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Why You Like The Wines You Like

Do you ever wonder why you like a wine and your spouse or friend doesn’t? Are you intimidated when someone raves about a wine that you find only ordinary? Tim Hanni, Master of Wine, tackles the questions in a lengthy (234 pages) soft cover book that intends “to empower wine consumers by providing a new understanding of personal wine preferences and insights into the wine preferences of others.”

After nearly twenty years of researching consumer wine preferences, Hanni has identified four distinct groups of people he calls Vinotypes. Finding your Vinotype allows you to discover wines you like and understand why others may have a completely different opinion of the same wine. Feel better already?

Your Vinotype is “a set of observable characteristics resulting from the interaction of your genotypic sensory sensitivities in a wine related environment.” A simplified Vinotype sensitivity self assessment is offered in the book (a complete online version is available at I took the assessment and turned out to be “Sensitive” (the four categories are Sweet, Hypersensitive, Sensitive and Tolerant). The “Sensitive” category fit me to a tee: open to trying new things; satisfied with more delicate wines, yet able to tolerate, if not enjoy, full blown, high intensity wines; and tend to seek out better balanced, less oaky, and less over-the-top wines over time.

Armed with your Vinotype i.d., you can understand why you enjoy a certain style of wine and allow you to determine for yourself what good wine is or is not to you. You can become self-assured about your wine preferences as Hanni points out, “Do not be embarrassed or timid in sharing your personal wine preferences whatever they may be!”

The book’s paradigms are supported by scientific research and many delusions are debunked. The tongue, for example, is not mapped into four areas - sweet, sour, salty and bitter, but instead, the entire tongue can sense all of these tastes more or less equally. The one hundred point scale (OPHS) popularized by Robert Parker is really a 50-point scale since no wine can score less than 50 points by this method. Wine experts are not somehow specially endowed with super powers or sensory superiority.

The book is rather exhaustive and a bit repetitive, but the message is clear and one that any wine lover can understand and embrace. Drink what you like and like what you drink. Available from for $22.50.

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