A _ P R O N G _ P R I M E R

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T H E _ P R O N G _ S Y S T E M

The Prong System, developed by Professor Emily Peynaud of Chico State University in the mid- to late-1960s and published in her landmark masterwork The Prong of Wine (Random House, 1969), is singular among wine rating systems in that does not aspire to the false sense of linear objectivity that seems to so bedevil other failed popular rating systems ("puffs," "stars," "points," "glasses," "poodles," "clouds" and so forth). Adherents believe that the Prong System alone can capture the true essence of a wine because it alone is utterly and rigorously subjective. In this sense it is the only system that can truly evaluate wine with complete accuracy, as all methods that strive for an unattainable 'objectivity' are doomed by definition to failure and irrelevancy.

Wines are rated (or "Pronged") on a scale of one to eight Prongs, depending on the quality and character of the wine. It is, however, the makeup of the Prongs themselves that is the key to using and understanding the system, as they can be fashioned from any of the twenty-four categories (or 576 subcategories) of materials on the Chico State Prong Wheel. Furthermore, depending again on the quality and character of the wine, the Prongs may be adorned with any of the twelve categories (144 subcategories) of Dressing/Frippery/Coating (DFC) and can be set on a base fashioned from one of the eight categories (sixty-four subcategories) of Fundamental Substance (FS), or whatever else the reviewer sees fit to use to illuminate the character of the wine.

The Prong System seems straightforward, and indeed is quite user-friendly, but also, in the right hands, offers the unlimited potential for accuracy in scoring that those of us who feel constrained by more linear systems seek.

Now go forth and Prong.

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