The Economics of Wine

Lecture Series

January 25, 2015


Assembly Hall

Back by popular demand after last year's sold-out event, we are fortunate to once again host divinity school alumnus Bill St. John, AM'77, AM'80, PhD'83, wine taster extraordinaire and wine writer for the Chicago Tribune.  He is joined by economist Ira Goldberg, MBA'91, for this wine tasting!  Join these two experts as they discuss the economic factors behind wine preferences.

Wine appears to be all about a matter of tasting; people decide what flavors they like and purchase wines accordingly. Yet much affects why you buy this or that bottle of wine - much beyond that you believe you'll enjoy the taste of what's in it. Its very availability to you is governed by factors that name it, label it, move it, tax it, price it and sell it.  Perhaps a wine writer or critic influenced (or, in truth, made) your decision to buy it.  Maybe you used price as a market signal representing quality. Or perhaps you do not purchase it to drink it but to use it for another purpose - to keep it, value it, or sell it. All these possibilities are consistent with an economic view where tasting is just one component of tastes and preferences, which form the foundation for demand theory. Mr. Goldberg will discuss why this is so and Mr. St. John will share what's come from the factory of economics, laws and winemaking. In true Chicago form, we will test our own preference functions with the wines of the day.

Tickets are $25 and available at The cost includes a wine tasting, souvenir wine glass, and appetizers.  The event is currently wait-list only.

Sponsored by the International House Global Voices Program and the Alumni Club of Chicago. Must be 21 years or older to attend this event. 

Bill St. John

Ira Goldberg