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How Expert are “Expert” Wine Judges?*

  • Robert T. Hodgson (a1)

Recent papers by Hodgson (2008) and Gawel and Godden (2008) have questioned the consistency of expert wine judges in a wine competition setting. In the latter paper, a methodology introduced in psychometric research to measure judge reliability corrected for chance was used to quantify judge consistency (Cohen, 1968). This paper extends that notion, suggesting a value of 0.7 for Cohen's weighted kappa might be used to define an expert wine judge. With that criterion, less than 30% of judges who participated in either of the two studies would be considered “expert.” (JEL Classification: C1, L15)

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Ashenfelter, O. and Quandt, R. (1999). Analyzing a wine tasting statistically. Chance, 12, 1620.
Cohen, J. (1960). A coefficient of agreement for nominal scales. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 20(1), 3746.
Cohen, J. (1968). Weighted kappa: nominal scale agreement with provision for scaled disagreement of partial credit. Psychological Bulletin, 70(4), 213220.
Cicchetti, D.V. (2004). Who won the 1976 blind tasting of French Bordeaux and U.S. Cabernets? Parametrics to the rescue. Journal of Wine Research, 15(3), 211220.
Gawel, R. and Godden, P.W. (2008). Evaluation of the consistency of wine quality assessments from expert wine tasters. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research, 14, 18.
Hodgson, R.T. (2008). Evaluation of wine judges ata major U.S. wine competition. Journal of Wine Economics, 3(2), 105113.
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Journal of Wine Economics
  • ISSN: 1931-4361
  • EISSN: 1931-437X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-wine-economics
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