For centuries, wine has been a part of life. It has evolved from a source of nutrition to a complimentary cultural beverage to be enjoyed with a sophisticated meal.

It’s a cultural symbol that, throughout history, often represented a healthy lifestyle as well as wealth and even royalty. The cultural appreciation of fine wines accurately represents the sheer diversity of the wine regions and the culinary habits associated with them. But why are some wines so seriously expensive?

What makes an expensive wine?

If you’re not an avid wine drinker, then you most likely have little knowledge on what makes a good quality wine and why that causes the price tag to soar.

There are usually two main reasons why a bottle of wine might be expensive; first off, quality wines will cost more to make due to the raw materials required to make it. A low-yielding grape from a sophisticated and well cared for vineyard, fermented in beautiful oak barrels by a highly desired wine-making consultant is quite obviously going to be more valuable than a high-yielding grape from an unheard vineyard fermented in a dated stainless steel tank. 

Secondly, quality wines are often expensive simply because they can be; this is a result of “perceived value” which refers to how much consumers are willing to pay for goods and services. This strange concept usually applies to things that come under the “luxury” category. It can become a bit of a statement to buy expensive, good quality wine. And sometimes, it’s simply the label and bottle that makes it so expensive. The stigma that expensive wine is a symbol of wealth and importance is still very much alive today.

Over the years, wine consumption has gradually decreased, whether this is a result of the revelation that drinking alcohol isn’t actually beneficial to our health, or that the price of wine has dramatically increased in recent years, we’re not quite sure. As a result, consumers are opting to enjoy higher quality wine in moderation i.e. on special occasions as opposed to drinking bog-standard wine on a very regular basis. It seems that quality wines are consumed this way due its complex flavours only being detectable if savoured slowly and moderately; it’s supposedly the only way to fully appreciate and enjoy fine wine. With the knowledge that quality wine will be bought more around the holidays, it’s not unusual to see the prices of it increase during this time.

The misuse of alcoholic beverages and the health and social dangers that it comes with don’t typically apply to wine. Today’s culture of the popular beverage means it is recognised as being a sophisticated and more formal choice of an alcoholic drink, and of course, the price difference between wine and other drinks such as beer and cider means it is far less affordable to those who abuse alcohol. Some say the price of quality wine remains high so that abusers of alcohol are unable to obtain it and tarnish its reputation as an elegant and upper-class drink…

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