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By analyzing more than 1,400 expert tasting notes, we assess the so-called gender profile of Bordeaux wines. We identify 329 gender-related wine descriptors, with a good balance between masculine and feminine descriptors. Some wines and vintages are described as more feminine than others, but no clear trend over time emerges. Our regression analysis further reveals that more feminine wines receive similar ratings and sell at similar prices as their more masculine counterparts, but they are perceived as having a much more limited aging potential.
Is it possible to exploit cognitive biases so that a non-professional taster prefers one wine to several other absolutely identical wines? To address this question, three complementary experiments were carried out. Each time, five wines were tasted blind in a tasting laboratory by 24 to 34 tasters. Converging evidence from the experiments shows that participants were not capable of identifying that some of the wines they were tasting were absolutely identical. Moreover, the results show that by providing information about the wines’ ratings, prices, or reputation, tasters’ expectations can be modified, and, as a result, their evaluations of the wines can be altered. Specifically, we show that it is possible to modify the ranking between different wines and to get tasters to prefer a wine over other absolutely identical wines. Finally, a surprising finding was that experienced tasters express stronger opinions and adapt their evaluations more strongly after being given manipulative information on the wines they taste.
This paper uses data from the 2021 Swiss edition of the Gault&Millau food guide to analyze the probability with which restaurant owners decide to share their wine list with the public. This is an important question relating to the amount of information circulating in markets characterized by information asymmetry in the context of experience and credence goods. We find that restaurant owners are more willing to share wine lists with others if competition is limited or their wine list does not contain idiosyncratic information that competitors may use strategically. Interviews indicate the challenge for restaurants to balance the risk of sharing information with competitors and the opportunity to attract wine lovers by revealing an appealing wine list. We also show that this decision depends on cultural considerations.
This paper proposes an approach to determine efficient release prices on the Bordeaux en primeur (primary) market. The model exploits information from the secondary market to estimate efficient release prices. We apply the model to a representative sample of wines from the 2021 vintage. The results show that most chateaux released their wines at prices that were too high. The median overpricing is 5.2% but exceeds 30% for some wines. This situation may be partially attributed to excessively uniform pricing caused by the tendency of chateaux with similar status to release their wines at similar price levels.
This article documents how the COVID-19 crisis has affected the drinking behavior of Latin European wine consumers. Using a large online survey conducted during the first lockdown in France, Italy, Portugal, and Spain (n = 7,324 individuals), we reconstruct the purchasing and consumption patterns of the respondents. The number of people who maintained their wine consumption frequency is significantly higher than those who increased or decreased their consumption. Wine consumption frequency held up better than other types of alcohol (beer and spirits). We analyze heterogeneities among countries and individuals by employing the Marascuilo procedure and an ordered logit model. The latter identifies the impact of demographic, commercial, and psychosocial factors on wine consumption frequency. The results shed light on changes in wine consumer behavior during the first lockdown and consider possible post-lockdown trends that could be useful to industry players. (JEL Classifications: D5, L66, Q1)
We identify and examine the performance of frontier investments from 2002 to 2017. Using fine wine as a setting, we find that the trade frequency and value of frontier investments in the form of Alpine wines have increased in recent years, leading to a rise in their prices above inflation rates. We further document that this frontier investment has been favorable in terms of risk-adjusted returns and volatility for investors. We also observe that the inclusion of frontier wines in a financial portfolio is favorable for investors, both in terms of returns and diversification benefits, due to low correlation coefficients. The identification and investment into frontier assets appears beneficial for investors looking for new opportunities. (JEL Classifications: C60, G11, Q11)
This paper examines the ratings of 12 influential wine critics on the Bordeaux en primeur market over the vintages 2003–2012. We hypothesize that wine experts differ significantly in their rating approach and influence on prices. We find that European critics are less transparent and in general more severe in their scoring than their American counterparts. Experts also appear to reach a relatively strong consensus on overall wine quality but have more diverse opinions on wines that achieve a surprising level of quality given the vintage, the ranking, or the appellation from which they originate. Our evidence also suggests that Robert Parker and Jean-Marc Quarin are the most influential critics, as a 10% surprise in their scores leads to a price increase of around 7%. We further find that their impact is higher for appellations and estates that are not covered by the official 1855 classification and for the best vintages. (JEL Classifications: C60, G11, Q11)
Using a dataset that spans the period 1996 to 2007 and contains transaction prices for all reported auctions at the Chicago Wine Company, we analyze how the prices of high-end wines have evolved during this time period. The best wines according to characteristics like vintage, rating and ranking earn higher returns and tend to have a lower variance than poorer wines. Nevertheless, the different categories of wines seem to follow a rather similar trend over the long run. Wine returns are only slightly correlated with other assets and can consequently be used to reduce the risk of an equity portfolio. Wine looks even more attractive when the investor also has concerns about the skewness of his portfolio. However, the part to be invested in wine is reduced once the kurtosis is included into the analysis. Finally, it seems advisable to diversify across different wine categories as their short-run movements are partially independent of each other. First growths and wines rated as extraordinary by Robert Parker deliver the best tradeoff in terms of portfolio expected returns, variance, skewness and kurtosis for most investor preference settings under consideration. (JEL Classification: C60, G11, Q11)
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