From the Journal of Wine Economics, here is an interesting article on wine competition judge reliability from last fall. A special thanks to my good friend Joran for passing this study along. Comments and thoughts?
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First, I’m not a big fan of how they wrote up and displayed their data here, but that’s just me being a stats geek. But it does (I think) hurt the readability of what they’ve done here.
I thought this was interesting because it was a bit of a different twist on the whole “experts really can’t tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine” argument. I like that instead they focused on the issue of consistency. Namely, how likely is a wine judge to rate the same wine similarly over several tastings? And the answer appears to be, not very likely (with the notable exception of wines that they really didn’t like!).
Personally, I don’t find that very surprising or even really a bad thing. The way that food/drink taste to us humans can be highly context dependent. I seem to recall a story you told me once about Snapple Raspberry Iced Tea, Levi!
Close. Diet Peach flavor. It still remains part of my embarrassing gustatory trifecta (along with cheap-ass Chinese food and canned sardines). They’re like Kryptonite.
Joran further writes –
Here’s the blog post where I found that paper:
In the comments there, someone links to a post by the freakonomics guys, who conducted an experiment of their own, and also links to another paper that is (i think) a bit less harsh on the sommelier crowd:
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