If wine producers want their customers to enjoy their product even more, then they just need to increase its price, for a new study has revealed that inflated cost of the drink makes drinkers believe that it tastes better.
Researchers the California Institute of Technology said that expensive wine somehow convinced the brain that the drink was more enjoyable.
In short, the more money spent, the more pleasure experienced.
During the study, the researchers found that people given two identical red wines to drink said they extracted more pleasure from the one they were told had cost more.
They conducted brain scans, which confirmed that their pleasure centres were activated far more by the higher-priced wine.
The findings could help to explain why rich diners are often willing to pay exorbitant prices for a bottle of fine wine. It seems much of the real pleasure is generated by the high price paid rather than by the quality of the vintage.
"These results shed light on the neural effects of marketing," the Telegraph quoted Antonio Rangel, the associate professor of economics at the California Institute of Technology, lead author, as saying.
Rangel used a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging to observe the brains of 20 people as they were given the same Cabernet Sauvignon and told it cost anything from 2.50 pounds to 45 pounds a bottle.
The subjects were asked to describe how pleasurable the wine was to drink, and most described the 'higher-priced' wine as much more enjoyable.
The researchers noticed changes in a part of the brain known as the medial orbito-frontal cortex, which plays a key role in many types of pleasure.
They discovered that the cortex became more activated by the 'expensive' wines than by the cheaper ones.
Rangel said this showed that the increase in pleasure was real, even though the products were identical.
Hugh Johnson, the doyen of wine writers, said: "The same thing happens if people see a designer label. The psychology is the same - it's not money; it's reputation. The prestige."
According to Johnson, wine experts would not be fooled by superficial qualities such as price.
"Most people who drink wine regularly know the real retail price and resent the big mark-up in restaurants. I think it spoils it."