Researchers find more expensive wines more enjoyable

by Wine

wine glass

Does wine taste better when it's more expensive? Here comes the science!

Researchers presented a $90 wine, a $45 wine, a $10 wine and a $5 dollar wine to their test subjects.  Consistently the test subjects picked the $90 wine over the $10 wine and the $45 dollar wine over the $5 wine.  The areas of the brain that respond to pleasure lit up under an MRI more when they tasted the more expensive wines.  What the subjects didn’t know was that the $90 wine and the $10 wine were the same wine.  Again the $45 wine and the $5 wine were also the same.

Antonio Rangel and colleagues at California Institute of Technology hypothesized that people could be influenced by the higher price, so they created the experiment.

Other subjects were tested without the knowledge of the prices.  The researchers were surprised, because these subjects consistently picked the $5 wine.  Rangel suspects that the $5 wine tasted stronger, and that the subjects were not very experienced with wine.

The researchers found “our results suggest that the brain might compute experienced pleasantness in a much more sophisticated manner that involves integrating the actual sensory properties of the substance being consumed with the expectations about how good it should be.”  In short the price of the wine changed how pleasurable the subject thought the wine was.

So if you need to impress someone who doesn’t know any better, throw a $100 price tag on a bottle of Yellow Tail.  Research says that your guests will love it!

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DJ Spiess

DJ Spiess

Beer buddy

I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!