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5 ⭐ ratings and reviews on the Society site


I should point out that we have something similar to my own rating scale on the main site these days:

5 - Outstanding An outstanding wine that, as well as giving you a great deal of drinking pleasure, was worth the money spent and should definitely be recommended to others.
4 - Very Good A delicious, memorable, well-made wine that you’re likely to recommend to others.
3 - Good A good wine that left you feeling quite pleased with the value, and which you’d be happy to vouch for.
2 - Fair Perhaps an unmemorable everyday wine or a disappointing fine wine – a wine that came across as a little awkward, or which was ok for some but one that you might think twice about buying again.
1 - Poor A poor experience, maybe with something off-putting or faulty about it and one not worth buying again, or mentioning only to suggest others avoid it.

What do you think of this? Have you given any ratings?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in the last few weeks these ratings have been made easier to find since it used to require 10 member reviews before the average would display, but we’ve dropped that own to only 3 reviews, so a LOT more wines are now showing the average rating when you browse the product page (before you see the reviews).

It makes it particularly useful when you find something you love, you can give it a star rating so others can find it too.

Personal Rating Scales

I’ve only given 4 stars so far- but I have no doubt at some point a true 5 star wine will hit my nose and palate, and I’ll be only happy to shout about it on TWS website. It’s so good to be able to read others’ ratings on the site. And to then ‘compare notes’ as it were…


An outstanding wine that, as well as giving you a great deal of drinking pleasure, was worth the money spent and should definitely be recommended to others.

Is there a “not” missing here? As in “should definitely not be recommended to others”. :stuck_out_tongue:


I’ve discovered how supportive and collaborative members can be in this community. Far from hiding the best wines to keep for oneself people love sharing them … I think that’s wonderful :slight_smile:


I shy away from stars on TWS website, preferring descriptions which might help others work out of the wine is for them or not with a bit more detail than a number. The averaging is what most bothers me tbh.


As a matter of interest (maybe), here’s a list of the highest rated wines under £10 on the site at the moment (a few I need to add to my wish list). What do you think? Are the ratings working in these cases?

Baccolo Appassimento Rosso Veneto 2016
Cotes du Rhone Rive Droite Rive Gauche 2016
The Society’s Barbera d’Asti Superiore 2015
Ch Lary Bordeaux 2015
Cabardes Chateau de Pennautier 2015
Romate Maribel A Selection of Amontillado Medium Dry
The Society’s Fino
Bodegas Murua Aclys Crianza Rioja 2014


Thanks @robert_mcintosh - this list supplied the final few bottles to another mixed case of community recommendations for me to try out. Just in time for Easter as well!

Participating here is taking a toll on my bank account and liver enzymes…

Cheers! :wine_glass::grinning:


This wine keeps popping up on the community… I think I would like it, so will order eventually.

Have not tried any on that list. The Barbera also looks interesting. Coincidentally I just tasted a Barbera from 2000 (not TWS), which was a great surprise as it was drinking beautifully.


I love this one. Don’t think I’ve tried the others, maybe the Fino at some point but I wasn’t wowed.


There is a relatively small sample size of ratings in most cases. If there are only three, and they are all good, that will clearly boost the average. All it needs is one bad one, or even one indifferent one to drag it down. Remember too that some people might give 3 stars and still call that ‘good’, but save 4 and 5 stars for truly exceptional.

The only one I’ve tried in that list is the Society Fino sherry, and I thought it was ok, but not my style, and there are other ones I prefer (the Cayetano Palo Cortado being one - albeit a bit more than £10).

I suspect that there are some other wines with a larger number of reviews which are just as good, or better, but where a small number of reviews drag down the average, and not always for any good reason. Beware of averages! The average age of my cricket club 2nd XI is about 30…this includes 4 over 50s and 4 15 year olds!

I’m sure that these are all very good wines, however I think there may well be better ones which have a lot of ratings with maybe a slightly lower average. I’m thinking of the Society Sicilian Red as an example with an average of 4.2 and nearly 50 ratings. Just one 2 star rating would take most of the ones above off the ‘top’.

The perils of stars and points…


Very valid points

In a perfect world we would all rate all wines on the same basis and a consensus view would be reached.

In practice not enough people are rating a broad enough selection of wines, and the ratings are somewhat subjective.

At first the site tried to remove the potential for the ‘rogue review’ by requiring 10 reviews, but it takes a LONG time to get 10 reviews if not enough people know about it, and you have thousands of wines to select from. Also, the ratings ‘age’ when the vintage changes, so we regularly lose the collective wisdom of the crowd.

We needed to make the ratings more visible to get more members to use them, so this was reduced to just 3 ratings, but it does make them more ‘volatile’.

I would love to have regular purchasing members, like those in the community, rating more regularly and also discussing what we feel is a valid and fair system so we can tweak this and make it more useful. That’s why it was interesting to see how everyone rates wines for themselves, and whether this is catered for in the 5 :star: system.

Two of the wines with the most current reviews are:


Thanks for response Robert and I understand your points.

What it might do is provide ‘early warning system’ for some good new or unusual wines. I always read the reviews rather than look at the stars, and ignore reviews that only put stars on. I sometimes give a wine 4 stars but then note ‘5 stars for value for money’ or similar - could go the other way and be ‘3 stars for vfm’ too!

Often if one reads the review note, there are caveats about the star rating given. Sometimes I don’t give a star rating at all.


I was unhappy when the review system was changed - I didn’t like the stars, and I didn’t like the most helpful review idea. I still don’t in fact and I don’t think I’ve added any reviews since then. I did voice my opinion about the changes at the time.

I still believe that if someone is interested enough to read reviews of a wine, he is probably interested enough to read them all, without having to be given the “most helpful”. Helpful to somebody may not be any help to somebody else. For example “excellent with roast beef” is not very helpful if you are a vegetarian.

I do however like reading what people have to say about a wine and find this much more interesting and helpful than a slightly unilluminating star rating.


I like the 5 star rating system and try to stick to scoring as indicated in the above guidance as a means of standardisation. I’ve yet to give a 5, but a couple of “strong 4s”.

However, reading many reviews it looks like not many do? It might steer people in the “right” direction if the scoring guidance appeared beside the box for typing your review. At present I suspect a significant proportion of reviewers are not even aware of it.

Similarly the ability to “see my other reviews” (a la Amazon) would allow us to get a feel for the reviewer. Are they a habitual 5-star reviewer or just really good at buying only “An outstanding wine…” :male_detective:

My personal scale is more akin to Snog…Marry…Avoid


I was the same as you Andy, but I was convinced by one thing:

If you KNOW what you want to buy, then you can choose to read all the comments. However, if you are browsing for inspiration, there is a lot of value and wisdom wrapped up in thousands of text blocks that are not something you can extract information from other than reading in detail.

I started thinking of average star ratings as ‘sentiment analysis’ that gives you a quick overview of the general feeling one way or another. I would still read ALL reviews of a wine that interested me, but it would be great to know which ones stand out a bit from the crowd enough to deserve me to spend my time reading the reviews.

I do the same on Amazon. If I think I know what I want, I go direct to it and check out written reviews, but if I am looking for a solution, then I prioritise products with high average ratings, but then review high AND low reviews to see if there are patterns that are specifically relevant to me - just like your vegetarian example.

Star ratings are therefore only a browsing tool, not necessarily a judgement and I would always encourage members to add a review alongside their rating if it was to be meaningful to others (no need for this in the ‘personal ratings’). However, for these to be more widely useful we need more reviews.

I’ve diverted this discussion from the original theme which was YOUR rating scales so maybe I should split this into a new topic, but the idea of how to share advice (giving as well as receiving) is a fascinating one to me.


Regarding ating scales on the site… the problem I see with most scales on websites is that, by and large, people tend to write reviews when they have had an exceptional experience, whether that’s very good or very bad (or even ‘very mediocre’). This is why I think highlighting helpful reviews is quite nice, and certainly on Amazon I’ve found the ‘most helpful positive and negative reviews’ beneficial if I’m trying to decide which product to get. And if you’re worried about the dross… just mark it as unelpful.


That’s very French… :wink:


But what are the over £10 top ratings.?

Do tell!


I don’t leave reviews on TWS because I don’t like that you publish full names.

That being said, I think that stars/scores can do more harm than good and don’t really tell you much when it comes to something as subjective as wine, especially when there’s no way to view a reviewer’s history for a point of reference/comparison to your personal tastes. They can also lead to groupthink and make you second-guess or moderate your own opinions.

I fear that if it only takes 3 scores for an average rating to appear, you risk damning perfectly excellent wines to collecting dust in your warehouse as people will go for a ‘safer’ choice that by chance ended up with a better score.


I think with reviews the more the better. So not posting is adding to the issue of averaging.

Not sure on the stars? I use them or 1/20 scores myself but I’d rather have a note. Just a brief note of quality.