Research shows our brains expect fancy wine to taste rich.
Everyone has expensive taste.
When a bottle of wine costs more, our brains will actually trick us into liking it more, according to a new study from the University of Bonn.
Researchers tapped 15 men and 15 women around 30 years old, and rigged the subjects to an MRI scanner as they tasted the wines, which were randomly labeled as costing $3, $7 or $21. Of course, they were really sipping the same $14 bottle of red, which the report described as “average to good quality.” But the subjects said the “more expensive” bottles tasted better.
Enjoying the “more expensive” wine was also consistent with whether the subjects were told they had to pay for it or not. And the brain activity on the scans backed up the tasters’ claims that the pricier wine was better on the palate, since the area of their gray matter that forms part of the reward and motivation center was more active when the wine was labeled as more expensive.
Previous research by the University of Bonn and the INSEAD Business School also found that pricing chocolates higher sweetened the expectation that the treats would taste better.
“The reward and motivation system is activated more significantly with higher prices, and apparently increases the taste experience in this way,” wrote University of Bonn professor Bernd Weber. “The exciting question is now whether it is possible to train the reward system to make it less receptive to such placebo marketing effects.”
Well, Moneyish is here to keep you from pouring money down the drain – especially considering that the average bottle of wine sold in the U.S. is topping $10 for the first time this year, according to Nielsen data. And the average American spends about $1 out of every $100 on alcohol, adding up to $454 a year.
So put a cork into blowing your budget on overpriced booze. This $6 bottle of Australian red earned a double gold medal from a panel of sommeliers, retail buyers and other industry insiders who specialize in putting their money where their mouth is. Closer to home, a $8 bottle of rosé available at Aldi won a silver medal at the International Wine Challenge.
The cheap stuff often tastes better than it looks.
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved