ask dr. vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, or "Vinny" for short. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the technical aspects of winemaking to the fine points of etiquette. I hope you find my answers educational and even amusing. Looking for a particular answer? Check my archive and my FAQs.


Dear Dr. Vinny,

I am a new collector and a real novice. Why are some wines rated at or near the same, but prices vary greatly? What is the rationale?

—Claire J., St. Louis, Mo.

Dear Claire,

The reason that two wines could be rated the same but vary in price is because quality and price aren’t always related. At Wine Spectator, wines are reviewed in blind tastings where neither the price nor producer is taken into account. The results from blind tastings—which focus just on the quality of the wine in the glass—can be very different from tastings where the prices and producers are known. It’s pretty easy to assume that the most expensive wine is better when you see the price tags.

But it sounds like you’re also asking about the rationale behind setting the prices, and that’s up to each producer. They can charge whatever they want for a bottle of wine, no matter how good it is or how much it costs to make. Some people charge as much as possible, while others want to make their wines as affordable as possible. This doesn’t mean pricing is entirely arbitrary—it also reflects the production costs, such as the cost of grapes, vineyard management and development, winery equipment, barrels, labor and packaging. External forces like scarcity, demand and perceived value also come into play.

—Dr. Vinny


Do you have a question for Dr. Vinny? Ask it here...

Wine Basics

We break down the basics—how to taste, serve, store and more. Plus:
» Maps of major wine regions
» Grape variety characteristics

How-to Videos

Learn to taste wine like a pro, pull a cork with flair, get great wine service in a restaurant and more

Wine Spectator School: All courses are FREE for WineSpectator.com Members

Learn from the experts and get the most out of each sip. Take one of our online courses or take them all—from the ABCs of Tasting to in-depth seminars on Food Pairing, California Cabernet, Bordeaux, Tuscany, Sensory Evaluation and more.

Browse our course catalog
Check out the professional wine sales and service courses
Learn Wine Forum: Got questions? Get answers

MEMBER LOGIN

= members only

Keep me logged in      Forgot Password?

Free Email Newsletters

Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions

» View samples
» Or sign up now!
» Manage my newsletter preferences

Classifieds

The marketplace for all your wine needs, including:

Wine Storage | Wine Clubs
Dining & Travel | Wine Auctions
Wine Shops | Wine Accessories