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Study: Label affects opinion of wines

Aug. 8, 2007 at 5:17 PM   |   Comments

ITHACA, N.Y., Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Just changing the label on a wine bottle can alter diners’ opinions of the wine, their meal and even the restaurant where they're dining, a U.S. study found.

Cornell University researchers presented 41 diners at the Spice Box restaurant in Urbana, Ill., with a free glass of Cabernet Sauvignon to accompany a $24 fixed-price French meal. Half the bottles were labeled as being from Noah’s Winery in California. The labels on the other bottles showed the wine to be from Noah’s Winery in North Dakota. In both cases, the wine was an inexpensive Charles Shaw wine.

Those drinking what they believed were California wines rated the wine and food as tasting better, and ate 11 percent more of their food. They were also more likely to make return reservations.

"Wine labels can throw both a halo or a shadow over the entire dining experience,” said Cornell Professor Brian Wansink, who led the study.

The study was reported in the journal Physiology & Behavior.

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