Vinous sabermetrics?

The day after the election, there’s always much to discuss. With Obama’s victory yesterday, who will be the new Treasury Secretary and whether Daniel Shanks will survive in his post as usher in charge of wine at the White House will no doubt be at the top of the agenda.

One of the big winners yesterday was Nate Silver and the empirical analysis he brought to forecasting the election. He ran daily aggregates of polls with pinpoint precision–and accuracy. On November 5, while many pundits were calling the race a “tossup,” Silver said that Obama was 91% likely to win the electoral college with more than 300 votes, which proved accurate on both counts. Further, he called every state correctly, batting 50 out of 50.

Will Silver’s sabermetrics extend to the wine world? Will sommeliers start saying, “Based on our algorithms, there’s a 91% chance you will like this wine.” Could sommeliers with a high OBP (Open Bottle Percentage), DRS (Diner Rating Satisfaction) or PECOTA (Probability Enology Contains Oak TCA Algorithm) start getting traded from one restaurant to another?

In all seriousness, there’s a lot of subjectivity in wine that masquerades as objectivity under the false precision of point scores and distant drinkability windows. Just because you see a number in wine, doesn’t mean that it’s empirical.

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4 Responses to “Vinous sabermetrics?”

  1. I’ve heard of retailers & distributors putting together formulas based on WA/WS reviews and determining how many cases they will sell.

    Bill James (founder of sabermetrics in baseball) would be proud…though I’m not sure who else.

  2. Hey Aaron – Aggregating scores may reduce some of the outliers (if any) but it’s still just subjectivity piled on subjectivity — kind of like heaping fan votes for the best player of all time together. While it might reveal something, I doubt Bill James would find much value in it other than entertainment.

  3. “…there’s a lot of subjectivity in wine that masquerades as objectivity under the false precision of point scores and distant drinkability windows.”

    No kidding. 😉

  4. […] Vinous sabermetrics? […]


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