If It Costs More…

The meaning of expensive taste.

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Three wine glasses offset against rustic tan background. One filled with white wine, one filled with rose wine and one with red wine being poured into it.
Does it matter if your juice comes out of a box instead of a bottle? / Copyright: Oleksandra Naumenko

Perhaps not surprisingly, in a framed field experiment on wine perception published in the journal Food Quality and Preference, blind tasters gave cheap wine a better rating when they were told it was more expensive.

Here’s what Carlin Karr, wine director for Boulder’s Frasca Food and Wine, has to say about that: “Culturally, I think we are a society that places more value and prestige on expensive goods than less expensive products. However, the canned wine and ready-to-drink category is the fastest growing category in alcohol, proving that the less expensive, lower-quality category cannot be ignored. In my opinion, wines need to be a certain price point to be of a quality that checks boxes of ethical standards for the environment, the labor force, and the end consumer.”

On the flip side, Erin O’Brien, co-owner of Saved by the Wine in Dillon, says, “More expensive wine [does] not necessarily mean it should taste better. What I personally think most obviously differentiates cheap and expensive wine is that residual sugar taste you start to pick up on. Noticing a sweet flavor in wines that aren’t supposed to be sweet signals additives to me.”

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