Buy Cheap Wine For Your Friends But Tell Them It Was Expensive

Five Cent Nickel recently posted about wine prices and perceptions, noting a Freakonomics podcast that discussed the topic.

I’ve always been a big fan of Freakonomics, and was even mentioned in their blog way back when I was a college student with an internship. They will always hold a special place in my heart.

The specific podcast talked about how individuals rank cheap and expensive wines the same, but that even experts will rate what they think are more expensive wines higher, indicating that the prices influence their perceptions.

Many people have heard this before, that expensive wines are not often better. This isn’t groundbreaking news.

People Prefer More Expensive Wines

But what is very interesting is the evidence that price perceptions have a biological effect on people. People literally enjoy what they think are more expensive wines (even if the wines are the same price or the price labels are swapped).

So if you enjoy expensive wines more, we should buy more expensive wines, right?

The price of the bottle is irrelevant if you enjoy it, but if you truly enjoy more expensive bottles of wine, then by all means, go ahead. There’s no point in skimping out if you’re not going to be happy with your purchase.

Why You Should Lie To Your Friends

I suggest taking this to another level. If people enjoy what they think is expensive wine, it could be a good idea to buy cheap, unknown wines for your friends and simply tell them that the wine is rare and expensive. Once they have that information, surely they’ll get more enjoyment out of it than had you told them the truth!

What do you think, should we lie to our friends to make them happier? Do you prefer cheap wines or expensive wines and why?

5 Responses to Buy Cheap Wine For Your Friends But Tell Them It Was Expensive

  1. I don’t think it’s a good idea to lie to your friends. If they find out you’re lying they will question whether other things you’ve told them are true, and even if the price of the wine is the only lie you’ve ever told them over the course of a friendship, it introduces that doubt about anything you’ve told them or will tell them in the future. The risk for the friendship isn’t worth it.

    • Daniel says:

      @Money Beagle, You focused only on the negative, which I see, but you’re forgetting that you’re actually doing them a favor and making them happier with the wine you gave them.

  2. Pauline says:

    I drink cheap wine because in Guatemala getting more expensive wine doesn’t mean a much better one, the bottles are not stored properly and the heat damages the wine so there is no point paying more. I wouldn’t disclose the price of a bottle when I am back in France, people know from the region/year how much it roughly cost, but it is true that they feel obliged to comment accordingly.

  3. Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce says:

    Two words: Trader Joes. Their wine is unreal. $3 gets you an array of really nice wines that make great gifts. They also taste quite incredible.

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