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Dave Potter
January 25, 2008 | Dave Potter

Does More $$ = better taste??

The price/quality question

Antonio Rangel from Stanford recently led a (slightly troubling) marketing study testing people’s enjoyment of wine based on their perception of price. Subjects were even rigged up with brain activity monitors, in case they were fibbing. Apparently, they were able to pass off super-expensive wines for 10% of their price as well as super-cheapies for about nine times their price. ‘The study found that inflating the price of a bottle of wine enhanced a person’s experience of drinking it, as shown by the neural activity. Volunteers consistently gave higher ratings to more expensively labeled wines.’ ‘Study Links Price, Enjoyment In Wine Drinking’. I like the third comment at the bottom of the article: "Does this mean that if you pay $10 for a bottle of two buck upchuck, it will taste better? " This is a pretty slippery subject, because there’s no doubt price does come into it. Say you’re at a dinner party and haven’t seen the wines poured. The wine has impressed you enough for a ‘double take’, so it’s only natural to find out (subtly or at a later date) how much it is and therefore whether you consider it to be good value. You may be saying, ‘I really love this wine!’ (but you’re inner monologue says: ‘maybe I won’t be so enamored with buying it if it’s 1500-bucks a bottle.’) That is, unless you live by wine, alone. Either way, it’s just lucky you know about Muni wines, which are both terrific quality and nicely priced. Get excited!!


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