Believing Wine is Expensive Makes It Taste Better … or,
If You Paid $10 to Read This Article You’d Like It More

by Brian Vaszily, founder of

The next time you’re tempted to spend your hard-earned money to “treat yourself” to the expensive version of something because surely it must be better, consider this lesson in expensive wine:

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have discovered that people who tasted two identical wines without knowing they were identical vastly preferred the one they were told costs more.

The study’s volunteers tried two different sets of wine. In the first set, they were told that one glass of wine they were trying was from a $5 bottle of wine and the other glass was from a $45 bottle (in reality, both were from the same $5 bottle). Though they were the identical wine, the volunteers overwhelmingly preferred the expensive wine ... the one they were told was $45.

In the second identical set, one glass was from a $10 and the other from a $90 (in reality, both were from a $90 bottle). And though the same wine, they again preferred the one they were told was the more expensive wine.

When asked to rank all four glasses of wine, the volunteers liked the one they were told was $90 the most, the $5 bottle the least.

Two weeks later, though, the volunteers were asked to rank the wines again … this time without any price information attached to their samples. And their preferences were reversed! They liked the $5 wine the most and the expensive wine, the $90 bottle, the least!

Said Antonio Rangel, the Calfornia Institute of Technology associate professor involved in the study, “We can change how wine tastes without changing the wine. It’s mind-blowing.”

Makes me wonder if I should’ve charged you $10 to read this article so you’d value it even more!