The overwhelming majority of discourse surrounding the world of wine—you know, talk about "perfumed aromas redolent of timorous, mid-summer sous bois "—can sound, well, kind of super douchey. But a new study says there's at least some semblance of a reason to describe wine in such a cringeworthy manner. That's because wine drinkers actually think wine tastes better if they've heard it described in that flowery manner associated with high-end sommeliers. In fact, these over-the-top descriptions on wine labels positively impact wine drinkers' expectations, willingness to drink, and subsequent emotional response to the wine.
In a study recently published in Food Research International, researchers from the University of Adelaide asked 126 wine drinkers who regularly imbibe wine to taste a chardonnay, a riesling, and a sauvignon blanc in three different circumstances. The first was a blind tasting; in the second, the drinkers were given a "basic sensory description" of the wine; and the third group was provided with an elaborate description of the wine.
Guess what? The more descriptions, the better the wine tasted, according to the study participants. What's more, the participants said they would be willing to pay more for the wine that was described with more detail.
The researchers wrote, "The elaborate information level evoked higher expectations before tasting the wines, plus resulted in higher liking ratings and elicitation of more intense positive and less negative emotions."
Bottom line: "Cleverly written wine and producer descriptions when coupled with unbranded wine tasting can evoke more positive emotions, increasing our positive perception of the wine, our estimation of its quality and the amount we would be willing to pay for it."
Turns out we're all suckers for what you may have thought was just a ridiculous and over-the-top affectation.