Why 'heavier' wine bottles come with 'steeper' price tags!
A new study suggests that shoppers are happy to pay more for a bottle of wine if it is heavier.
Despite the fact that all standard bottles contain the same 75cl of fluid, a survey of 150 people found that consumers believe heavier bottles are more expensive and contain higher-quality wine, the Telegraph reported.
This could be down to the historic use of thicker bottles to protect more expensive wines in transit, or to our general tendency to estimate heavier things as being more valuable, the report said.
But our bias towards weight allows wine producers to "trick" customers into paying more for certain wines simply by packaging them in bottles which are made from thicker glass or have a deeper punt on the underside, researchers said.
An analysis of 275 wines from five countries on sale in an Oxford shop found that heavier bottles were on average more expensive and found to be from an older vintage, while red wine bottles weighed more on average than white.
The findings showed that average consumers were more likely than amateur collectors or professional wine experts to be influenced by a bottle's weight.
When asked to what extent, on a scale of one to nine, they agreed with the statement that heavier bottles were more expensive and higher quality, general shoppers answered 7.1 and 6.6 respectively.
In contrast, people with some experience or expertise in wine buying answered only slightly above the middle of the scale in response to both questions, the report said.
"The weight-quality correlation is a general response we have in many different product categories from heavier car keys to remote controls being judged as better quality," Prof Charles Spence, co-author of the study, from Oxford University said.
"In wine it may have been [historically] that the more expensive wines were in heavier bottles to prevent breakage.
"Today I think it is definitely done more with marketing in mind than preservation of the contents," he added.
The findings are published in the Food Quality and Preference journal.