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Does Organic Wine Taste Better? An Analysis of Experts' Ratings*

  • Magali A. Delmas (a1), Olivier Gergaud (a2) and Jinghui Lim (a3)

Ecolabels are part of a new wave of environmental policy that emphasizes information disclosure as a tool to induce environmentally friendly behavior by both firms and consumers. Little consensus exists as to whether ecocertified products are actually better than their conventional counterparts. This study seeks to understand the link between ecocertification and product quality. We use data from three leading wine-rating publications (the Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine Spectator) to assess quality for 74,148 wines produced in California between 1998 and 2009. Our results indicate that ecocertification is associated with a statistically significant increase in wine quality rating. Being ecocertified increases the scaled score of the wine by 4.1 points on average. (JEL Classifications: L15, L66, Q13, Q21, Q56)

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This research was conducted with the following undergraduate students at University of California, Los Angeles: Hayley Moller, Geoff Wright, Danny Suits, Jon Gim, John Lee, and David Wolk. We thank them for their essential input. We also thank an anonymous referee for valuable feedback.

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R. Cornes , and T. Sandler (1996). The Theory of Externalities, Public Goods, and Club Goods, 2nd ed. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

M.A. Delmas , and N. Lessem (2015). Eco-premium or eco-penalty? Eco-labels and quality in the organic wine market. Business and Society, doi:10.1177/0007650315576119.

A. Prakash , and M. Potoski (2006). The Voluntary Environmentalists: Green Clubs, ISO 14001, and Voluntary Environmental Regulations. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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Journal of Wine Economics
  • ISSN: 1931-4361
  • EISSN: 1931-437X
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-wine-economics
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