The WKBadges.

Ward Kadel - @drXeNoI am extremely excited to announce the launch of a new and exciting way for me to communicate, in a very deliciously simple way, the best wines that I come across, each and every week.  The brand, spankin’ new WKBadges, spectacularly designed by Mofunsun Enterprises, LLC,  are 5 simple notices that tell you a wine is worth the lightening of your wallet. The concept really is quite simple:  do they sport a WKBadge?  Then they deserve your money. BLEDOW!

I taste a lot of wines every year, indeed, the last three years I’ve tasted over 3,000 wines, with 1,742 logged on my WineLog, as of 08/02/10.  I feel pretty confident that I can now break down the biggest winners into 5 badges for you fine readers.  Consumers and wine biz peeps can find all of these badges for viewing and download (Creative Commons: No Derivative licensing) at my WKBadges Flickr set.

08/06/10 UPDATE: The interwebs are going wild for the #WKBadges: Twitter, Facebook.

02/05/11 UPDATE: The WKBadges have launched on!  See a great example with the 2008 Madeleine Paicines Chapitire IV – Au Rendez-Vous de la Marquise Cabernet Franc.

AwesomeWK - WKBadges

The AwesomeWK badge.

A WKBadge signifying that this wine is plain awesome and must be bought and tasted if ever encountered with your vinopanions!

KeeperWK - WKBadges

The KeeperWK badge.

A WKBadge signifying that this wine is an excellent candidate for laying down and aging in your cellar before it reaches its peak of wonderfulness.

NewWorldWK - NewWorldWK

The NewWorldWK badge.

A WKBadge signifying that this wine is a particularly good example of a New World wine: big, bold and balanced.

OldWorldWK - WKBadges

The OldWorldWK badge.

A WKBadge signifying that this wine is a particularly good example of an Old World wine: elegant, earthy and balanced.

QPRWK - WKBadges

The QPRWK badge.

A WKBadge signifying that this wine exhibits particularly good Quality to Price Ratio, AKA, tasty value for the buck.

You’ll begin to start seeing these badges around not only the interwebs at your favorite spiffy online wine shop, but also in brick and mortar wine stores that reside in the physical world.  Without further ado, I’m pleased to announce the first wines that I humbly deem worthy of one (or more!) of the 5 fully radical WKBadges, kindly provided by Mofunsun:

[winebadge id=”55525″]

AwesomeWK - WKBadgesAwesomeWK:

Marita’s Vineyard Napa Valley Select Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Color: Deep garnet with garnet edges

Nose: Loam, mushroom and good earthy black and deep red fruit, quite good, with savory char, integrating toast and some dried violets.

Palate: Anise, cool and bright red, then angry black fruit showing great complexity. Dried leather, black currants, that loamy wet earth and fine tannins complement the full silky and powerful body. Quite good.

KeeperWK - WKBadgesKeeperWK:

Georis Winery Clos des Moutons Estate Merlot 2004

Color: dark ruby

Nose: thick blackberry, zest of orange, and touch of walnut bouquet.

Palate: middle has smooth Carmel earthy texture w/ finish that projects new French chateau oak amnd light nuance of clove.

NewWorldWK - WKBadgesNewWorldWK:

Marita’s Vineyard Napa Valley Select Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Color: Deep garnet with garnet edges

Nose: Loam, mushroom and good earthy black and deep red fruit, quite good, with savory char, integrating toast and some dried violets.

Palate: Anise, cool and bright red, then angry black fruit showing great complexity. Dried leather, black currants, that loamy wet earth and fine tannins complement the full silky and powerful body. Quite good.

Marita’s Vineyard Napa Valley Select Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

Color: Garnet/brick core with garnet edges

Nose: Savory herbs here with bright red fruit, dark black fruit lurking and baking spice and toast.

Palate: Bright and cool black fruit in the fore, with more baking spice, sweeter red cherry and fine tannins in the mid with good acid. Finishes juicy, with lurking toast and a sweetness to the red fruit.

OldWorldWK - WKBadgesOldWorldWK:

Wild Horse Santa Barbara County Unbridled Pinot Noir 2007

Color: Medium garnet

Nose: Spicy, peppery rose petal here, then some darker red fruit comes in with some earth.

Palate: Med full, juicy black cherry and black fruit here, toast and a charred slate finish. Good and darker.


Luigi Bosca Luján de Cuyo Reserva Malbec 2007

Color: Dark violet/ruby core with violet edges

Nose: Earthy, slightly sweet fruit here of dark anise, cassis and wild blackberry, ripe plum and black cherry with a very slight toast

Palate: Full and not overdone, this does well at this price point. All that black fruit and slight char is here too, but then some blue fruit pokes through with some slight black pepper. Medium acidity and a cassis finish.

Wild Horse Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard Unbridled Chardonnay 2008

Color: Deeper golden

Nose: Deeper with more tropicals here, but still good bright Meyer lemon and lime with a slight toast and mineral underlay.

Palate: Bigger and fuller, with lemon meringue and some cream, then more great tart lime towards the mid-palate and finishing with tropical fruit, brightness and some pear.

Some other recent wines of note:

B. Legacy Oak Knoll District Reserve Merlot 2006

SOMA Napa Valley Limited Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2006

So keep an eye out for these badges at a wine store or site near you.  Cheers!


Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo

View posts by Vinopanion: Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
Ward Kadel - @drXeNo is the founder of Vinopanion wine blog, former West Coast Ambassador & Staff Blogger for and former Le Wine Buff for (CIVB). He will try any and all wines and tends to write about the parts of his life that include virtually all of it! He and his wife grew up in Napa and Sonoma and they still live in the Napa Valley. Check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Like #Vinopanion on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at". Ward happily accepts samples but does not guarantee a review, positive or negative.


  1. jason
    August 3, 2010

    These look slick. We might be able to do something on the wine info pages for these wines. I’ll think about it.

    p.s. I fixed a few links in your post.

  2. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
    August 3, 2010

    Thanks Jason! Yes, Heff over at Mofunsun did an awesome job with all of these. I was actually going to approach you about that, I’d love if we could figure out some way to put the badge actually on the wine pages. I’ll try and ping you today to talk about it. Cheers!

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ward Kadel – @drXeNo, Tia Butts. Tia Butts said: RT @drXeNo: #Vinopanion on @WineLog: The #WKBadges go live! If they sport a badge, they deserve your moola! #wine >Woot […]

  4. El Jefe
    August 3, 2010

    …hopes his wines are worthy 😉 Excellent idea – it speaks to information that matters, as opposed to unitless numbers.

    1. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
      August 3, 2010

      Hi Jefe!

      Exactamundo. That’s precisely what I’m going for here and I’m excited to see how the single bit of info idea works out. I have high hopes!

      And actually yes, yours have gotten some of the precursor tags that I’ve used over the last three years, so now I need to go back and add these latest badges. Thanks for checking out the post and commenting!

  5. ryan
    August 3, 2010

    Love the idea! Great images…

    1. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
      August 3, 2010

      Thanks Ryan! I’m really looking forward to this new project and idea. I’ll pass along your compliments to Heff over at Mofunsun. 🙂

      Hey, we’re going to be in Spain & Portugal 9/13 – 9/26. You guys around? Maybe we can catch a glass or something?

  6. April Yap
    August 4, 2010

    Hey! Thank you so much!
    Its so hard to find the perfect wine. Your top five wine selections is such a great help. At least I now have an idea on which wines I may choose. No need to scour the wine stores! That really saves me the time and my buck. By the way, I can’t seem to find an email link here in your blog, where can I contact you? If you have the time, you can also email me at

  7. Christopher Cribb
    August 4, 2010

    Great work, I would be proud to see some of our wines with a WKBadge! Any chance you could email me over your address for followup?

  8. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
    August 4, 2010

    Hello Chris & April,
    Thank you for the very nice compliments and I’ll definitely follow up on email with you two. April, that’s exactly what I’m looking to provide, I’m so glad that it came across that clearly.
    In the future, I have a link in my About page and in the footer for every post for my full contact info. Here’s the same link, as well.
    Cheers to you both!

  9. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ward Kadel – @drXeNo, Marquee Wines Cribb. Marquee Wines Cribb said: The new "merit badge" for wine, I love the logos! […]

  10. Mutineer Magazine
    August 5, 2010

    Ward! What an epic idea! Absolutely love it. Let us know if you need people to verify your badge selections 🙂 We would be more than happy to serve as taste testers!


    The Mutineers

    1. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
      August 5, 2010

      Hey there MM kids! Thanks for the props, I really respect your opinions. Why yes, I will have that need, perhaps we’ll be able to have a Mutinous BBQ in the East Bay the next time you all are spreading the insidious beverage word in these parts!

  11. winehiker
    August 6, 2010

    Ward, my hat’s off to you. Simple, and brilliant! Rather than the too-tight objectivity of numbers or a reader’s potential to mistakenly interpret a glowing wine review, your badges appear to be a valid – and valuable – Goldilocks choice – choices that people can actually understand. May they catch on!

    Now if you can get a little .mp3 “siren” audio to go along with that Blue Light Special, the sensory stimuli could be extra huge. ;^)

  12. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
    August 7, 2010

    @WineHiker Russ: Thanks buddy! This was actually an idea that was developed with a lot of others, but I’m very very excited to be a part of it. I think the auditory cues that you mention could be a huge hit, too! 😛

  13. […] We Are VinTank blog (Scores, we don’t need no stinkin’ scores!). I join my good friend Ward Kadel and revered Master of Wine Mark de Vere in this endeavor, in this new journey into the undiscovered […]

  14. […] you create.  A wine fits or it doesn’t.” Badge ratings have currently been employed by Ward Kadel (DrXeNo), Mark de Vere (MdV MW), and more recently Steve Paulo (Notes from the Cellar). Steve […]

  15. flyingsquirrel
    August 26, 2010

    Like the thought here, but wondering how you’d communicate the following:

    – wines that aren’t particulary worth the money (i.e. “not good” or “not represenatitive of the variety”)

    – wines that are a “steal” (fantastic value)

    – easy to find, easy to drink, easy on the wallet…

    – hard to find, hard on the wallet…

    I agree that scores are extremely subjective, and applaud your work here, but at the end of the day isn’t everything a score to some degree?

  16. Kate
    August 26, 2010

    Oh. My. God. Love the badges concept, but you may have been bested…so freaking funny!

  17. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
    August 26, 2010

    @Kate: AWESOME! Thanks so much for sending that my way, I really appreciate it. > Señor Poser LOL!

  18. Ward Kadel - @drXeNo
    August 26, 2010

    @Flying Squirrel

    Thanks for the great comments and questions. I generally (like many bloggers) don’t want to waste my readers’ time on bad wines. These badges are meant for wines that I feel have a certain distinction and have generally fascinated me for these 5 reasons. Therefore, I think they’re worth my readers’ and “taste tribe’s” time and money (and tastebuds!).
    Therefore, I won’t make a badge that is negative (not good), even if I do review almost all the wines I taste, good or bad, on my WineLog. The steal is taken care of by QPRWK, the “blue light special”. The last two are interesting ideas…hadn’t thought of a badge(s) that are based on distribution/availability.
    Lastly, yes, everything is some sort of “score”, whether or not it’s the 100pt system. WineLog for instance, uses a 5 star system, so the granularity is quite different, but a score, nonetheless. One of the biggest things that we’re rebelling against is this psuedo-scientific notion that an 89pt wine is less worthy than a 90pt wine…that you can confidently proclaim that minute of a granularity of scoring is real.
    A wine gets an AwesomeWK WKBadge for being just that, a fully incredible wine, independent of cost…something I think you should try above almost all other wines, based on my palate. I give a link to my tasting notes and the context of those notes on my WineLog, which is just as important as the WKBadge, if not more so.
    Thanks for the comment, FlyingSquirrel!

  19. […] Syrah is one of the best I’ve ever had and the best from Paso & garenered an AwesomeWK #WKBadge!) and now James David Cellars. How did you get your start in […]

  20. […] personal addition to the shizzy after the jump.  You’ll even find some wines taking home a WKBadge for their efforts. […]

  21. […] so that you can list them in your own WineLog.  Some of these wines even grabbed a vaunted WKBadge.  […]

  22. […] wines in the Right Bank, despite its varietal.  This wine garnered an OldWorldWK badge from the WKBadges with its good dusty red fruit and anise in the nose and the medium-bodied palate and charred, dusty […]

  23. […] accolades for wines are Mark deVere (@markdevere at and Ward Kadel (@drxeno at  You can expect to see badges coming from Joe Roberts (@1winedude at […]

  24. […] WineLog or his Open Wine Consortium profile and check out the wines he's recommended with his WKBadges. Follow him on Twitter or add him on Facebook. Contact him: "Ward at". Ward happily […]

  25. […] Our last winery stop of the day was at Irish Family Vineyards (WineLog), where Owner and Winemaker Russell Irish was pouring through his wines.  I was taken by their Irish Family Vineyards California Póg Mo Thóin Red Wine and again, another fine Spanish varietal, their 2006 Irish Family Vineyards Calaveras County Rolleri Vineyards Tempranillo, both of which garnered WKBadges. […]

  26. brian prins
    August 16, 2011

    I hope you have a nice day! Very good article, well written and incredibly thought out.


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