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Wine Guide - Price guides for old wine, perfect for your wine selection. The Wine PocketList is a guide to top-rated wines, using our system to deliver solid, usable ratings. We've rated thousands of wines, with new wines added continually as they are released and judged.

Tally of Ratings Makes a Handy Shopping Guide
Anne Schamberg, The Milwaukee Journal, January 1995
What happens when a botany professor with a passion for wine gets creative on his computer? John Vankat, the botanist-professor, has come up with the Quarterly PocketList of Top Rated Wines.

Each issue lists more than 500 wines, each of which sells for $15 or less a bottle. Alternating issues feature American and imported wines. The first issue, on American wines, came out in November. The first import edition is now available.

The listed wines are those that have been given top ratings by major wine publications within the preceding 12 months. Using his IBM personal computer, Vankat, who teaches at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, compiles and averages ratings from publications such as Wine Spectator, Wine & Spirits, Wine Advocate and the Underground Wine Journal.

He began doing this several years ago simply as a way to help himself choose wines.

I cant keep track of all these ratings in my head, he said. I guess Im the standard college professor. I am forgetful.

And having his list in concise form was simpler than carrying along several wine publications to a store. The PocketList, too, is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse. His system worked well, he said. His friends began to notice his success in choosing good, inexpensive wines. I have not had a bad bottle of wine in a long time, he said.

In true professorial fashion, Vankat considers the distribution of a wines ratings, then uses a curve system to adjust for differences among the ratings.

Its sort of like a college course with 10 different sections, all with different instructors giving different exams. Some professors will give more difficult exams than others, he said.

Widely available wines those likely to be found in a supermarket must receive a composite score of at least 86 on Vankats 100-point scale. All other wines must score 88 or better.

The widely available wines, designed especially for use by residents of smaller communities, are listed in boldface type and highlighted by a typographical bullet. They also are listed separately by winery.

I dont consider myself an expert on wine, but I am a scientist, and Im good at compiling data, said Vankat, a native of Eau Claire.

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"You, too, can play the game and buy a decent bottle of wine without having to choose the pretty label.."
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