Unveiling the Influence of Country-of-Origin bias on expert wine judgments

by | Mar 5, 2024 | South Africa Wine Scan

Are your wine preferences truly unbiased, or could they be subtly swayed by the country where the wine originates? A new study conducted at the renowned ProWein International Wine and Spirits Fair in Germany aimed to shed light on this intriguing question.


Project layout

Twenty-two wine traders from ten different countries were presented with eight Pinot noir wines from four distinct countries: Argentina, Brazil, France and Switzerland. These experts were asked to evaluate the wines under blind and informed conditions. In the informed condition, participants were provided with only the country of origin (COO) of each wine.


Main results

It turns out that country-of-origin information significantly influences experts’ wine judgments. Even when wines were objectively similar in sensory characteristics, participants consistently rated wines from France and Switzerland higher than those from Argentina and Brazil when provided COO labels.

What’s more, Brazilian and Argentinean wines often received negative hedonic descriptors under informed conditions, while French and Swiss wines garnered positive sensory descriptors. This tendency indicates a confirmation bias among participants, as they tended to align their evaluations with preconceived notions of quality associated with specific wine-producing regions.


Significance of the study

Why does this matter? For starters, this study is groundbreaking in its exploration of country-of-origin bias among wine traders, a group that directly influences the availability and pricing of wines from various origins. Previous research on wine sensory bias has primarily focused on consumers or wine review critics. By uncovering this bias, the study highlights the potential pricing discrepancies between wines of comparable quality but from different countries.

Moreover, these findings underscore the importance of recognising cognitive biases in sensory evaluation research and consumer behaviour within the wine industry.



Nicolas Depetris Chauvin, Dominique Valentin, Jorge Herman Behrens, Heber Rodrigues (2024). Country-of-Origin as bias inducer in experts’ wine judgments – A sensory experiment in a world wine fair, International Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science, Volume 35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijgfs.2024.100883.


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