You’ve almost certainly seen them. You may have even added a few yourself. But have you ever wondered what they actually mean? ‘They,’ of course, are Vivino ratings. You might rely on them when choosing a wine, or you might think (as I’ve heard ‘experts’ say dismissively) ‘They’re just a bunch of people’s opinions.’ So, which is it? Is there a point to Vivino ratings?
The short answer is: Yes.
The longer answer is: Yes, and here are some bits you might find interesting.
Before we get the answers, for those who want a bit of a review:
Vivino works on a 5 star system, although you can rate wines by half-star increments. Anyone can rate a wine, and leave a review. They say they have about 13.5 million wines listed, with over 72 million reviews, and over 200 million ratings. It’s also a social network – you can follow people to see what they’re drinking, and their reviews.
But let’s move on to the ratings. So, yes, Vivino is useful. Most of us here at Cambridge Wine Merchants use it. We wouldn’t have listed Vivino ratings on our products if we didn’t think they were useful. There’s sometimes wisdom in the crowd. There are lots more wines on Vivino than have been reviewed by famous – and not-so-famous – wine critics, and how often has Robert Parker rated your local supermarket, own-label plonk?
The reviews can sometimes be all over the place for some wines, but by and large they are mostly in agreement with each other. And, remarkably, the wisdom isn’t all that different to that of the wine experts. That’s a key takeaway, worth emphasising: Vivino ratings correlate with expert reviews. So, a 4.0 wine on Vivino is equivalent to that wine getting a 90 from Robert Parker, or most other wine critics. A 4.5 is a 93.
I think understanding the numbers makes Vivino more useful. So, let’s look at them more closely. (The data from this section comes from Vivino itself. The average wine on Vivino has a rating of 3.6. That’s an 88 from Robert Parker – a good wine, but nothing outstanding. Vivino also claims that a 4.0 wine is better than 85% of the wines on their database, and a 4.5 is in the 99th percentile, better than all but one in a hundred of the wines they list.
I’ll leave you with some random bits, which may be useful, or may simply be something to talk about with your next glass of wine:
- Most importantly, like the experts, you won’t always agree with Vivino. We all find wines that we personally think ‘What? No, people don’t know what they are talking about!’ That doesn’t mean it’s not useful. Just that there is no accounting for taste.
- Red wines have a slightly higher median rating than whites and sparkling wines.
- The highest average ratings are for wines from to the US (3.84), Germany (3.79), and France (3.78)
- In the UK, we are more likely to rate European wines than New World ones. Link as above.
So, there you have it. Yes, Vivino is a good resource. We use it, and recommend it.