Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 October 2014
The influence of expectations on the sensory perception of wines is investigated in three studies in which New Jersey and California red wines are blind tasted. Studies 1 and 2, in which only the color of the wines is known prior to tasting, demonstrate that neither wine club members nor experienced wine professionals can distinguish between New Jersey and California wines in terms of personal enjoyment. In contrast, Study 3, in which tasters are informed that some (though not which) of the wines are from New Jersey, finds that when a wine is believed to be from New Jersey it receives lower enjoyment ratings than when the identical wine is believed to be from California—regardless of whether the wine is actually from New Jersey or California. The results enhance our understanding of the role of expectations in the interpretation of subjective experiences. Implications for wine producers and wine consumers are explored. (JEL Classification: C91)
I am indebted to Alison Ashton for insightful comments on an earlier version, to Mani Sethuraman for excellent research assistance, and to Andrew Lazarus for his generosity in arranging the tasting involving wine professionals. I also appreciate the helpful comments of an anonymous reviewer and the editor.