Drinkers can’t tell the difference, study finds

2011-04-23 00:00

A BLIND wine-tasting test at a science fair in the UK found that volunteers were unable to distinguish between expensive and cheap wine.

The Guardian reports a survey of 578 wine tasters found that — on average — people could tell good wine from plonk no more often than if they had simply guessed.

In the blind taste test, the tasters had to comment on a variety of red and white wines ranging from a R40 bottle of Claret to a R300 bottle of champagne. The researchers categorised inexpensive wines as costing at R50 and less, while expensive bottles were R100 and more.

The study found that people correctly distinguished between cheap and expensive white wines only 53% of the time, and only 47% of the time for red wines.

The overall result suggests a 50/50 chance of identifying a wine as expensive or cheap based on taste alone — the same odds as flipping a coin.

Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at Hertfordshire University, said. “People just could not tell the difference between cheap and expensive wine. When you know the answer, you fool yourself into thinking you would be able to tell the difference, but most people simply can’t.”

Wiseman conducted the survey at the Edinburgh International Science Festival.

All of the drinkers who took part in the survey were attending the science festival, but Wiseman claims the group was unlikely to be any worse at wine tasting than a cross-section of the general public. “The real surprise is that the more expensive wines were double or three times the price of the cheaper ones. Normally when a product is that much more expensive, you would expect to be able to tell the difference,” Wiseman added.

People scored best when deciding between two bottles of pinot grigio, with 59% correctly deciding which was which. The claret, which cost between R40 or R160, fooled most people with only 39% correctly identifying which of the two they tasted.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.