Why More Expensive Wine Tastes Better

Hint: It's all in your head.


The next time you pick out wine to go with dinner, consider this: You may enjoy the pricier bottle more, for reasons other than quality.

A study from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the California Institute of Technology found that when people were given two different bottles of wine and told that one cost $5 and the other $45 (in reality, both bottles were identical), the pleasure-center part of the brain became more active when the participants were drinking what they believed to be the more expensive bottle. They also reported that the wine they believed to be more expensive tasted better.

Baba Shiv, one of the study's authors and associate professor of marketing at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, previously found that people who paid full price for Red Bull energy drinks were able to solve more brain teasers than those who paid less for the same product. In other words, how much you pay for something can affect how you perceive it.

Do you think you're fooled by such mind games? Personally, I think my favorite bottle of $8 wine tastes better than a $20 one—mainly because I know I spent only $8.