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British drinkers fooled into thinking château on label makes wine more premium

A picture of a French château on a wine label will convince British drinkers a wine is more expensive, new research finds.

Red wine: british drinkers fooled into thinking french chateau on wine label makes wine more premium

The research, commissioned by budget supermarket Aldi in partnership with the University of Oxford, revealed that consumers judge the quality of wine by how much it costs and what the label looks like. In blind taste tests, however, the could not tell the difference between a £6 and £36 bottle.

More than 2,000 consumers answered an online survey. The research also involved 53 drinkers who took part in a blind wine tasting.

When asked to rate wines on assumed quality by looking at the label, 34% of consumers ranked a £10 bottle with an image of a French château on the label as the most premium. Just 15% chose the most expensive bottle, worth £95.

In a blind taste test where wines were smelled, tasted and rated, a £6.49 bottle of supermarket wine was preferred over a £36 bottle purchased from an independent retailer.

A hard pill to swallow for wine lovers out there? Those taking part in the taste test also said they would pay an average of £9.97 for the cheaper bottle, compared with £7.77 for the more premium offering. That’s just a fifth of the actual market price.

A quarter of consumers also believe that a cork indicates higher quality over a screwcap, the research found. Drinkers also said they would pay up to 40% more for a heavier bottle compared to a light one, as they saw this as an indication of the quality.

Oxford University’s food psychologist, Professor Charles Spence, undertook the research. Spence said of the study: “Shoppers often use price as a factor in quality, this classic buying behaviour can often end up costing customers thousands over a lifetime.”

According to Wales Online where this story was first reported, Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi UK, said: “Even the savviest of shoppers are guilty of this mistake and it can lead to shoppers wasting money under the assumption that spending more will get them a better product.”

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