Cheap wine 'good as pricier bottles' - blind taste test

 
Woman tasting wine (library picture) The wines tested were priced up to £30 a bottle

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Wine costing less than £5 a bottle can have the same effect on the palate as those priced up to six times as much, a psychological taste challenge suggests.

The blind test at the Edinburgh Science Festival saw 578 members of the public correctly identify the "cheap" or "expensive" wines only 50% of the time.

They tasted a range of red and white wines including merlot and chardonnay.

University of Hertfordshire researchers say their findings indicate many people may just be paying for a label.

Two champagnes costing £17.61 and £29.99 were compared, alongside the bottles costing less than £5 and vintages priced between £10 and £30.

The other varieties tasted were shiraz, rioja, claret, pinot grigio and sauvignon blanc.

The participants were asked to say which they thought were cheap and which were expensive.

By the laws of chance, they should have been able to make a correct guess 50% of the time - and that was the exact level of accuracy seen.

The findings demonstrate the volunteers cannot distinguish between wines by taste alone, the organisers of the test say.

Lead researcher psychologist Professor Richard Wiseman said: "These are remarkable results. People were unable to tell expensive from inexpensive wines, and so in these times of financial hardship the message is clear - the inexpensive wines we tested tasted the same as their expensive counterparts."

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 188.

    I find that decanting a bottle of 2.99 red improves the flavour no end and everybody drinks it quite happily

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 187.

    Am I the only one here that only cares about the abv/cost ratio?

    Will it be Thunderbird Red or Blue tonight?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 186.

    I'd be surprised if they provided a random sample of cheap wine and only 50% of people chose the expensive one. The ‘cheaper’ sample is more likely to have been the result of a painstaking search by an expert through many poor wines to prove that it is possible to get good wine cheap. If you really want to help us out in these times of financial hardship, publish the list of cheap good wine!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 185.

    At a recent blind wine tasting we tried two of each Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir and Rioja. For each grape, wines were from the same country with one costing about £7 and the other £14. Some of the group were novices and some were more "wine aware". The results were that it wasn't worth paying twice the price, although some subtle differences in the wines were noted.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 184.

    The summary of this research seems to tell us that 50% of a sample of British people can distinguish between moderately priced wine wine and very cheap wine.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 183.

    Regarding the study and of the editor's choices of comments:

    Statistically improbable 500+ random with no regular wine-purchasers. The 50% rating demonstrates those latter did not budge the chance-rating.

    If ALL new, they demonstrate a baseline-reaction to wine.

    Wine price/reputation are historically entangled, bringing a circular reasoning bias even for blind-tasting experts. Or ESPECIALLY.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 182.

    moroccan wine i tend to find is really high quality and half the cost of higher well known brands..

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 181.

    Thanks to comment 162, we have a clear illustration of the snobbery involved in assessing wines. If being able to spell a word is an indication of how sensitive your palate is, then save us from the linguists who will select our wines for us!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 180.

    This is a pointless piece of research.....of course if the guinea pigs were not wine afficionados then they would not be able to tell the difference
    of course the price of a bottle of wine has littel bearing ont he taste

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 179.

    This "Study" has nothing to do with if people can taste the difference between two wines as they weren’t given them to compare! I quote Professor Wiseman “We didn't ask people to compare two wines because we wanted to mimic real-life conditions”

    578 people tasting 16 wines means only 36 people tasted each wine!

    A quality wine has complexity, length, good nose/mid-palate/finish interest

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 178.

    I've got an extensive wine collection myself. However, over the years I have drunk an awful lot of Blue Nun. I do keep quiet about it as I dont want people to know. In all honesty there is no difference between that and a top bottle of wine such as Chablis

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 177.

    The study says “The researchers approached 578 people in Edinburgh and asked them to sample a glass of either a cheap or an expensive wine. The tasters were shown two prices and asked to say which wine they were drinking.”

    All this “study” proves is that people do not know how match the taste of a wine against the price somebody else has put against it…

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 176.

    My wife and myself when travelling in France use the Les Routier restaurant system and with the meal there is a litre of "Vin de Table" red wine, included in meal price, we always enjoy these wines even though they are obviously cheap, so really that is the answer, it's what wine drinkers enjoy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 175.

    Look our Ernie,watch our Who leo There's a new wine maker in town.Andropolis Vineyards. Oh so groovy

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 174.

    Just goes to show how pathetic and snobbish the whole wine process is.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 173.

    Two comments - firstly your palate adjusts to what you drink, so if you drink a lot of cheaper wine, that is what you will end up preferring, secondly there is the factor of perceptive expectation which simply put means that paying more for something creates that expectation you will enjoy it more and you actually do enjoy it more.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 172.

    Suppose the 578 members of the public were not regular wine drinkers, for which all we know the could be. Then the survey would of shown no further information about wine than the laws of probability saying if we flipped a coin 578 times we would land on heads 50% of the time.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 171.

    i make wine, many types.I find a lot of garbage out there being sold. I also had the occasion to find $4 supermarket wine that was better than the $19 managers special. Price and labels often dont make more palatable.cheers.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 170.

    So 50% of the general public have poor taste? Tell us something we didn't know.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 169.

    I greatly admired one of the major shareholders from Stowells of Chelsea, quoting on prime time television some years go, "that the best wines, were those that appealed to each and every different pallet" thus cost being irrelevant. Oh! if there was only more honesty in this world.

 

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