Experiments show that price does matter

27 August, 2008
Page 9 
A recent experiment conducted in California showed that price of wine does influence a consumer's enjoyment of wine.

In a test devised by Antonio Rangel at the California Institute of Technology, 21 volunteers sampled five different bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon. The taste test was blind, but the tasters were told the price of the wine.

Without telling the tasters, however, researchers presented two of the wines twice, once with the true price tag and again with a fake .

They also passed off a $90 bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon as a $10 bottle and presented a $5 bottle as being worth $45 , according to a report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

As the wine was tasted, researchers scanned the brains of the tasters to monitor neural activity in an area of the brain believed to register pleasure related to taste and odours.

The study found that inflating the price of a bottle of wine enhanced a person's experience of drinking it, as shown by the neural activity. Also,

the tasters consistently gave higher ratings to the more "expensive" wines.

Rangel said the test demonstrated that the tasters believed that higher priced wines were better and enjoyed those wines more.

In other words, the more it costs, the better the tasters liked it. Marketing departments, take note.