3 Wine Pricing Myths Debunked
The mystique of the winemaking process has led to many wine myths over the centuries. Most of these misconceptions are harmless, but what may actually cost you are the ones surrounding pricing and how it relates to the quality and appearance of wine. Don't let these three common myths lead you to shelling out more than you should.
Myth: The pricier the wine, the better the quality.
It should be that if you're paying more for a product, you're going to get something of a higher quality. Yet, over and over again, blind taste tests have revealed that cost has little to do with the quality of wine or the enjoyment of the drinker. If a wine taster, even a seasoned one, samples several wines at different price points without knowing what those prices are, they often aren't able to pick out the most expensive wine in the lineup from the least expensive bottle. In fact, other studies have proven that tasters prefer wines they believed to be pricier than other wines, even though they were actually tasting the same exact wine!
At the end of the day, here's what does amplify the quality of wine: where you are when you drink it, and who you're drinking it with. A $150 bottle of wine consumed alone after a long day at work may not taste nearly as good as a $15 bottle you're sharing with good friends over a fun dinner. As it turns out, much of a wine's quality depends on the context, not the price sticker.
Myth: Wines sealed with screw caps are not as high quality as wines sealed with corks.
This may have been true in the mid-1900s, when screw caps were first introduced as a closure alternative for cheap wines. And that's likely how the myth was born. But soon after, many New World wine regions such as Australia and New Zealand started seeing more pros than cons to screw caps and began sealing even their high-end bottles this way. Screw caps are actually superior to corks in many ways: They head off the possibility of "cork taint," or a chemical reaction that makes the wine taste like mold. They're better than corks at keeping the wine fresh. Plus, they're easier to open — and reseal!
There are times when wines should be sealed with cork, such as when the wine is made to age for decades. But unless you're scooping up bottles of Château Lafite Rothschild for tens of thousands of dollars at auction, this shouldn't matter to you at all. Most of today's wines, from every region around the world, are crafted to be consumed young — and screw caps can definitely keep wine fresh better than corks can.
Myth: Rosé that's lighter in hue is better than rosé that's more deeply pink.
While a rosé's color can reveal all sorts of things about its structure and flavor, the shade of pink doesn't make it better or worse. For example, in southern France, rosé made in the famed Provence region is coveted for its pale pink hue; while in the same country's renowned Rhône Valley, rosés are sought after for their darker, ruby-pink color. The shade of pink indicates the varieties of grapes used, how long the juice sat with the grape skins during the winemaking process, and the secret recipe of the producer to craft a fresh, balanced, and attractive-looking rosé.
So instead of paying attention to the color, look for other things that point to a suitable rosé. Where did it hail from? What grapes were used? And, most importantly, is someone pouring you a glass of it? If so, drink up and enjoy!