Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

April 15, 2008

It's a tough job, but somebody has to test the wine

Posted by : Michael Lund
Filed under : Media, Radio

Those marvellous people at the Choice consumer group have discovered some worthwhile research on wine.

The watchdog's latest magazine - and online - has a story that says people appreciate a wine much more if they're told it's expensive - doesn't matter if it's the cheapest plonk so long they're told the wine cost a lot.

The actual report, published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences back in January, is locked behind a paid-subscription but the abstract says enough.

"Our results show that increasing the price of a wine increases subjective reports of flavor pleasantness as well as blood-oxygen-level-dependent activity in medial orbitofrontal cortex, an area that is widely thought to encode for experienced pleasantness during experiential tasks."

Put simply, if you up the price and do nothing with the quality, people can convince themselves they are drinking a better wine. You have been warned!

Reminds me of the time at the ABC when Penfolds were offering one of their wine experts up for an interview.

We said 'yes' so long as the company would agree to put one of its expensive wines up for a live studio blind-taste test against some similar off-the-shelf wines.

The company declined.

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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.