Showing posts from March, 2008

Wine the grand illusion

Does price affect the “quality” of wine? Yes, indeed it do.

At least according to results of a study conducted and released in early 2008 by Antonio Rangel, Associate Professor of Economics at the California Institute of Technology (re Wine Study Shows Price Influences Perception). Rangel asked twenty-one volunteers to blind-taste five different bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and rate their preferences. The taste test was run fifteen times, and the wines presented in random order.

The only information given to the volunteers was price tags. However, two of the wines were presented twice; one with its true retail price, and the other with a fake price. They also presented one bottle that actually retailed for $90 as $10, and still another bottle that retailed for $5 as $45. To top it all off, according to the story, the dastardly researchers scanned the test subjects’ brains to monitor the “neural activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex – an area of the brain believed to encode pleas…