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We like wine more if it costs more, says study

Drinkers think that more expensive wine tastes better, no matter its quality, according to a recent study. Researchers at the California Institute of Technology said that if people believe a wine costs more, they somehow convince their brain that it is more enjoyable.

The study involved scanning the brains of 20 people using functional magnetic resonance imaging while they sampled what they thought were five different Cabernet Sauvignons. Actually, there were only three different wines and a neutral water solution, and two of the wines were administered twice, once identified at a high price and once at a low price. For example, one wine costing £45 was half the time presented as a £5 bottle of wine.

The results showed that the same wine administered at a high price versus at a low price does not only increase the reported pleasantness, but also the way the pleasantness of flavour signal is evaluated in the brain, Halke Plassmann, co-author of the paper told ThirtyFifty.

Basically, the increase in the pleasure was real, even though the wines were identical.

Halke explained, ‘We think that is because the higher price creates a expectation about how good the wine should be that is integrated in the interpretation of the flavour pleasantness in the brain during the consumption experience.’