Most wineries have a complicated relationship with scores. We're no different.
But here's the truth: we submit some of our wines, sometimes, to some publications. We're not unilaterally blasting reviewers with our products. We're selective.
At the end of the day, positive reviews (and scores) help sell wine. Often a lot of wine. There's frequent philosophical debate in the industry as to whether or not a wine score *should* sell wine, and that's a reasonable discussion for another day.
I will say this: *when* we get great press, it will *often* result in large quantity three-tier purchases (three-tier, in our case, means wine that we sell to distributors, who then turn around and sell it to restaurants, shops, etc.). Just this year (yes, this 2020 dumpster fire), I can attribute quantity purchases of 2016 Estate Red Mountain Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 Estate Red Mountain Lemberger, and 2019 Columbia Valley Chenin Blanc to numerically-scored positive reviews. And that's a game worth playing, even if it occasionally results in a rogue 87 point score here and there (Which does happen! We just don't publicize them).
We don't use the scores in our tasting room narratives/collateral (ahh, the good ol' days, when we could pour wine to lovely visitors from around the globe) or in most of our consumer-facing marketing (this post excluded, of course!). It's mostly a sales tool that is leveraged in business-to-business relationships as an external validation that we are, in fact, doing what we claim to be doing, which is make quality wine from quality grapes grown on our quality farm in a quality growing region.
When that email from Wine & Spirits or Wine Enthusiast comes in, there's an "insta-open" visceral reaction. Accolades tend to be screen-shotted and posted in our Slack channel instantly, and vigorously debated and talked about in-house. ("Ohh, she liked it!" "Yikes, let's make note of that preference for next time." etc.) It's FUN to get a great score, and hurts to the bone to get a less-than-great one. We feel each score, good or bad.
We will only publicize a review with a score below 90 if it is not a "but review" (my term!). A but review has the cadence of "good, description, good, but negative" and gives the impression that the reviewer did not like the wine. (Here is an example of a but review.) There are plenty of reviews that have great verbiage, but a score below 90. Here are two examples (Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Enthusiast) where the score was below our threshold but it's easy to tell that the reviewer enjoyed the wine. These are the types of writeups that we'll use if the score is below 90.
So with all of that in mind, here's a roundup the nice things that have been said about us, about our current-release wines, and the numbers that are attached to those opinions over the last year or so.