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Monday 15 November 2021

Wonky château: wine labels fool gullible drinkers

How important is a wine label?

Very important, according to research commissioned by supermarket chain Aldi and the University of Oxford.

A picture of a château on a wine label will convince British drinkers a wine is more expensive, the research found.

Consumers judge the quality of wine by how much it costs and what the label looks like, Drinks Business magazine reported.

In blind taste tests, however, the drinkers 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 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.”

Julie Ashfield, of Aldi UK, said that shoppers
should "never judge a bottle of wine by its price".

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