Ever Wonder? Is Price a Good Indication of a Wine's Quality?

Source: Wine Folly 8/5/15

Source: Wine Folly 8/5/15

Early in my wine exploration, I was drinking a lot of inexpensive wine. Mostly in the $5 - $10 price range. And that’s where I did a lot of learning.

When I’d splurge and buy a wine in the $10 - $15 range it would usually be a better wine. So, in those early days, I’d constantly wonder how much better are expensive wines? If a $15 bottle is better than a $10 bottle, how much better is a $20 bottle? How about a $40 bottle. Is a $100 bottle of wine perfection?

Well, over the years, I’ve learned that indeed there is a correlation between a wine’s price and its quality. And, the infographic from Wine Folly is generally true. About half the wines priced at $20 will be “good.” And, by the time you are spending $30 or more on a bottle of wine, you’ll probably find it’s a really good one. But, where does this stop?

During my travels through wine country, I’ve gotten to taste a lot of wines. And, generally, price and quality are correlated. I’ve tried a $100 Cabernet Sauvignon from a major wine producer in Paso Robles that I still claim is the best wine I’ve ever tried. It was truly amazing. But, I’ve also tried a $150 Pinot Noir in the Russian River area, from a winery I really enjoy, but found it to be no better than their significantly lower priced Pinot Noir.

Price can also be somewhat of a marketing thing. Is $2500 really worth it for a bottle of Screaming Eagle 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa? I don’t have first-hand experience with this one. I bet it’s good. But that good? When you are trying to impress someone, maybe a prospective customer that you know enjoys wine, or a good client, the $2500 is certainly worth it. Everyone will be impressed and you’ll make your customer very happy. But, is the wine really a thousand times better than a $25 bottle of Cabernet? I’d love to find out!

So, price is usually a good indicator. But don’t let it be your only guide. Cheers!