How Do U.S. High School Kids Cope? – Wine Scoring

When it comes to school grades, there’s a big difference between the US and the UK. I first realised this when I was doing my masters with an American lad called Reed. Lovely guy, very hard worker, and someone who really cared about nailing every piece of work he did.

Fist bit of coursework we handed in, he smashed it, one of the top marks in the class, think it was 75% or something similar. His face when he got it was a picture. Looked like someone had told him his beloved family pet had just died!

Apparently 75% is a pretty crap score in US school scoring. Bit of a shock to me as a pass at my undergrad was 40% and you had to work hard to get it!

I didn’t think much more of it until starting the wine trade. An American guy called Robert Parker is credited with revolutionising wine scoring in the 1970s by rating wines on the 100 point US school mark system. It’s something like 80+ is acceptable, 85+ is good, 90+ is very good, and 95+ is top drawer.

I’ve got to confess, this winds me up a treat. What’s the point in having all the numbers under 75 or 80 if you never use them??

Problem is now that you’d have to be a very brave wine critic indeed to start scoring good wines in the 60s. Not sure you’d be invited back for the next tasting!

Well I’ve just done a judging panel with some lovely Bordeaux wines and did my best to break the habit of a lifetime and do the scoring like everyone else. I was pretty average at it, and my team really helped me through.

But really looks like I’m going to have to get over myself on this one. I’m not going to change anyone else’s minds I don’t think. And I definitely want to get invited back!




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