Pick a varietal from a region of the world- let's say Washington Cabernet, (I'm pre-disposed towards WA wines, I confess.) Purchase 4 bottles.
1. One that falls near or under $10
2. One that is between $10 and $20
3. One that is around $20
4. And one that is closer to $30 (or even $40 if you're feeling spendy.)
Do not research first to see what you know about the producers. Just base your decisions on price. This is important.
Place each bottle in a paper bag once opened and mix them up so you do not know which is which. If you can get help with this, even better (though this assignment is more fun with a friend.)
Write A, B, C, D on the mixed up paper bags. The letters should have nothing to do with the wine inside at this point.
Take a piece of paper and set 4 wine glasses on it. Then, write A, B, C, D in front of one of each glass.
Pour the corresponding wine from each bag into the glass. Check out the color, sniff, taste. Make notes for yourself about your thoughts on each. (If you're tasting with a friend, try not to influence each other's thoughts just yet.)
Once you feel like you have opinions on each, go ahead and take the bottles out of the bag and write down which was which next to your notes.
How did your likes and dislikes correspond to the prices? Did you notice a quality difference?
Next head to the interwebs. Go to each winery's website. See if you can read up on the winemaker. How many cases were made? Where'd the fruit come from? Did the higher priced wines come from smaller craft producers?
How did all that info fit together in your mind?
If you didn't notice a difference, then congratulations! You can keep enjoying lower-priced wines. It'll be easier on your pocketbook and you're an easy peasy dinner guest (seriously. I'm not being snotty here.)
If you did notice a difference, what will be your go-to price point? Was the most expensive drastically better? Was the middle-priced wine worth it or was the least expensive wine the best bang for your buck?
If you do this experiment, please share your wines and thoughts in the comments!
This would make a fun holiday party activity! (hint, hint!)