CORRECTED - Women more affected by price of wine than men

Wed May 6, 2009 5:38pm EDT
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(Corrects Almenberg's affiliation in paragraph 3)

By Leslie Gevirtz

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - How much does the price of a bottle of wine matter? Quite a lot - to women.

Researchers from the Stockholm School of Economics and Harvard University set out to determine whether knowing how much a bottle of wine cost would affect what people thought of the taste.

They found that disclosing the expensive price of a wine before people tasted it produced considerably higher ratings, although only from women.

"I was surprised. The men didn't seem to be affected by the price. It might be the way men relate to wine. But the women reacted very strongly to a high price," said Johan Almenberg, who with co-researcher Anna Dreber of the Stockholm School of Economics and Harvard, conducted the study among 266 volunteers in Boston.

The volunteers tasted one of two Portuguese red wines, one cost $5 a bottle and one $40. One-third of the people tasted the wine without knowing the price, one-third was told the price before the tasting, and one-third learned the price afterwards.

All of the tasters were told to rate the wine on a scale that ranged from undrinkable to perfection.

The researchers, whose findings were published by the American Association of Wine Economists, said only women assigned considerably higher ratings when they were told they were about to drink the expensive wine.   Continued...