Did You Know?

Wine Price and Bottle Weight Affects Perceived Wine Quality


Large wine bottle
A very interesting study published this week in the Journal of Marketing Research found that consumers rate wine as better quality when it costs more, despite it tasting exactly the same.  It's human psychology that the price tag can affect perceived value, and high end luxury brands have traded on that basic psychology for years (albeit with having to meet a minimum quality standard). Next time you have a drinks party, offer up two wines priced exactly the same with a similar taste profile but tell your guests that one costs four times as much and see which one they like more!

A couple of other interesting pieces of feedback from the research:

1. Wines that are sold in heavier bottles are perceived to be of greater value.  In this case, heavy=valuable.

2. Wine served in a thicker, larger glass is perceived to be of better quality - maybe a tip for restaurants to sell more cheap house wine if they serve it in larger, thicker glasses!

How to calculate units of alcohol

by Janine / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Many regular drinks have no idea how many actual of units of alcohol they are consuming and with the guidelines set at around 20 units per week (less for women), it is easy to find yourself well over the recommended limits after only two or three nights out on the town.

Making matters worse, wine drinkers have probably been drinking many more units than they think.  Why?  Because many red wines are now made with more alcohol.  It's not unusual to find bottles of Cabernet or Shiraz topping 14% alcohol, especially from hotter climates like Australia and Chile.

So how do you figure out how many units were in those three large glasses of wine that you enjoyed last night when you met your friends for dinner?  It's actually quite simple. Here's how you calculate it:

Step 1: Find out or guess how many mls of liquid your wine glass holds.  Tip: A small glass of wine is usually about 125 mls and a large glass is around 250 mls.

Step 2: Take a look at the wine bottle label and look for the ABV (alcohol by volume) amount.  It will usually range between 12.5% to 15%.

Step 3: Multiple the number of mls by the percentage number and divide by 1,000.

Example:  I drink one large glass of wine, which holds 250 mls of wine, and the red Aussie Shiraz that I'm drinking is 14%.  The calculation would be 250 x 14 = 3,500.  3,500/1000 = 3.5 units.

So those three large glasses of wine that you drank last night added up to a whopping 10.5 units, or half of your weekly allowance!  It's easy to see why so many people are probably drinking way more than they think they are and could be putting their health at risk.

Pocket Vintages Wine Guide Now Available

PV Cover

The PocketVintages Old World Edition Wine Guide is now available to purchase online for only $1.99 including FREE shipping to anywhere in the United States.

The credit card sized guide covers the France, Italy, Germany and Spain vintages from 2002 to 2011 and provides a simple way to help you find the best vintage by region.

PV Inside

Sure there are apps for that, but this handy guide can easily be pulled out of your wallet or purse and consulted whenever you are in a restaurant, wine shop or supermarket and want some help choosing between vintages.

To order your own copy of the 2014 PocketVintages wine guide, click the Paypal button below.

Lower Alcohol Wines from Marks and Spencer

Did you know....

That Marks & Spencer is launching a new range of lower-alcohol wines under the M&S L%wer Alcohol brand name.
The three new M&S L%wer Alcohol wines, a red, white and rosé, are made using conventional wine-making techniques to achieve boast a naturally lower-alcohol content of 9.5% alcohol-by-volume.

Marks_and_spencer_2  M&S says the 500ml bottles contain five units of alcohol, allowing two people to share a bottle and still stay within the government's sensible daily drinking recommendations, of no more than two to three units for women and three to four units for men.

Additional guidance is offered in the form of the recommended daily allowance details and actual alcohol units per bottle and per glass, printed on the back label.

M&S winemaker Jo Ahearne said: “We are committed to responding to our customers' needs. The new wines offer clarification and guidance, and not only are they lower in alcohol, but they also offer all of the quality and flavour expected of an M&S wine.”

Pocket Vintages has been recommending lower alcohol wines for some time now.

Check out our lower alcohol wine recommendations here.

Pink Port

Did you know...

That Marks and Spencer, the bastion of British retailing, has launched a new drink called Pink Port?

Marks & Spencer is launching its Pink Port in the wake of soaring demand for rosé wine.

The tipple, which goes on sale today, is created by taking only a small amount of colour from the skins of grapes which grow in Portugal's Douro Valley.

Sue Daniels, the chain's port specialist, said: "Some people wrongly think port is the preserve of men but we have created a drink which will appeal to women because it is light and flavoursome."

However, Guy Woodward, the editor of the wine magazine Decanter, was unimpressed, describing the flavour as more like vodka and cranberry juice than a typical port.

"I suspect they're trying to jump on the rosé bandwagon, but it tastes worryingly close to the alcopop market," he said.

Planet of the Grapes New Wine Bar

Did you know....

Planet of the Grapes 2, The Wine Bar/shop type thing is now up and running. Located in Leadenhall market, less than 10 mins walk from Liverpool Street, Bank and London Bridge. It has a range of around 450 wines available by the bottle and a small but select range of wines by the glass.

What's new about your wine bar, I hear you cry, well all the wines are priced at retail and to enjoy them in the bar simply add £10, irrespective of price. Therefore Mouton Rothschild 1983 priced at £225 will cost you only £235 to drink in the bar, as opposed to £500+ in other bars and restaurants, more realistically Louis Roederer N.V is £42 per bottle and Pol Roger N.V £38

All wines are served in beautiful Riedel glasses and to compliment we will be serving platters of the finest meats and cheese from our friends at Cheese in Leadenhall. For full details of the bar and for a map see the website www.planetofthegrapes.co.uk or call the bar on 020 79297224. You can also reserve tables and order any specific wine to be chilled or decanted in advance.

Italy cracks down on wine fraud

Did you know...

That Italy has now taken over from France as the world's biggest exporter of wine.  But this brings problems.  Fraudsters are adding sugar to low grade wine to increase alcohol content as we as substituting cheaper grapes during the wine making process.

The goverment's response is to send 150 officers on a 18 month tasting course to enable them to distinguish the fraudulent wines!

Wine storage

Did you know...

That in addition to selling wine, Majestic also sells good quality wine racks - wooden racks with metal hinges that will stand the test of time.

Most stores stock a variety of sizes although a 6X8 configuration is normal, holding 48 bottles of wine, which is 4 cases.

Majestic charge 'by the hole', so a 48 hole rack will set you back £48.

If you have a cellar or garage then these racks can be easily affixed to the wall and should last for many years to come!

Champage shortage possible

Did  you know...

That the champagne region can produce a maximum of 350 million bottles every year and that global sales have risen from 287 million in 2002 to 321 million in 2006.

Russia and Asia demand is increasing year on year and is up 125% in India.

Champagne growers, facing little in the way of pensions in their old age, are storing up millions of bottles in their cellars to sell when they retire.

So what will this mean?

Champagne prices will probably go up in the medium to long term and vintage champagne could be a very good investment.

Champagne alternatives, such as the sparkling wines from Australia, New Zealand and even the UK, might see a boost in sales, providing they can continue to maintain the quality and the big price advantage (at least for new world wines).

How to tell a good bottle of wine (maybe)

Did you know....

That according to one website, Itchy Squirrel, if you want to know how expensive a bottle of wine is then measure the depth of the dimple at the bottom of the bottle.

The deeper the dimple, the more expensive the wine.  The website shows the research, so even if you don't believe it, check out the site because it is a very entertaining read!

Visit Itchy Squirrel Website.