Day 6: Keeping Score (a guest post from Mark Glover)


When I first really got into wine, I loved the scoring element and would sit down with a bottle and go through the 100 point system. When I was done I would compare my results to the professionals’ and was normally within a point or two. Being a hands on guy, my quest for knowledge took me to making wine for a better understanding of the how’s and whys.

It was the spring and found a local wine juice supplier who brings in frozen juice from Chile. I made a Cab Sauv and a Malbec. They turned out only marginally better than what you would expect from a wine kit and quickly realized that I would need grapes, and better ones, for any hope of making anything half-decent.

We continued our evening activity of scoring and talking about wine, making wine, and learning more and more with every batch.

Brian Schmidt

Brian Schmidt, Winemaker at Vineland Estates

It wasn’t until we attended a wine club event at Vineland Estates called Bring your Boots where winemaker Brian Schmidt introduced me to this thing they call Terroir. He explained to the group about how all the subtle changes in elevation, slope, direction to the sun, and even the soil composition in the vineyard make up Terroir. He went on telling us how this can have a profound impact on the wines, even just a few rows apart. My eyes opened wide, this is what I had been looking for. This is really interesting!


Riesling Grapes

From there I realized the saying “Great wine is made in the vineyard” to be very true. What I was missing was the story the wine is telling about itself and its place in the vineyard. For me this was far more important and interesting than counting aromas and flavours, as I have learned how to manipulate these in the winemaking process.

I no longer bother scoring wine to a point system, and prefer a simple good, very good, or excellent scale with a focus on enjoying wine that highlights it’s place and the story it has to tell. After all, where’s the fun in an 89 point bottle of wine that tastes like it could have come from anywhere in the world? As for winemaking, I am having a lot of fun making wine from some of the best vineyards in Niagara that express place…and from time to time have a great story to tell.


Mark Glover is a Hamilton-area amateur winemaker with a passion for the Terroir of Ontario. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkGlover_427.

This entry was posted in #30DaysofBlogging, Tasting, Terroir, wine-making, Winery and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.