6000 reasons why you should buy $7 wine

Posted on Mar 6, 2016

Or …proof that you can’t distinguish it from a $100 wine.

We at Vinloco are passionate in our belief that wine can’t be chosen on price alone. So much so that we ponied up $400 to prove our point at our Australia Day BBQ. Here’s what happened:

  • We selected five bottles of cabernet shiraz (the Great Australian Red) from our list of recommendations published on January 22 (see “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – Oi Oi Oi!”)
  • Each wine had been awarded at least one gold medal at an Australian wine show last year
  • The bottles ranged from $7 through to $104 each
  • Each bottle was placed in a numbered, brown paper bag that obscured its details
  • A list of each bottle’s price was then distributed to 11 middle-aged adults (experienced but not “expert” wine drinkers)
  • Each adult was asked to then taste each bottle and then match the bottle number with the price they thought it represented
  • All of the participants generally agreed they would expect to enjoy a bottle costing more than $100 more than a bottle costing just $7.

Here were the results:

  • The median correct score was one in five or 20% – no different from one would expect from a random guess
  • Four of the eleven participants got none correct
  • The best participant scored three out of five correctly, including the cheapest and most expensive bottles
  • More people correctly scored the most expensive bottle than any other bottle (3/11)
  • BUT more people also rated the cheapest bottle the highest (2/9) than the other way around.

The conclusions support long-standing research that most wine consumers cannot distinguish wine based on price alone. Our results showed that the participants’ choices were no better than random guesses. Indeed, when the most expensive bottle was tasted directly beside the cheapest even after the test, most of the participants said they couldn’t even tell the difference between the two.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. An American study in 2008 involving 6000 blind tastings found that “Individuals who are unaware of the price DO NOT derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine. Our results indicate that …the prices of wines …may be poor guides for non-expert wine consumers.” (www.wine-economics.org)

That’s why Vinloco only recommends the BEST VALUE wines. It is not enough for a wine just to be good or well-priced – it must be both.

Download our free Vinloco smartphone app today and let us help you choose the best value bottle next time you shop for wine.


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