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The Worth of Worth

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

To truly understand worth and how one product appeals more than another, let's break it down to understand the difference between value and worth.

Value the verb: consider (someone or something) to be important or beneficial; have a high opinion of.

Worth the noun: the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated.

At the inaugural Myth vs Reality event, one of the first activities was to study the human mind with a blind wine tasting activity where attendees were duped into drinking the same wine but from different recipients. They thought one wine was better than the other. Not to mention that the wine was a far cry from wines they were accustomed to tasting as some were fruit wines!

Some loved the wine in the expensive looking recipient more than the wine in the visibly cheaper one. Others understood it was actually the same but the majority didn't get it.

If you study human neuroscience, when someone tastes what they think is the more expensive wine, different chemicals fly off in their mind simply because it looks expensive.

Is a Ferrari a hundred times better than a BMW? Is a diamond a hundred times better than a cubic zirconia? Is a Rolex a hundred times better than a Timex? Is bottled water a hundred times better than tap water?

Would You Be Able to Distinguish Between Expensive and Less Expensive Simply By Eye or Taste?

  • Yes

  • No

  • Tricky, not sure

The only way we have to objectively define "worth" is by market value. Anything else is simply subjective. So in that sense, yes, a 1,000€ wine is absolutely and unquestionably worth as much as a hundred 10€ wines.

The subtext of many of these questions is "how can people justify spending so much on wine, when a 10€ wine tastes perfectly fine?"

Whether an expensive wine is worth it to a particular individual depends on how much they like the individual wines, whether they are a collector (i.e. they value ownership of wine in and of itself), whether they are buying for an investment, and in particular how well stocked their cellar is at different price points.

In the end you still have to go back to market value though. That's the only way you measure worth of anything.

When people pay 1,000€ a bottle, they aren’t really paying for additional wine quality. They are paying for rarity.

People like rare things. Collectors want to collect unique wine experiences and build up their list.

People like me will choose the different over the better. If you don’t get kicks out of exclusivity, then just by whatever you like the most. However, you really can’t know for sure that you don’t like that 1,000€ one more until you try it. Remember though, that price is only that high because of rarity, it isn’t inherently better.

To sum up then. When you’re an UHNWI and drink a lot of wine, you reach a point where you’ve already tried much of the wine available.

If you want novelty, you have to seek the extra special, ie, rare. That’s the only way to feel that thrill of the novelty, the rush from the hunt, the satisfaction of finally opening that bottle, and yes, the feeling of superiority that comes along with exclusivity. People are paying for the entire experience, it isn’t just flavor.

Same with anything in the upper tier of luxury, it is about experience and rarity. What makes your offering express experience and rarity?

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