The holidays can be a stressful time at home. With mom working tirelessly in the kitchen to make the perfect mashed potatoes and your uncles hammering you on where your life is headed — it's perfectly normal for you to want a glass of wine to help with the stress. And since you're at home, you might as well ditch the two dollar wine and check out your parents' collection.

But, can you even tell the difference between cheap wine and the fancy stuff? I took four Franzia-loving college students and put them to the test. We did a blind test taste to see if we were sophisticated enough to even bother with our parents' wine. I was hoping living near Napa would give us a more ~sophisticated~ palate, but the results were surprising.

The Wine

To make it interesting, we tested both Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Trader Joe's in Lafayette, California didn't have Franzia (not going to lie — disappointed in you TJ's), but they did have an incredibly cheap Postulate wine brand, which seems to be California's version of Franzia (because California always has to one up everyone).

Our cheap white wine was $4 (for the equivalent of two bottles) and and the red was $7 for the same amount. Our fancy white was a Wente Riva Ranch Chardonnay, which cost us $14 and the fancy red (which was 'borrowed' from my dad) was a Franciscan Cabernet Sauvignon, which cost us/(him) an outrageous $65. 

The Test

I asked my friends Colleen, Nate, Brandon, and Scott to join me for this grand event. For each wine, I gave them two unmarked mystery cups, one with the boxed juice and one with the good stuff. To make things more interesting, I also had my parents try the test.

Everyone came armed with their own methods of wine tasting. Brandon smelled each to see which had traces of being aged in a superior barrel. Scott looked to see which was more transparent. Nate tried to pick his favorite, but did so with confidence. And, lastly, Colleen relied on the intimate knowledge of wine she had developed from past tastings.

The Results

red wine, white wine, liquor, alcohol, wine
Steven Baboun

The white wine proved to be the hardest. Everyone except for Colleen, who was familiar with Wente, thought that the boxed stuff was the more expensive wine. There seemed to be a general consensus that the boxed wine just tasted better (sorry Wente). However, my parents managed to pick out the bottle and put as all to shame.

Despite Nate's supreme confidence, he was the only one who thought the box was the more expensive red wine. The price difference was significantly higher, and everyone agreed it was easier to pick out the fancy red wine. However, despite the bouge, the opinions were split as to whether the box or the bottle actually tasted better. We had to taste a couple of more samples just to truly decide. My parents tasted the box and immediately discerned that it wasn't the bottle — again putting us to shame.

grape, alcohol, red wine, wine
Emma Delaney

The overall consensus seemed to be that with white wine, the difference is barely noticeable, so don't bother springing for the nicer stuff. With the red, it was more of a matter of taste, but when your taste is Franciscan Cabernet, you're out of luck because there's no way to afford it without giving up all hopes of eating that week. My advice? As a college student or a post-grad kid, stick to the box. It might not taste as sophisticated, but it's still decent and it won't kill your wallet.