Wine tasting datapoint of the day

By Felix Salmon
May 1, 2009

From a paper by Johan Almenberg and Anna Dreber of the Stockholm School of Economics:

We designed an experiment that examines how knowledge about the price of a good, and the time at which the information is received, affects how the good is experienced… Disclosing the high price before tasting the wine produces considerably higher ratings, although only from women.

I’m not frankly a huge fan of this experiment: only two wines were used (a $5 wine and a $40 wine) and both were Portugese. I’m still pretty sure that men, if they’re presented with a very expensive wine from a region they respect (Bordeaux, say) will rate that wine much more highly than if they neither knew its provenance nor its price. Maybe the gender difference in this study was more a function of anti-Portugese snobbism in men than it was of price determining perception.


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Reading the paper, I don’t think the Portugese-ness of the wines could be responsible for the effect. In the experiment where they do not reveal the prices of the wine, they still tell the subjects that it is Portugese. So any difference in rating caused by learning the price has to be independent of the fact that the wine is Portugese.

So I’ll be buying myself cheap wine, but ponying up when ordering for my girlfriend…


Posted by Davir Rand | Report as abusive

Glad to know that wine tasting goes “hitech” too. But I think the natural way of determining the price of fine wines depends upon the “taster” and of course the process. But for now, heavy drinkers prefer quantity value of their money rather than quality – for some I may say.

Nice article wine is forever interesting…