Don't Let These Fancy Wine Labels Fool You Into Paying Too Much for Your Vino

Just because it's from a chateau, doesn't mean it's any better.

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My wine shopping methods aren't all that complex. I find a red—preferably something in the Cabernet or Pinot Noir range—that "speaks to me." That's it, and I'm a judge-a-book-by-its-cover type of girl. But according to a recent study conducted by Aldi and food psychologist Charles Spencer, that type of behavior might just be leading to overspending.

The supermarket chain and Oxford University psychologist teamed up to evaluate how we perceive wine based on its appearance, and it turns, most of us are doing it wrong. According to Wales Online, 34% of respondents guessed that a £10 bottle of wine was the priciest thanks to its "chateau" wine label. In comparison, only 15% accurately pegged the £95 bottle—which featured a simple beige background and black italicized writing—as the most expensive. 

"While shoppers often think they are treating themselves to a premium tasting option when they splash out on a bottle of wine, the opposite can often in fact be true," director of buying at Aldi UK Julie Ashfield said, according to the outlet. "Even the savviest of shoppers are guilty of this mistake and it can lead to shoppers wasting money under the assumption that spending more will get them a better product." 

Of the wine drinkers included in the study, 25% said that cork versus a screw cap equaled a more expensive selection while also reporting they'd spend 40% more on a "heavier bottle." 

"The results clearly show that you don't always get what you pay for in terms of preference when tasting wines," Spence said in the study. "This is entirely consistent with numerous previous studies showing there's little relation between liking and price with wines. As the survey indicates that shoppers often use price as a factor in quality, this classic buying behavior can often end up costing customers thousands over a lifetime."

When it came to actually tasting the wine in a test, the surveyed drinkers were still off—selecting a £6.49 supermarket bottle over the  £36 wine store pick. So maybe quit guessing and start researching, so you don't waste extra bucks on a subpar bottle just because it says chateau on the label, huh? 

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Megan Schaltegger is a staff writer at Thrillist.