At a certain level, the thinking behind the algorithm employed is quite simple: assume you have two wines with the same quality rating – say three stars – within a specific category – such as shiraz, for example – one costing R40 and the other costing R80. In this scenario, which is the better value purchase? Clearly the answer is the R40 wine because you’re getting more bang for your buck.
This algorithm has been specially developed by Prof. David Priilaid of the University of Cape Town. The non-linear nature of the algorithm also allows for wines at the top end of the price scale to compete fairly with wines at the bottom of the price scale. This allows for dealing with harder questions of cross-category comparisons. Consider this question, for example: if you have a R50 two-star cabernet and an R85 4.5-star chardonnay – which offers more value for money? This same algorithm could be applied here, this time allowing for comparisons of wines with different varietals, prices and quality ratings.
The judges use a standard 20-point scoring system: 5 stars awarded for a score of 18 or more, 4-and-a-half stars for 17, 4 stars for a score of 16, 3-and-a-half stars for 15.5 points, 3 stars for 15 out of 20 and 2-and-a-half for 14.5 points. Wines rated lower than 2-and-a-half stars are not eligible for inclusion in the Best Value Wine Guide, with the judges endeavouring to help consumers steer clear of plain ordinary wines in addition to those that are faulty or possibly even unpleasant.
Superlative wine, top class, a masterpiece
Excellent, wine of distinction (4-and-a-half stars is on the cusp of 5 stars)
Good (3 stars) to very good (3-and-a-half stars). Fine character and style
Half a star, as in 2-and-a-half stars, 3-and-a-half stars, 4-and-a-half stars