An average bottle of wine on the market cost between HK$150 and $300. However, there are wines that cost well over $1,000. Why is this and are they worth the price?
Like most products, wine also has an emotional value. Bordeaux-classed growth wine is selling prestige, while small domaines in Burgundy are selling rarity. These wines may appeal to consumers owing to their history and family traditions. Some wineries may emphasise their winemaking techniques, perhaps the use of new oak or concrete eggs. First-generation wineries may tell their stories – how they began their winemaking journey, describing their passion, their families and even their dogs! If you buy into these emotions, you will happily pay the price.
Perhaps this is the reason why these wines do not enter competitions. Wine judges taste wines blind, only knowing their region, grape variety and vintage, to make sure the wines are solely judged on their quality and typicity. Since wines are judged purely objectively, most wines that appeal to emotion do not enter competitions. I’m not doubting their quality, but without the emotional appeal, they may not stand out.
In a recent article, UK wine commentator Robert Joseph said, “Audi and Volkswagen belong to the same corporate group, share many components and often get very similar scores from critics, but that knowledge doesn’t persuade many Audi buyers to save thousands of dollars by buying the cheaper brand. They are making an emotional, irrational purchase – just like buyers of bottles of wine costing, say, HK$1,000 or more.”
Wine is an agricultural product, so the quality of cheap wine is probably not assured. But for more expensive wine, there is no direct correlation between price and quality. When we buy a bottle of wine, it is not only about quality, just like when we buy a car or even a handbag. I also buy based on emotion, and I like buying wine from winemakers who share a similar philosophy. As long as you’re happy with what you pay for, the choice is yours. After all, wine is an emotional drink.
Just one last tip: while you’re enjoying the wine you like, keep your eyes and ears open because there are other winemakers out there with stories that may also appeal to you.
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