Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ooh! Look! Ripple!

"They always buy the ten cent wine" - Ernest Gallo

In honor of my father's visit, here is a post on wine. While he is here, I am sure to be eating out a fair amount and if my father is around there is sure to be alcohol. We are off to Jerry's Seafood tonight (get the Mariner's Platter!) and so far all is well with the visit.

My father likes wine and orders it by the case through the mail. Unfortunately that is not an option for those of us here in Maryland. There was a bill in the legislature earlier this year, but it was never voted on. My friend ADR reported on its progress when it first started out. I make mention of this as shortly after the Brave Astronaut family moved into our new home (just over a year now!), my father was going to send us some wine, but couldn't ship to us. Wine wasn't what we really needed, but that's a different story.

Anyway, I spotted this story some time ago and have been holding it in the queue for posting. Having been in my fair share of liquor stores, it makes perfect sense that the good stuff is always up and the cheaper stuff is down (high price up, low price down - see? makes sense). However studies are now showing that may all be merchandising hooey. One study looked at the brain waves of people who sampled a $90 bottle of wine and a $10 bottle of wine and the higher priced bottle of wine fared better, even though the wine was exactly the same. People believed that because it cost more, it must be better.

A second survey from the American Association of Wine Economists (you a member of this, ADR?), titled, "Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?" found no correlation between price and enjoyment. The original article avers that price is, in most cases, the single determining factor in buying a bottle of wine, once you get past red vs. white, region, type of grape, etc. Now, I am not proposing that we all switch to box wines, although some of them are OK, but we are certainly falling into the merchandising trap of retailers who will put that bottle of wine they want us to buy right at eye level, knowing that we will believe it is the right wine for us. But there might be a better one on the next shelf down and a bad one on the next shelf up.

See how not being able to ship wine to Maryland is hurting me? Maybe I should go with the Time Magazine guys, who recently embarked on a journey to try a bottle of wine from every one of the fifty states (now that every state produces at least one - North Dakota was the last one to join, in 2002). Here are their findings. Stay away from Wyoming wines.

Now, where did I put my drink?


Lana Gramlich said...

I saw some interesting, similar studies on TV recently (& of course, Charles being a psych prof, he's never short on explanations for the human fundamentals behind such things.)
Makes me glad I didn't blow $175 for a 750ml bottle of Niagara Ice Wine some years back, though!

Eryl Shields said...

Are you saying that you can't have wine delivered in Maryland, even as a gift? Yikes!

Brave Astronaut said...

Lana - surely a wise plan

Eryl - I know! What kind of civilization do I live in!?