Jeroen van Mierlo teaches wine courses, in which he explains people the basics about wine. In this biweekly column ‘Wine Academy’ he answers the 25 most asked questions about wine. In part 4 of the wine academy Jeroen answers the question: why is there such a price difference between bottles of wines? He explains which factors are important to determine the cost of a wine.
Have you ever been in a supermarket or liquor store looking for a nice bottle of wine, for example a Chardonnay? You’ll see prizes varying from 5 to 50 dollar a bottle! This price difference is huge and you may ask yourself what the difference is. Which characters of the wine influence its price? Do I really need to buy an expensive wine for it to be a good wine?
The example of Chardonnay is not a coincidence. This grape is one of the most popular ones and is known by the big crowd. This is why the demand for the Chardonnay grape is really large. The demand for a grape is one of the factors that influences the prize of the wine. If the grape sort is really unknown the demand for it will be low, which will likely give it a cheaper prize.
Another important factor in determining the prize of a wine is the country of origin. Where does the wine come from? If the grape comes from a famous wine region or a famous grape farm the producer can ask a higher prize for his wine.
Last but not least there is the production costs. When a wine farmer picks all of his grapes by hand the cost is likely to be higher than when he uses a harvesting machine. Some farmers use oak wooden barrels for the wine to age in. This is also something that will increase the prize of the eventual wine bottle.
So at the end of the road the cost of wine is determined by lots of different factors such as demand for the grape, production costs and the origin of the wine. Of course there is also a branding factor that comes into play. It’s like buying a Levi’s jeans. You pay for quality, but also for the name of the brand.