How one joke harmed Merlot sales for years | Nudge Newsletter 🧠

The joke that killed Merlot.

In 2004 the movie Sideways featured the character Miles, a wine connoisseur on a tour of wineries in California.

Miles, a heartbroken, miserable divorcé, who, in an effort to cheer himself up, goes on a wine tour with his friend Jack.

The film did wonders for the sales of Santa Barbara wines. Except for one variety: merlot.

Here’s why:

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Miles opted for pinot noir instead, for which sales have since skyrocketed.

When Sideways premiered in 2004, merlot made up close to 20 percent of California’s red wine market. A few years later, it dropped to 13 percent.

In the same period, pinot noir sales grew 16 percent.

Simply believing that the masses prefer pinot noir-results in us following that behaviour.

We change our behaviour, our memory, our actions, and our beliefs to match the herd.



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Nudge Newsletter

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