Why We Can’t Tell Good Wine From Bad

David McRaney

The Misconception: Wine is a complicated elixir, full of subtle flavors only an expert can truly distinguish, and experienced tasters are impervious to deception.

The Truth: Wine experts and consumers can be fooled by altering their expectations.

You scan the aisles in the liquor store looking for a good wine. It’s a little overwhelming — all those weird bottle shapes with illustrations of castles and vineyards and kangaroos. And all those varieties? Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet — this is serious business. You look to your left and see bottles for around $12; to your right you see bottles for $60. You think back to all the times you’ve seen people tasting wine in movies, holding it up to the light and commenting on tannins and barrels and soil quality — the most expensive wine has to be the better one, right?

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