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In Defense of Cheap Wine

Posted May 16, 2016 by Vicki.

You get what you pay for, right? Well, when it comes to the wine aisles, maybe not. We all love a little luxury in our wine glass — but, as recent studies show, the cheaper bottles can hold their head high too.

Expensive wine isn't preferred by drinkers until they are "trained" to like it. That’s right: the pricier the bottle, the more we think we like it. And, conversely, cheap wine tastes better when it’s believed to be expensive! In the studies, researchers reported that price and taste prejudices played a key role in participants’ experience, both in how they rated taste, and in brain activity. That’s the power of the placebo effect on the brain. 

Furthermore, wine can be ambiguous — as Vox points out, descriptions of wine are often more poetic than scientific. So without a price tag staring back, we’re left to our own devices. And with Americans drinking seven times more beer than wine, it’s easy to see why we’re sometimes stumped about the glass in front of us. 

Okay, fine. Maybe we’re not the wine snobs we think we are. But what does this mean for us in marketing? Understanding the placebo effect provides us with powerful tools. Back to Marketing 101: advertising can change the very biological processes of the brain, influencing purchasing decisions innately. 

And as for that bottle you’re bringing to next week’s dinner party? Pick what you like, disregarding the price tag. Budget wines can really be diamonds in the rough. There’s now scientific evidence to prove it!

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