Cheap Wine Is Fine

by Andy Hough on January 18, 2008

I rarely drink wine myself but since many PF bloggers do I thought I would share the results of a couple of studies I recently read about.

In the first study wine tasters were served the same wine in a fancy bottle and an ordinary bottle.  The wine in the fancier bottle was rated much higher.   He also conducted a test where experts asked their impressions of a red and a white wine.  The red wine was actually the same as the white wine but tinted with food coloring.  None of the experts noticed it was a white wine.

In the other wine study volunteers were asked to rate their enjoyment of five wines.  Two sets of wine were identical but labeled differently.  The $5 and $45 wines were both the $5 actual price wine.  The $10 and $90 wines were both the $90 actual price wine. The fifth wine was identified by its actual $35 price.  The $90 wine was the favorite and the $5 was the least favorite.

Two weeks later they were asked to rate the wines without the price information.  They rated the $5 wine better than the $90 wine.  This shows how price can affect how people perceive wine and other things.

I guess the lesson from the studies is put your cheap wine in a fancy bottle and put an expensive price tag on it and you will enjoy it more.

1 Amanda @ Me vs Debt January 18, 2008 at 9:46 am

So true, so true. I am perfectly satisfied with three-buck-chuck from Traders Joe’s for any given day. For a special treat I love Estancia. At about $12 a bottle, you can’t beat it — no matter how fancy the label!

2 ms. m&p January 22, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Thank god! I always thought I was a novice for not tasting the difference between and an expensive and cheap bottle, but now I feel vindicated.

3 Early Retirement Extreme January 23, 2008 at 2:02 pm

This is too funny. Seems that wine is mainly a commodity. Like vodka it turns into a brand name experience e.g. I’m paying $90 instead of $5, so I have enjoy this more 😉

4 snowbag January 27, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Wine is sort of a commodity. There’s a matter of preference/taste/palate as well as some other issues. Fact: very, very good wines can be had for under $10, particularly if you live in a coastal state. Add a couple bucks for the midwest.

Some mass-produced wine is very palatable: yellow tail is common example, loved by consumer reports. I find it a little chemical-tasting, a little processed. Hardy’s “Stamp”wine–an often boxed wine–is a little better. That said, given wine of the same caliber fifteen or twenty years ago, they are both FANTASTIC. You had to be there in 1991: blech.

In the 10-20 range, there are great wines & duds. Over $20, guidance, tasting, and experience pay off well. Because at that point, you might as well drink outside the house: no tight-fistedness at all. But it becomes a hobby, not a matter of expense alone.

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