A science study has proven what many of us connected with the wine industry have known for a long time. Namely that price has much to do with the preceived taste of the wine.
Over the years as a wine Writer I would take two bottles of the same varietal, from the same region and same vintage but with widely difference prices. This when I was meeting other knowledgeable wine buffs for dinner we would taste the wines and often were in agreement that the lower price wine was actually superior in flavor and complexity to the more expensive one. P>Sometimes we would ask the restaurant owner or chef to also taste the two wines and many times agreed with our selection.
Now Scientists from the Insead Business School and the University of Bonn discovered the decision making and motivation center in the brain plays a pivotal role in allowling such price biases to occur. A research group showed that a higher price of the wine increased the expectation that it would taste better. However the research did not find why being more expensive pricing should affect taste to the brain. But is does have a name. The phenomenon that identical products are perceived differently due to differences in price is called the "marketing placebo effect".
Thirty participants took part in the wine study, of which fifteen were women and fifteen men, all with the average age of thirty.
The study's conclusion was "Identical wine leads to a better taste experience when a greater quality expectation is associated with the wine due to its price" This did not happen if a very low quality wine was priced high. All the testing was done with red wines.
"Ultimately, the reward and motivation system plays a trick on us", explained one the Researchers, Professor Weber "When prices are higher, it leads us to believe that a taste is present that is not only driven by the wine itself".
Professor Weber concluded "the exciting question is now whether it is possible to train the reward system to make it less receptive to such placebo marketing effects".
Perhaps for the average wine drinker this all this can be done by tasting the wine first and drawing your conclusions before asking the price. But of course this is not always possible. .
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