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Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better? Evidence from a Large Sample of Blind Tastings*

  • Robin Goldstein (a1), Johan Almenberg (a2), Anna Dreber (a3), John W. Emerson (a4), Alexis Herschkowitsch (a1) and Jacob Katz (a1)...

Individuals who are unaware of the price do not derive more enjoyment from more expensive wine. In a sample of more than 6,000 blind tastings, we find that the correlation between price and overall rating is small and negative, suggesting that individuals on average enjoy more expensive wines slightly less. For individuals with wine training, however, we find indications of a non-negative relationship between price and enjoyment. Our results are robust to the inclusion of individual fixed effects, and are not driven by outliers: when omitting the top and bottom deciles of the price distribution, our qualitative results are strengthened, and the statistical significance is improved further. These findings suggest that non-expert wine consumers should not anticipate greater enjoyment of the intrinsic qualities of a wine simply because it is expensive or is appreciated by experts. (JEL Classification: L15, L66, M30, Q13)

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The findings reported here are discussed at length in Robin Goldstein's book The Wine Trials (Fearless Critic Media, 2008). We thank Jacopo Anselmi, Zoe Chance, Shane Frederick, Richard Friberg, Barry Goldstein, Erik Grönqvist, Daniel Horwitz, Roy Ip, Magnus Johannesson, Thomas Pfeiffer, Hal Stubbs, Sue Stubbs and an anonymous referee for helpful comments and suggestions. Johan Almenberg thanks the Ragnar and Torsten Söderberg Foundations for financial support, and Johan Almenberg and Anna Dreber thank the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation for financial support. The Program for Evolutionary Dynamics is sponsored by J. Epstein.

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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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