Friday, April 21, 2017

Do Wine Ratings Influence the Wine Investment Industry?

Many skilled wine investors already know how to get high Parker ratings. However, what they don’t know is how to keep their ratings. 

After nearly 40 years, wine aficionados are still intrigued by the ratings. 

Some don’t see them as an arbiter of quality; regardless, they’re still heavily monitored and supervised. The question is – do wine ratings truly influence the wine investment industry?

Robert Parker was credited to commercialize wine ratings in the late 70s. He managed to change completely the fine wine industry. 

Bordeaux wine was made visible at a global scale thanks to the Parker rating system; before that, the whole investment industry was completely different. The first wine ratings were introduced in 1959; it only had a 20-point scale. 

However, it was Robert Parker’s 100-point scale that changed everything in 1975. When the 1982 vintage was introduced (which was rated superb on the Parker scale) Bordeaux wines became extremely sought-after. 

There are complaints, though. Some want to know why Parker is the best wine rating, and how it can make the difference between the taste of a Bordeaux from 93 and a Bordeaux from 94, for example. 

Technical details emphasize that the rating system has very few “*” symbols; this means that sometime in the future, a specific type of wine could have a higher score, begging the question “what does the 100* mean”? 

If a wine enters the market, and it is marked 100, what happens when a better type comes and steals the show? The scale stops at 100, so does this mean that the previously rated type of wine is no longer good enough? 

Improved wine production increases wine ratings

Many aspects concerning wine production have changed, thus compelling wine ratings to increase. 

Technology, training, and even general weather conditions have led to significant improvements for producers of Bordeaux wine. In time, are ratings stable? 

Experts agree that wines are increasing in quality. Grade inflation is the real deal, and that’s mostly because the quality of the wine has greatly improved.

Considering the criticism surrounding wine ratings, should future investors in fine wine trust that the Parker rating system is for real? 

It looks like wine ratings are thriving – the Wine Advocate, for example, completes with the Wine Spectator. Some consumers agree that it’s natural to trust the preferences of an expert. 

Avid consumers who know some things or two about wine have accidentally self-educated themselves, aligning their tastes with the preferences of the experts. 

Whether we like it or not, wine rating systems are the metric we have to set huge variety of wine apart, and classify them to assess their potential to yield sensible returns. 

The link between wine and ratings

Does a type of wine’s quality drive ratings, or do ratings influence a wine’s quality? 

Just like in any business that depends on a rating system, wine ratings craft a feedback loop that is directly linked to the product about to be rated. 

The Wine Advocate argues that the Robert Parker system gave Bordeaux a unique opportunity – to get back on its feet.

Wine experts agree that high ratings depend on a high demand – the higher the demand the better the chances for an increased return on investment. Wine is a product that depends on nature. 

Climate changes influence its quality. The years 1972 and 1974 were bad; 1975 was ok, and 1982 was magnificent. Even though there’s a crystal-clear link between wine prices and wine ratings, it’s not enough to let the data speak.

When ratings correlate with general price, a crystal-clear investment tactic is getting ratings as soon as possible. 

Enprimeur ratings clearly fill a specific need. Some predictions are made before the wine is released on the market; however nobody guarantees that the wine stored in a barrel will increase in value when the wine is bottled.

In 2015, Robert Parker declared that it will stop rating Bordeaux wines. Therefore, consensus will automatically replace authority, opening doors to brand new approaches and strategies. 

If you’re sure that investing in Margaux wine is a good idea, then feel free to take a chance; but do it carefully and keep a close eye on the ratings, too, not just on the wine type.

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