The psychology of wine appreciation

Isaac Mostovicz writes...

Ahh, wine. Beginner and expert connoisseurs alike can appreciate it for different reasons. I was reminded of this earlier this month when I saw this story about wine psychology in the New York Times. Food writer Robin Goldstein has written a book called “The Wine Trials” in which he found, in a survey of 500 volunteers, that less expensive wines were being rated higher than more expensive wines in blind tests. However, there’s more to the story than that–he found that novice wine drinkers don’t appreciate the same things as more experienced drinkers, and that, as Eric Asimov notes in the article:

Most people in the wine trade understand that consumers have any number of reasons for their buying decisions, whatever their psychological and financial state. Some are reassured by easy-to-understand labels with friendly animals. Others want only naturally produced wines or bottles with a modest carbon footprint. Some are status-seekers and score-chasers, while others are contrarians, or only drink red wine.

The story also mentions how people seem to appreciate wine more when they think it’s more expensive (something we’ve noted on Janus Thinking before). When people are interpreting an item and figuring out it’s value for themselves, how much should the price matter, and how much will this differ among beginners and true connoisseurs?

[Photo by rpeschetz]

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