A recent wine-related study by the California Institute of Technology concluded that people enjoy higher-priced wines more. It's not just our mental inclination to think a higher priced item is usually better, but a physiological one. Subjects in the study tasted the same wine twice: once with the understanding that the bottle of wine cost $10 and the other $90. When tasting the $90 bottle, more oxygen and blood was sent to the pleasure center of the brain.
Marketing is certainly important in every industry, but particularly in the wine industry, as wineries attempt to differentiate themselves both in their tangible product and the conveyance an intangible feeling: that of enjoyment, sociability, connection to the land, a certain indulgence, something out of the ordinary.
Make Sure You Savor Your Wines
I recently enjoyed a glass of wine sitting in the comfortable courtyard of The Vines of Mendoza, a chic yet relaxed wine bar and tasting room in Mendoza, Argentina. Drinking the wine in such a luxurious atmosphere, I was convinced the glass of Torrontés I was drinking was the best in Argentina. However, a few weeks later, the same bottle of wine out of our tumblers at home just didn't taste as good. Now I have some idea as to why that might have happened.
I believe that part of the reason people are so attached to some of the wine "paraphernalia" is because it helps to deliver this same heightened enjoyment without the attached price tag. Taking the time to truly enjoy the wine with a special opener, a decanter, your fancy glasses, not only has a physical impact on the characteristics of the wine via the oxygenation but likely has a similar impact to the bottle being more expensive: it focuses your senses on the wine that you are about to enjoy.