The collected wine-tastings & wine-ramblings of one who prefers to describe wines with metaphors, not percentages

You can’t tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine? Rejoice!

Macro photograph of a wooden-handled corkscrew. The metal screw is in focus; the wooden handle out.

Someone’s screwed. But I don’t think it’s the consumer.

So, big news in the wine world (if that’s not an immediate contradiction in terms) is that a recent psychological study demonstrated that ‘people just [can't] tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine,’ in the words of Richard Wiseman, who conducted the survey at Hertfordshire University.

You can read more about the story on the Guardian, but the gist is that people were, overall, only able correctly to identify the more expensive wine from a pair 50% of the time. In other words, they might as well’ve flipped a coin.

Predictably, this story is the cause of much wino hullabaloo. On Twitter, I’ve read a good number of tweets in which wine industry members and/or wine bloggers see this as a problem to be overcome.

And I’m not sure I agree. Because, in my view, if people are getting the same amount of pleasure from a £5 wine as they are from a £20 wine, MORE POWER TO THEM. They win. And can use the £15 they’ve saved to buy sex/drugs/rock & roll.

I agree it’s a problem for the wine industry, which wants to make money. That includes retailers and producers of wine. But can anyone tell me why it’s a problem for the consumer who can’t tell the difference?

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