Blind Tasting Correlated with Price, Sort of

27 Sep

A blind tasting of Cabernet Sauvignon, at Pairings Wine and Food, with 4 different price points showed a general correlation of enjoyment with price, with individual variations. All eight participants have an avid interest in wine. The wines were poured into 4 glasses before testing, to provide price anonymity, with each glass numbered.

Blind Tasting Set-up

To eliminate sequence effects, the wines were arranged in four different orders (e.g, 1,2,3,4, then 2,3,4,1, etc), with two people tasting the four wines in each different order. Each participant tasted them in order, and then re-tasted in any order until deciding on the rating, best (1st) to least good (4th). The results are in the table. Clearly, overall the lowest price wine was rated lowest and the highest price wine rated highest. The two in-between wines received votes ranging from best to worst, with the higher priced one of the two faring better overall. For most of the participant, most of the re-tasting was done to distinguish between 1st and 2nd place, and, separately, between 3rd and 4th place.


1st (Best)





















In several instances, participants changed their minds during the re-tasting. Interestingly, the two participants who tasted the $49.99 wine first, ended up choosing that wine “best”…perhaps giving some credence to the theory that the wine tasted first has an advantage. In this case, the large discrepancy among the wines generally overcame any advantages of a wine’s being tasted first (except for the $49.00 wine). This result also is contrary to some blind tastings that showed no correlation with price. This may be due to the use of a more random population for those tests, as opposed to this tasting in which the participants are experienced and interested in drinking.


The results also confirm what we all know, but sometimes forget, namely that we’re all different and there’s no right or wrong. For example, one person enjoyed the same $31.99 wine that another person enjoyed least, and two people enjoyed the $49.99 wine that another person enjoyed least. There’s no substitute for trying the wine yourself.


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