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The foundation of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor is exposing my members to great values. Whether it’s a particular bottle of wine or an experience, my members know my recommendation means they will get more than their money’s worth. Selling wine with the value principal is one thing and reviewing wines is another. As a wine critic I need to quantify a wines value.

Thus, the Value Rating. It is the cornerstone of the foundation at DDWA.

Let me tell you the story of The Value Rating – how it came to be.

Definition:  A wine’s Value Rating is my score (100 point scale) divided by it’s retail price, then multiplied by a number based on the category’s overall market value. The more pricy a wine category (Napa Cabernet, for example) the higher the multiplier in order to level the Value Rating playing field. Then, for those who don’t like numbers, I label wines based on their Value Rating, ranging from GOOD VALUE to HALL of FAME VALUE. For an extensive explanation of Value Rating, click here.

This whole “value thing” comes from my 15+ years of successful wine shop ownership and wine sales at Napa’s Back Room Wines. My wine shop’s succes, according to my customers, was that I could identify and then bring in and sell wines that were worth more than I sold them for. I championed not just values, but GREAT VALUES. My customers appreciated that and came back again and again.


Free wine advice from a former Napa wine shop owner & sommelier

I sold Back Room Wines in spring of 2017. After a healthy break, I launched Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor in March 2018 so I could again share my gift of identifying unique wines that you want to drink and are great values. Put another way, I only recommend wines that truly over-deliver for the price. And to give my recommendations based on value some teeth, I have the Value Rating. You’ll see the rating, and the type of value it is (Good, Very Good, Great, Awesome, Hall of Fame) on every wine’s review page.

Three examples of what I think are my absolute best values, all of which are on my
“Best of the Best Values” list.
Dan Dawson Is Happy

LINGUA FRANCA Pinot Noir “Avni” Willamette Valley 2016 is a $35 Pinot Noir by Master Somm and great Wine Ambassador Larry Stone. Expressive and delicious. I’d recommend this if it was $50/bottle.
Value Rating: 5.1. HALL of FAME VALUE.

APSARA Sauvignon Blanc “Kick Ranch” Sonoma County 2016 is $25 and incredibly good for that price. This is loaded with fruit. Vibrant acidity, creamy texture. Really special. Just 110 cases made.
Value Rating: 5.4. HALL of FAME VALUE.

FORTUNE 1621 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015, $29/bottle. Second label for Darms Lane Winery. Nothing but pleasure. Made to drink now, so DRINK NOW. Not many Napa Cabs that deliver like this for under $30/bottle.
Value Rating: 6.1 (Wow!). HALL of FAME Value.