Wine-Searcher's Critics' Choice Wine Finder provides a shortcut to wine-buying decisions. The tool is based on scores and awards from some of the world's most respected palates – our Critics and Competitions. We cross-reference these with our current prices and a wine's Global Average Price to find our recommendation.
The Critics' Choice algorithm does not take into account the Wine-Searcher Search Rank.
The pie charts on our wine region pages show, at a basic level, the grape varieties and blends used to make that region's wines. The percentages displayed show the retail presence of the wines, not the acreage planted or the number of liters produced.
The pie charts on our grape variety pages show, in essence, the countries in which the grape variety or blend is used. The percentages displayed show the retail presence of the wines, not the variety's acreage or where its wines are sold.
The pie charts on our producer profile pages show what grape varieties a particular producer is using, as well as what regions it is making wine in. The percentages displayed show the retail presence of the wines.
In very simple terms, it means the number of places in which something is sold. Wines produced in prestigious wine regions, or from highly regarded grape varieties, have high retail presence, because they're very popular on domestic, export and secondary markets. Those made from less prestigious varieties or regions are often sold only on local markets, giving them low retail presence. Often, wine merchants make 'empty' offers, of stock that they are not actually holding. This is particularly prevalent with the top-end wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy, which artificially inflates these wines' retail presence.
The significance of retail presence is demonstrated perfectly by comparing two of the world's most important grape varieties, Airen and Pinot Noir. Although Airen covers a greater global acreage than any other wine grape variety, its lowly reputation excludes it from most of the world's wine lists. Airen has low retail presence. By contrast, prestigious, popular Pinot Noir (out-planted by Airen 3:1), is found on wine lists the world over. Pinot Noir has high retail presence.
The concept applies as much to regions and appellations as it does to grapes. Swiss wines, for example, have low retail presence, as the Swiss choose to export only a tiny proportion of the wine they produce. France, by contrast, has a thriving wine export market, and its top wines regularly appear on secondary markets. French wines typically have high retail presence. The power of retail presence is demonstrated by Bordeaux's reign over Wine-Searcher's 100 Most 'Searched-For' wines, and Burgundy's dominance of the Most Expensive Wines in the World.