CSUEB Economics Professor Tony Lima
Cal State East Bay Economics Professor Tony Lima is a wine economist as well as a wine semi-professional. He was contacted by NerdWallet for advice on how their readers could determine the best deal when buying wine.
Lima explained his research on the relationship between price and quality for the California wine industry and suggested that wine consumers avoid trends and grandiose labels, and, instead, focus on the consistent and accurate measurements for general quality available. He said to look for medal winners from any California-based wine tasting competitions.
“Those who rely on price as an indicator of quality in this market will spend a lot of money and probably give up wine entirely,” says Lima. The reason, according to Lima, is that wine is subject to personal preference: “The fundamental problem is that each person has unique tastes, preferences, ability to detect aromas, and so on. Wines that we [Lima and his wife Norma] love you might hate.” It’s not hard to determine when a wine is truly bad, but once you enter the range of acceptable “it becomes a question of your taste versus ours.”
Read Lima's research, "Price and Quality in the California Wine Industry: An Empirical Investigation." (PDF)