Going to a fancy restaurant and looking at the wine list can be an intimidating thing. Not only are they exorbitantly expensive, but also, you can’t recognize half the names on the list. However, after accepting the waiter’s recommendation that wine sure tastes good to you. So, why does expensive wine taste better?
However, when push comes to shove, it turns out that how much you spend on a bottle of wine affects how much you enjoy it. But don’t feel duped; it seems our brains might be predisposed to be swayed by the “marketing placebo effect.”
A recent study found that the same wine tastes better with a higher price tag. Essentially, the higher the price the higher the expectation of better flavor; we tell ourselves that the more expensive wine tastes better. And then it does.
This European study was small, with only 30 participants equally divided on gender lines, but the experiment was incredibly detailed. Participants were placed in MRI scanners to monitor brain activity, given sips of wine along with information on the price of the wine, and asked to rank the taste of each wine.
The same red wine was given to participants three times via a tube, and the price points were 3, 6, and 18 euros. Each sip was of the exact same red wine, which truly retails for 12 euros (about $14). The subjects stated that the more expensive wine tasted better and the MRI scanner confirmed this. The taste processing regions of the subjects’ brains were more active with the supposedly higher-priced wines. Simply put, the exact same wine tastes better when we think it costs more since we believe it should taste better.
Well, now we know why they have blind taste tests to determine the best wines these days. More accurate!