New research has found that elaborate descriptions on wine labels may convince you to pay more for a bottle. 

Elisabeth Sherman
June 07, 2017

People always joke that they buy the wine with the prettiest label at the liquor store, but there might be more truth to that than most people think.

New research from the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine (that's their department name, not our publication), has found that the descriptions in wine labels can actually alter people’s emotions, even encouraging them to pay more for a bottle, according to Phys.org.

“Cleverly written wine and producer descriptions when coupled with unbranded wine tasting can evoke more positive emotions, increasing our positive perception of the wine, our estimation of its quality and the amount we would be willing to pay for it,” the study’s lead author, Associate Professor Sue Bastian, wrote.

The researchers gathered 126 regular white wine drinkers to test out three commercially available Australian white wines, a Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. The participants had to then give their opinion on the set under three conditions: First they performed a blind tasting with no information about the wine. Then, a week later, they went in for a second tasting with what they thought were six new wines, but were actually the same wines as the first test.

Three of them had a basic description attached (a general description of the color for instance), while the other three came with a more elaborate description of the wine.

According to The Independent, one of the labels described the wine as “refreshing lemon and lime fruits accompanied by delicate jasmine flower aromas,” and also included information on the history of the wine, along with positive reviews of its quality.

Once the taste testers got that full description of a wine, they were sold, reporting a heightened preference for that wine, and even a willingness to pay more for it at the store versus the wine for which they had no information.

So the next time you’re at the wine store and you read a label you like, don’t feel bad buying it on that basis alone. Science backs up your selection, and in some sense you're just paying a little more for a good story.