1 May
2012
Posted in: General
By    9 Comments

Buying a $100 bottle of wine? It’s a trap!


I like a glass (or 3) of wine on occasion, but I don’t consider myself well versed in what exactly makes a good wine, like taste or scent.  I’ve tried many types of wines, but if I was presented a glass without seeing the bottle, I wouldn’t have an idea as to what type was put before me (except for guessing by color, like I know Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay are white and Merlot is red, off of the top of my head).  What I’m trying to get at is that I’m not a wine expert, I’m not even really an amateur, I don’t even know what comes before amateur.  “Rookie” maybe?  My wine usually comes in a box.

The good news for the wine rookie?  It doesn’t matter anyway. As it turns out, wine experts aren’t really that great at judging good wine if they can’t read the wine label.  And the Average Joe wine drinker is even worse.

A study(Source) in 2008 found that in more than 6,000 blind tastings by 605 participants, on average, the participant enjoyed the wine that cost the least compared to the more expensive options.  Even 12% of the participants, who claimed to have some training in wine tasting(such as sommeliers) were barely able to determine the more expensive(“better”) wine.  The experts favored the more expensive wine 57% of the time.

So, next time you decide to buy a bottle of wine to bring to a friends party or one to enjoy by yourself, you have a reason to grab it from the bargain bin.  Just make sure you tell your friends that they will prefer the cheap wine to the more spendy versions.  Or just tear off the label and say it was $50.

9 Comments

  • If you pay less than £5 in a U.K supermarket you can usually guarantee it will be rubbish. The reason being the tax equals £4.50 so you are buying a 50p bottle of wine. I suspect the same problem applies to most countries

    • @ Keith: In the States you can get a 90p bottle of wine for about $10 at World Market if they’re having a sale. So yeah, you can get pretty decent wine at the grocery store. Trader Joe’s (a California grocery store) is known for their “Two Buck Chuck,” a two dollar bottle of wine that’s decent.

      • It’s only 2 buck chuck in California. 3 buck chuck elsewhere.

        • That extra dollar is certainly going to break the bank.

  • Hi from Reddit.

    This stuff come up over and over and is the same crap rehashed each time.

    What is repeatedly being tested is the hypothesis that price is a poor predictor of quality. Big surprise, this is true. Instead, let’s test the hypothesis that quality is a fair predictor of price, stop frothing about how ignorant and elite wine drinkers are and realize that if you frame your question correctly, you’ll see that people do know what they are talking about. Expensive wines aren’t good. Good wines tend to be expensive.

    • Thank you for saying that. I totally agree.

    • If you read the study, some of the studies cited have the following methodology:

      1) Take wines from a highly-rated vineyard
      2) Pick two years, one rated unusually well by experts, and one rated unusually poorly (for that vineyard)
      3) Fill three glasses, two from different bottles from one of those years and one from the other year.
      4) Ask people to distinguish between the two years. (I.e. which of these two glasses are from the same year?)
      5) Ask people which of the two vintages they prefer.

      For your hypothesis (that this is only testing whether price predicts quality) to be true, you have to make the assumption that wine experts *also* do not predict quality. And at that point, your hypothesis has to be ‘nothing predicts quality except your own individual taste’, which renders the entire concept meaningless. Basically, your argument becomes ‘I the wine I like is $100 a bottle and therefore this study is wrong’.

      But, as always, Reddit would much rather read an article about a study that they disagree with, think about it for 3 seconds, then assume that they are smarter than the people running the study and that therefore their own preconceptions must be true. It’s as predictable as clockwork: a new study is released that challenges Reddit’s preconceptions. Instantly, almost always without their reading any further than the summary of the study (and often not even that far), someone comes out of the woodwork with an ‘explanation’ that allows Reddit’s ideas about the world not to be challenged. That ‘explanation’ is upvoted to the top, and then everyone reposts variations on it, and then goes back to their lives, content in the knowledge that they couldn’t possibly have been WRONG about something.

  • WHAT IF I TOLD YOU… taste is subjective?

  • What I was told was that there are 3 components that go into wine cost: quantity produced, the number of vineyards the grapes came from (blend), and the distance from the winery to the store.

    This means that something exotic and unique from far away is going to be expensive, while high volume wine from one vineyard produced locally will be cheap.

    “Quality” per say, has almost nothing to do with it. And unless you have tasted everything and really want to try something different and have money to burn, there is no reason to spend more than $25 on a bottle of wine, and seriously, try everything that is around $10 first.