Expensive Wine Is for Dupes: Scientific Study Finds No Strong Correlation Between Quality & Price

If wine is on your Thanksgiving menu tomorrow, then keep this scientific finding in mind: According to a 2008 study published in the Journal of Wine Economics, the quality of wine doesn't generally correlate with its price. At least not for most people. Written by researchers from Yale, UC Davis and the Stockholm School of Economics, the abstract for the study states:

Individuals who are unaware of the price do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine. In a sample of more than 6,000 blind tastings, we find that the correlation between price and overall rating is small and negative, suggesting that individuals on average enjoy more expensive wines slightly less. For individuals with wine training, however, we find indications of a non-negative relationship between price and enjoyment. Our results are robust to the inclusion of individual fixed effects, and are not driven by outliers: when omitting the top and bottom deciles of the price distribution, our qualitative results are strengthened, and the statistical significance is improved further. These findings suggest that non-expert wine consumers should not anticipate greater enjoyment of the intrinsic qualities of a wine simply because it is expensive or is appreciated by experts.

You can read online the complete study, "Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better? Evidence from a Large Sample of Blind Tastings." But if you're looking for something that puts the science into more quotidien English and makes the larger case for keeping your hard-earned cash, watch the video from Vox above.

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  • David Contreras says:

    Oh my, these kind of ‘scientific’ tests have been done forever and are utterly useless, and mean nothing. Of course, if one has not clue about wine it all tastes the same. Do we really need ‘scientific’ proof for that? I f all I listen to is Hip-Hop, will I be able to hear a difference between a Guarneri violin and a $50 violin out of China? Of course not! Why are there posts like that even !

  • Hanoch says:

    In my experience, it is true that an expensive wine will not necessarily taste better than a less expensive one. Nevertheless, there are significant differences in wine quality that are very apparent and usually (unfortunately) the less impressive wines are the less expensive ones.

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