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Unreserved Wine Talk

236 EpisodesProduced by Natalie MacLeanWebsite

The Unreserved Wine Talk podcast features candid conversations with the most fascinating people in the wine world. Your host, award-winning journalist Natalie MacLean, dives into how it feels to compete in the nerve-wracking World's Best Sommelier Competition, the shadowy underground of wine forgery… read more


77: The Use (and Abuse) of Wine Scores with Vino Mike and Pete on That Wine Pod

How does the 100 point scale make wine scores easier for you to interpret? How can you drink better wines by finding a wine critic whose style you like? How does grade inflation affect you as a wine lover? Why is taking an online wine course often better than an in-person course?

In this episode of the Unreserved Wine Talk podcast, I'm sharing a conversation I originally had with Pete & Vino Mike on their podcast, That Wine Pod.


  • What’s my take on the best wine?
  • Why should you look at organic and biodynamic wines on a spectrum?
  • How does the 100 point scale make wine scores easier for you to interpret?
  • Do wine scores on the 100 point scale correlate with typical school grading scales?
  • Why did I wait until 5 years into my wine writing career to start scoring wine?
  • How can you benefit from finding a wine critic whose style you like?
  • How do I choose which wines to rate?
  • Why has wine scoring become the norm?
  • How does grade inflation affect you as a wine lover?
  • Do you need to pay attention to wine critics?
  • What impact has social media had on your access to wine writers?
  • How do you learn about wine in my online course?
  • What benefits do you get from an online wine course over an in-person course?
  • Which interesting wine and cheese pairings will you learn about in my upcoming course?
  • What do I wish I could change about the wine world?
  • When should you follow your wine with eggs?


About Pete and Vino Mike

Pete has been in the wine industry for over 15 years as a wine retail store manager, owner, and strategic consultant in the thriving Chicago food and beverage industry. He has three kids, is a long-distance runner and coach, and hosts other podcasts including the FatMan Chronicles, The No Fear Project, and Be Better Today.

Michael Matonte aka Vino Mike has more than twenty years experience as a fine dining manager and wine retail store manager also in Chicago. He passed the Court of Master Sommeliers challenging Advanced Sommelier exam in 2009. He’s the father of one son and plays the trumpet, trombone and euphonium.


To learn more about the resources mentioned in this episode, visit the

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