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The Truth Is That You Probably Can’t Tell Expensive Wine is Better

The Truth Is That You Probably Can’t Tell Expensive Wine is Better

Many people think that the only good wine is expensive wine. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to buy expensive wine, even for the most special of occasions. That is okay, because when you come right down to it, the majority of people actually can’t tell the difference between expensive wines and cheaper versions. If you are a wine merchant, it is better for you to try and promote the less expensive wines. This is because you are going to make a lot more money by selling in volume than you will if you only have a handful of customers who can afford the expensive stuff.

The Experiment

Each week, postdoctoral students at Harvard University carry out experiments and research, and they present their findings to other members of the Harvard Society of Fellows at a formal dinner. One of these experiments involved trying to figure out if people could tell the difference between cheap and expensive wines. The results showed that unless you are a wine connoisseur, you aren’t likely to notice much, if any difference in the quality and flavor of the various wines.

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The authors of “Think Like a Freak”, a follow-up to the popular book, “Freakonomics,” is about the experience of authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, who created this experiment about wine and whether or not people can tell the difference between cheap and expensive wines. The experiment shows that you can easily save a lot of money on wine, because the people you serve it to aren’t likely to notice any difference.

The Results

“The results could not have been better for me. There was no significant difference in the rating across the four wines; the cheap wine did just as well as the expensive ones,” said Levitt.

Levitt said that he was surprised that the ratings were different between two different wines when the samples actually came from the same bottle. So, his experiment showed that most people can’t tell the difference between good wine and cheap wine, they also couldn’t even tell the difference between two samples of the same wine.

In the book, wine was portrayed as an essential part of the weekly Harvard Society of Fellows dinner, and the society has one heck of a wine cellar, with some of the most expensive wines you can imagine. Now, the majority of the Fellows consider themselves to be wine connoisseurs, and they all felt that that the only good wine is expensive wine. They were about to be challenged on this assumption.

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So, what Levitt did was take two bottles of expensive wine from the wine cellar, as well as cheaper wines that are made from the same grapes. He had the Fellows taste four different cups of wine, two with the expensive brands, and two with the less expensive wines. Can you figure out what the result was? Yes, you guessed it. The Fellows were unable to tell the difference between what they considered to be fine wines with the less expensive counterparts. The findings have been detailed by Levitt on the Freakonomics blog.

Levitt and co-author Dubner will fully admit that this was in no way a true scientific experiment. But, they got some pretty interesting results, and these are results you can use to save money the next time you are hosting any type of event where wine is to be served. You can spend $15 on a bottle rather than $50, and most people are never going to know the difference. They are simply going to enjoy their wine, and not think about how much was actually spent on it (although they will like think you spent a fortune).

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Featured photo credit: PortoBay Events via flickr.com

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Jane Hurst

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Last Updated on December 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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