We award anywhere from 1-grape to 5-grapes, similar to a ‘star’ rating system, with 5-grapes being the best. Our ratings are based on the overall wine tasting experience and are subjective in nature. Each Winer that visits a vineyard/winery rates the overall experience based on what they individually prefer in their wine tasting experience. To help have somewhat of an understanding for each Winers preference, see the following:
“Hops ‘r Better” Winer
It’s all about the ambiance and “feeling” that comes over you when visiting a winery, vineyard or tasting room. Tasting hosts are key to my rating system as their knowledge and personality determines whether I am going to enjoy myself, and rate the visit a 3 or 4 rating. The vineyard, tours, and wine “paraphernalia” that helps me become immersed into the tasting experience pushes that visit to a higher score. If I see poor or no customer service to ourselves or, especially, other patrons, I rate a 1. The actual wines have 0.001% influence; if the winery also brews beer, then I start at 5 grapes and go up from there.
“This Is The Life” Winer
I find the most enjoyable wine tasting experiences to be those that have: beautiful grounds and scenery; friendly, engaging and knowledgeable staff; welcoming and hospitable environment; quality crafted wine; an educational component either through tours, classes or staff interactions; and of course, shopping for wine paraphernalia never hurts :-).
In general, if I feel that the average wine taster is going to have a good time and enjoy their experience, I will give the winery a “5-grape” rating. I realize that our visit as “The Traveling Winers” isn’t typical. So, during my visit, I watch the other guests to see how they seem to be enjoying themselves, and if it is obvious that this is a great time to be had, then I rate the winery accordingly.
I rate the vineyard/winery based on how they speak to me/us when we are at the facility, how the place looks, the courtesy shown to other guests and the overall interaction of the staff. The wine has a great deal to do with the rating I give, but as you know, I have NOT been very politik when it comes to my ratings and comments on occasion. I believe that unless I get seriously irritated, I’ll have that toned down quite a bit. (I can be swayed by free stuff.)
An ‘Official Vineyard Trail Rating’ is awarded based on the following rules:
At least two Winers must attend the tasting and award a personal rating in order for an ‘Official Vineyard Trail Rating’ to be given. This rule is in place to help decrease bias due to only one person’s opinion.
The ‘Official Vineyard Trail Rating’ is calculated by taking the average of the individual ratings, and rounded up to the whole number (ie: a 3.5 rating would be rounded to a 4).
As The Vineyard Trail is a member of the wine industry, often our tasting fees are waived. This is a standard practice for all industry representatives. Whether fees are waived or not, we make it our policy to not let this influence our ratings or reviews. In addition, we are fully aware that our experience at a vineyard/winery may be different as compared to the average patron, simply because we are there to write a review and assign a rating. However, we always try to keep in mind what we believe makes a vineyard/winery fun to visit, and rate based on our own criteria.