The Internet, the pinnacle of human ingenuity, the great electronic equalizer, has decided in all of its collective wisdom to retire the professional wine critic and the 100-point wine scale. They had a great run, providing pretentious peeks inside the wine experiences of the most scrutinizing and biased palates on the planet, but last year it finally reached a level of inanity beyond most people's comprehension and desire to care.
Last year, when the 100-point wine rating scale officially fell to obsolescence, it marked the end of an era and the beginning of something new for wine - it marked 2014, "The Year of the Wine Consumer."
What wine consumers did in reaction to the decline of the golden haze of ever-inflating 100-point scale wine ratings is what they have really always done; they kept on keeping on. You see, wine consumers are not morons, they have always looked at wine, not unlike any other consumable product, the same way using their trusty Consumer Wine Rating System:
1. Is it a value (below x price)?
2. Is it quality (drinkable, enjoyable, etc.)?
3. Is it better than x wines in x group?
This is, essentially, a Three-point wine rating scale. This is also the oldest rating system in history (still actively in use) dating back to when Caveman Grog made his first trade; one flint stone for three of his best Bison tails (he passed on Caveman Jak's selection of flint stones because they required four strikes to make fire - Three strikes, you're out, Jak!).
This isn't to say that consumers don't appreciate the imaginative eloquence and flavorful fancy-ness crafted by wine critics, no, consumers just have unlimited access to a more practical world of opinion now - you might have heard of it - it's called the Internet, and it's freaking awesome! Cavepeople agree!