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.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Old­est Unopened Bot­tle of Wine in the World (Cir­ca 350 AD)

Vin­tage Wine in our Col­lec­tion of 1100 Free Online Cours­es

Sal­vador Dali’s 1978 Wine Guide, The Wines of Gala, Gets Reis­sued: Sen­su­al Viti­cul­ture Meets Sur­re­al Art

The Corkscrew: The 700-Pound Mechan­i­cal Sculp­ture That Opens a Wine Bot­tle & Pours the Wine

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Comments (4)
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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.

  • Ed Regis says:

    Actu­al­ly, even expert, con­cert-qual­i­ty vio­lin­ists can­not reli­ably tell the dif­fer­ence between a Stradi­vari vio­lin and a cheap knock­off.

  • moon says:

    I will try this wine!

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