our mouths at a particular point in time, tastes either awesome, good, so-so, bad, or terrible. There’s a simple, no-fuss 1-5 scale for ya!

    • I was asked to help judge home-brewed honey wine at an event some years ago. I remember they used a 5-level scale, in four or five categories.

      It was a hell of a weekend.

  • Ruminative

    No more BS than tech pundits. Not saying this to be cynical, but stating it as fact.

  • MishQus

    Beer tasting on the other hand, is serious business!

  • Kriztyan

    I figured this out a long time ago. Spending money on a bottle of wine above $15.00 is simply dumb. I have a friend who worked at a high end restaurant were they sold a $17,000 dollar bottle of wine. When they corked it, the manager almost fainted because if the customer did not like it, they would not have to pay for it.

    • gjgustav

      When you pay 17,000 for a bottle of wine, you “like it” no matter how bad it tastes. You aren’t buying wine that expensive to taste good, you’re buying it to show everyone you can.

    • kibbles

      sorry but this story is bunk. when one orders anything over a couple hundred dollars, the wine guy will come out and present it to you before opening, confirm you want it, etc. then it’s on you. you do not get your money back.

      also, there are some great wines for 30 bucks…so your arbitrary $15 rule is bunk.

      • Kriztyan

        Bunk, whatever. If you don’t know that you can refuse a bottle of wine after it’s been open, you need to get out more. Why do you think you get to taste it before your glass is filled? To check the that it has not spoiled in any of several ways wine can go bad. Read up:

        • kibbles

          returning a bottle if it is defective (corked) is one thing. but that isn’t what you said — you said if the customer didn’t like it. that’s not a matter of corked wine.

          words matter.

  • Did you like it? Yes? Drink it.

    Didn’t like it? Get something else.

  • This whole subject reminds me a bit of an interview I heard a few weeks ago.

  • kibbles

    i understand this blog and Daring Fireball will cover a lot of shared ground — but duplicating WINE posts!?? c’mon, guys.