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Love a Certain Wine? It Could Be Marketing You’re Tasting
The Judgments of Paris and Princeton showed how much perceptions affect palates.
If you’re proud of your company’s products or services, you probably want people to appreciate them on their merits, not just their marketing.
We understand that. We also understand that the human mind doesn’t work the way we wish.
That was made clear at a 2012 conference of the American Association of Wine Economists in Princeton, New Jersey. The event hosted a blind taste testing, pitting several famous wines against others that were practically unknown.
It was modeled off another tasting held in 1976. Back then, no one respected American wine, but when Napa Valley wines beat several French vintages in a blind test, it launched the California wine industry. The event has forever been known as the Judgment of Paris.
This time around, a vintner from Atco, in South Jersey, convinced organizers to replicate the test, except using New Jersey wines. Like the Golden State 40 years ago, the Garden State has a burgeoning wine scene, but it is still widely overlooked.
It didn’t seem like a fair fight. A committee selected French wines ranging from $70 to $650, while the NJ wines ranged from $12 to $50.
The results? The nine-person panel of American, French and Belgian judges returned a statistical tie, with several NJ wines topping the French. The event was called the Judgment of Princeton.
While surprising to many, it wasn’t to economists. A long list of studies have found that marketing elements like cost, labeling and description dramatically change how people perceive wines. Even identical wines are rated differently if priced differently, a phenomenon called the “marketing placebo effect.”