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Wine and Dime: The Art of Faking It

Wine and Dime: The Art of Faking It

Give me a gold necklace wrapped in tissue paper, and it is a nice present. Give me the exact same gold necklace wrapped in the oh-so-coveted blue Tiffany & Co. box, and it is the best present I have ever received.

As much as we hate to admit it, our perception of quality is dramatically influenced by cost, real or fake.

In the 2008 article, “Wine Study Shows Price Influences Perception” by Kathy Svitil, the California Technical Institute of Technology conducted a study whereby they presented subjects with five different kinds of wine at varying price points–or so they were told. In actuality, the subjects only sampled three different kinds of wine. Two of the samples were marked at two different price points. The subjects consistently ranked the higher dollar label as the better wine even though the $90 labeled wine and the $10 labeled wine were the exact same sample. When no price was shown, the cheapest sample was the favorite.

We are dramatically influenced by presentation; however, the fact of the matter is that not all events have the budget necessary to purchase high-end bottles of wine, and frankly, some people don’t love wine enough to justify the additional cost. Look, if you are happy with a donkey, I’m not going to buy you a Clydesdale.

When necessary, fake it. Because sometimes you need to.

Budget limiting you to gallon jugs or the boxed wine? For the casual BBQ, no big deal. For more formal events, follow these tricks:

1. Set-up the bar so that the bottles/boxes are hidden on a lower shelf out of view from the guests.

2. Create a more formal look and simplify the serving process by utilizing decanters. The decanters serve a dual purpose. They create an elegant look and are simpler to pour.

3. Print off wine menus with the selections. You do not need to include the brand name. A simple listing of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc. will do. Print off the menu on gloss photo paper, and stick them in a vertical photo clip for a clean and simple but elegant presentation.

4. All disposable cups are not equal. Red Solo cups are fantastic for frat parties. They do not have the same allure when serving a glass of wine. If you are needing to utilize disposable cups, there are a few options. You can purchase disposable wine glass-shaped cups, but be careful with these. Several models have a removable base which can be cumbersome and lead to more spills. I prefer the simple, 6-ounce, smooth, clear plastic cups that are available at almost any grocery or dollar store. They help control the quantity of wine being distributed, showcase the color, and are easy to hold.


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