Sunday, February 24, 2019

Wine Prices, Part 2

Recently we posted about wine prices and how we expect to pay more for better wine.  On August 14, 2017, Science Daily reported on a University of Bonn study on the subject.  Thirty subjects, fifteen men and fifteen women, participated in the study by lying down for an MRI and tasting wines through tubes.  All of the wines tasted were purchased locally at the same average retail price.  The price of the wine shown to the subjects before tasting varied greatly either higher or lower than the actual retail price.  As might be expected, the "higher priced" wines were deemed to be better.

In medicine we are all familiar with the placebo effect and something similar is demonstrated here.  The marketing placebo effect shows that identical products can be perceived differently solely due to the price given to them.  The medial prefrontal cortex integrates price comparison and expectation while the ventral stratum of the brain integrates reward and motivation.  The MRI scanning showed both to be activated by the showing of the higher prices before tasting.  Then with that expectation in place the actual tasting of the wine skewed higher.

So if you expect something to taste better, your brain tricks you into enjoying the properties you ascribe to the "higher priced" subject.  If "quality has its price", well then, of course, we would enjoy the wine that cost more.

This Thursday after 5pm we will probably be tasting Italians here at the store.  I say "probably" because we don't actually have things set yet.  In any event, please join us for the event.

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