Dangerously high levels of inflation are leaving the drinking public facing an uncertain future, with experts warning that scores and gold medals are both increasing at an alarming rate.
‘We’re seeing double-digit increases of scores in the high-nineties across the board,’ warned drinks economist Jim Flation. ‘There’s no question – credibility is being increasingly squeezed.’
Scores in some parts of the media have been overheating for several years, with analysts blaming the rise on an apparently infinite number of competitions, journalist-driven awards and ratings websites.
‘No journalist, blogger or competition has ever given lower scores or fewer medals from one year to the next because that would make it difficult for submitteres to do well, and then no-one would enter,’ said Flation. ‘It’s creating an unstoppable upward pressure on scoring.
‘Things might be bad now,’ he warned, ‘but I’d expect them to get significantly worse over the next six months once the big competitions all start to publish their results.’
The current rate of score inflation is reckoned to be at its highest rate since the 1980s when major critics and magazines went from rating drinks out of 20 to suddenly scoring out of 100.
Experts have said the world faces a ‘cost of lying crisis’.
‘If there isn’t a major correction downwards pretty soon we could reach a situation where every drink on the planet scores 95 or above,’ warned Flation.
‘In fact, James Suckling is pretty much already there.’
According to social scientist D’Emma Graphic, inflation has a major impact on people’s quality of life.
‘The scores might keep going up, but because the actual quality stays the same, everyone feels worse off,’ she said.
Economists say that the nightmare scenario is a situation where scores go up, even though quality is actually going down.
This so-called Stagsleapflation has, she said, ‘been a problem in Napa for years.’
Good old days
‘It doesn’t seem that long ago that 90 points got you enough tasty PR to last for weeks,’ said one wine producer.
‘The price of gas is completely out of control.’
‘This whole inflation problem all comes back to energy,’ said one expert. ‘Specifically, the complete lack of it in the drinks world.’
Click here to read about how a bottle of Lafite became the first wine to smash the 100-point ceiling