I like wine. It’s fun to drink, makes for great parties, and, like the Romans said, makes people honest. However, I think a common mistake is to pay too much for the stuff. Everyone knows that there are thousands of different wines from different regions of the world, made with different grapes. You can get a bottle for a few dollars or, for the finest wines, thousands of dollars.
Do You Get What You Pay For?
The science says no. Every once in a while, they will do a study where they will get supposed “experts” to blind-taste different wines, from the “best” and most expensive to the cheap variety you can find at any grocery store. Consistently, the results are the same: the experts cannot tell the difference, and will even give cheap wine high marks if they are told that it comes from a prestigious label. Simply put, the science says that the human tongue is not sensitive enough to tell the difference. You can find articles on this all over the internet. For example, see here, or take this $8 bottle from ALDI, which was named among the world’s best.
With this in mind, my recommendation is to pay no more than $10-20 or so per bottle when buying for your own personal use. To pay more is money down the drain.
I think there are two important exceptions to this general rule.
First, if you are a wine lover and it gives you a lot of pleasure to buy expensive wine, and you can really tell the difference, go ahead and buy. Do not deprive yourself if that is what you like.
Second, sometimes in life we need to impress people. If that is the case, look at it as an investment, and pay up. If you show up to your rich boss’s party with a $10 bottle of no-name wine or (even worse) a box of wine, you will look like a cheapskate, and will not seem like the classy and refined person that you are. In that case, it is well worth the investment to spend $50 or more, because you will avoid looking bad and will make your boss feel more important and appreciated. And that is what you are investing in.
Updated on August 13, 2017
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