Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

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Charles Weiss
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Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#1 Post by Charles Weiss » July 5th, 2019, 8:20 am

I want to give a shout out to what seems to me to be a best practice. A targeted communication to people who ordered the wine to let them know they need to and are welcome to rethink their decision.

I received an email from a local store about a wine, with a glowing review by Josh Raynolds in Vinous. That piqued my interest enough to go to CellarTracker to learn more about the wine, I noted there was no Vinous review, I checked Vinous to find that it was the Reserve that was reviewed. I replied to the store, noting the discrepancy and got a reply from the wine manager thanking me, stating it was copied from the winery website, and apologizing. But that was just to me.

Subsequently an email from the wine manager:
"Good morning all,
You have all placed an order for the [wine name], and I am writing to tell you that the scores we recieved were incorrect. I am writing to give you the correct information, and to find out if you would like to retain your order or not.
No offense will be taken should you decide to cancel your order in its entirety. Please reach out to me directly if you have any questions.
Thank you,
[name of wine manager]
[3 different reviews of the wine none of which, obviously, were byJosh Raynolds]"

He sent an email to me:
"Thank you. You were the first to bring that to our attention, and I wanted you to know that we were not blindly leading people on. I personally detest that and do not want to be accused of it myself. "

I think many of us have despaired at the frequency of misleading use of wine reviews in ads --- not the right vintage, not the right wine --- and too often a 'so what' view by retailers.



For those in the Boston area, this was Marty's.

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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#2 Post by dsimmons » July 5th, 2019, 11:38 am

Misleading information is common. Your merchants actions uncommon and commendable.
D o n

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Brady Daniels
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#3 Post by Brady Daniels » July 5th, 2019, 11:53 am

I will try to visit Marty’s on my next trip to Boston.

Making mistakes is easy, owning them and fixing them less so.

That is outstanding example of making up for the mistake.
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#4 Post by Jayson Cohen » July 5th, 2019, 12:45 pm

I always used to schlep out to Marty’s in Newton when on business in Boston. Well worth it, and this customer service is a great testament.

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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#5 Post by GregT » July 5th, 2019, 1:57 pm

It's cool that they made the correction and went above and beyond what most sellers would do. That's a retailer worth doing business with.

But it's also a little sad that it mattered. Just imagine someone drinking the wine with some friends and really enjoying it, bursting with pride for having scored such a highly rated wine.

And then the next day he gets that e-mail and belatedly realizes that the wine just mediocre and he didn't particularly care for it after all.
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Charles Weiss
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#6 Post by Charles Weiss » July 5th, 2019, 2:07 pm

GregT wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 1:57 pm
It's cool that they made the correction and went above and beyond what most sellers would do. That's a retailer worth doing business with.

But it's also a little sad that it mattered. Just imagine someone drinking the wine with some friends and really enjoying it, bursting with pride for having scored such a highly rated wine.

And then the next day he gets that e-mail and belatedly realizes that the wine just mediocre and he didn't particularly care for it after all.
Pretty funny, and not farfetched. However, for many of us there are trusted reviewers whose words might lean us towards acquisition of wines we haven't tasted.

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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#7 Post by Chris Seiber » July 5th, 2019, 2:12 pm

What do y'all think of deliberate selectivity in scores for vintages to suggest a higher score for a wine? When you go to Costco, you'll see a wine from an off vintage that got a low score, for example a 2013 Bordeaux that was 84 points, and they'll put:

2012 Wine Enthusiast 91 points
2014 Wine Spectator 92 points
2015 Wine Advocate 95 points

So the information is literally correct, but the impression is deliberately misleading. Shady? Customer's problem if he doesn't read closely?

I don't like it. It doesn't outrage me or make me boycott, but I don't like it. I wouldn't feel right doing that if it were my business.

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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#8 Post by Hank Victor » July 5th, 2019, 3:05 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 2:12 pm
What do y'all think of deliberate selectivity in scores for vintages to suggest a higher score for a wine? When you go to Costco, you'll see a wine from an off vintage that got a low score, for example a 2013 Bordeaux that was 84 points, and they'll put:

2012 Wine Enthusiast 91 points
2014 Wine Spectator 92 points
2015 Wine Advocate 95 points

So the information is literally correct, but the impression is deliberately misleading. Shady? Customer's problem if he doesn't read closely?

I don't like it. It doesn't outrage me or make me boycott, but I don't like it. I wouldn't feel right doing that if it were my business.
I don't mind if the vintage available has not been reviewed/published yet.
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#9 Post by Chris Seiber » July 5th, 2019, 3:15 pm

Hank Victor wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 3:05 pm
Chris Seiber wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 2:12 pm
What do y'all think of deliberate selectivity in scores for vintages to suggest a higher score for a wine? When you go to Costco, you'll see a wine from an off vintage that got a low score, for example a 2013 Bordeaux that was 84 points, and they'll put:

2012 Wine Enthusiast 91 points
2014 Wine Spectator 92 points
2015 Wine Advocate 95 points

So the information is literally correct, but the impression is deliberately misleading. Shady? Customer's problem if he doesn't read closely?

I don't like it. It doesn't outrage me or make me boycott, but I don't like it. I wouldn't feel right doing that if it were my business.
I don't mind if the vintage available has not been reviewed/published yet.
Yes, I agree. if it's the 2012 and the most recently reviewed ones are 2011 and 2010, and they're identified correctly, I don't really object to that. But do you agree with me about my example (which I've seen many times at Costco)?

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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#10 Post by Hank Victor » July 5th, 2019, 3:19 pm

I do agree. I think its misleading but it can also highlight the scoring track record that wine has. As long as the 84 is included the other ratings displayed can be justified.

Wine.com is the perfect example of this as they display every vintage + rating (if published) when your viewing a particular wine.
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#11 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 19th, 2019, 10:56 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
July 5th, 2019, 2:12 pm
What do y'all think of deliberate selectivity in scores for vintages to suggest a higher score for a wine? When you go to Costco, you'll see a wine from an off vintage that got a low score, for example a 2013 Bordeaux that was 84 points, and they'll put:

2012 Wine Enthusiast 91 points
2014 Wine Spectator 92 points
2015 Wine Advocate 95 points

So the information is literally correct, but the impression is deliberately misleading. Shady? Customer's problem if he doesn't read closely?

I don't like it. It doesn't outrage me or make me boycott, but I don't like it. I wouldn't feel right doing that if it were my business.
Costco in Waltham MA was recently selling a "99 point WS Wine of the Year" port for about $18. Of course it was actually the LVP bottling, not the vintage. I doubt it was intentional, they just don't know anything about wine. But I'm sure they are doing a bang-up business selling it thanks to that "rating"!
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#12 Post by Nowell Karten » July 20th, 2019, 5:54 pm

K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:
July 19th, 2019, 10:56 am
Costco in Waltham MA was recently selling a "99 point WS Wine of the Year" port for about $18. Of course it was actually the LVP bottling, not the vintage. I doubt it was intentional, they just don't know anything about wine. But I'm sure they are doing a bang-up business selling it thanks to that "rating"!
Isn't Costco one of the country's largest wine sellers? Maybe they know exactly what they're doing.
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#13 Post by K_F_o_l_e_y » July 20th, 2019, 6:29 pm

Nowell Karten wrote:
July 20th, 2019, 5:54 pm
K_F_o_l_e_y wrote:
July 19th, 2019, 10:56 am
Costco in Waltham MA was recently selling a "99 point WS Wine of the Year" port for about $18. Of course it was actually the LVP bottling, not the vintage. I doubt it was intentional, they just don't know anything about wine. But I'm sure they are doing a bang-up business selling it thanks to that "rating"!
Isn't Costco one of the country's largest wine sellers? Maybe they know exactly what they're doing.
The wine guy at Costco asked me recently, "Which of these would be a good investment?", while pointing to their rack of no-name Bordeaux. [wow.gif]
Cheers,
/<evin


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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#14 Post by JBucholz » July 21st, 2019, 12:14 pm

In a slightly different twist to this, I am annoyed at the retailers who push out advertisements for wines with misleading pricing. For example, they’ll say, “Regular price $85, blowout pricing $45.99!!!!” Then I’ll go to CellarTracker and discover that the average price paid for the wine is somewhere around $43. Grrrrrr!
Last edited by JBucholz on July 22nd, 2019, 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#15 Post by C. Keller » July 21st, 2019, 1:44 pm

How about when a wine is rated 94-97 and they advertise it as a 97?

Recently ran into this at Total Wine. Pretty different when we're on a scoring system that rarely goes below 92. And if its below 92 its $%^t anyways.
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#16 Post by Ben M a n d l e r » July 21st, 2019, 9:39 pm

Marty's is such a gem
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#17 Post by T. Williams » July 22nd, 2019, 3:53 am

Kudos to the store for that email. That is a stand up move and is what creates customers for life.


I can’t remember which major retailer, so I won’t name them, but someone the other day has an appalling footnote at the bottom of their website. It stated that they had the right to exchange vintages based on availability. Could you imagine buying what you thought was the vintage of the century and the box shows up with something different.
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#18 Post by Mark Christenson » July 22nd, 2019, 1:27 pm

I have never heard of Marty's, but I have now and will attempt to order things that I cannot source locally--what a great example of integrity.
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Re: Misleading quoting of reviews: Doing the right thing

#19 Post by Chris Seiber » July 22nd, 2019, 1:54 pm

JBucholz wrote:
July 21st, 2019, 12:14 pm
In a slightly different twist to this, I am annoyed at the retailers who push out advertisements for wines with misleading pricing. For example, they’ll say, “Regular price $85, blowout pricing $45.99!!!!” Then I’ll go to CellarTracker and discover that the average price paid for the wine is somewhere around $43. Grrrrrr!

Wine Library, I’m looking right at you.
Some states actually have laws against this, though I doubt they're enforced much, especially in the world of high-end wine stores.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/consum ... ys-n366676

I agree with you, it's poor ethics for a retailer to do any of the following:
  • 1. Show something as being on sale when the wine has never, or never in the last year+, been offered for sale at the "regular" price at that store.
    2. Raise the regular price shortly before then putting the wine on sale so the discount appears larger than it really is.
    3. Give a fake "regular price" next to the "sale" price.

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