Given the lack of consensus among wine experts, this paper aims to examine whether this implies they make systematic mistakes or is an expression of their idiosyncratic preferences.
Grade equations are estimated for five famous wine-experts and a panel of 62 Bordeaux fine wines over the period 2003-2011. The appellation of origin is considered a measure of the typical taste of the wines. The authors control for objective factors, thanks to weather variables and the ranking of each wine.
Ratings vary among experts, such that some statistically significantly favour wines produced in specific areas, indicating their taste preferences. Thus, preferences matter in expert ratings and would seem to suggest a continental variance. The finding explains the lack of consensus in this opinion market.
The lack of consensus among wine experts should not necessarily be viewed as market inefficiency. If consumers find the “right expert” reflecting their own tastes, as in the case of cultural goods, they may not necessarily experience a welfare loss due to expert opinion heterogeneity.
This paper contributes to renewing the debate on expert accuracy, considering wine as a cultural good and introducing preferences into the analysis. The authors develop the concept according to which existing differences in the personal tastes of the experts can facilitate consumer search.