I am delighted to introduce you to Tim Hanni’s VinoType system. This past weekend, I had the privilege of hearing Tim Hanni speak at WineShop At Home’s national convention. Tim Hanni is one of approximately 300 people worldwide who earned the title Master of Wine. The examination associated with this title has something like an eight percent pass rate – definitely not something for the faint of heart.
When you meet a Master of Wine like Tim, you assume that he will be a wine snob. After all, there are plenty of wine snobs roaming around who don’t have nearly the credentials that Tim has. So you kind of feel like Tim is entitled to be a wine snob – maybe even a Master Wine Snob ☺
Well, the moment you meet Tim, you discover that he is anything but a wine snob. He is down to earth, amazingly interesting, and incredibly funny. And his mission is to take the intimidation out of wine. Woo hoo!!! Cheers to Tim!!!
VinoType Is to Wine What Myers Briggs Is to Personality
Tim introduced us to a wonderful concept called VinoType, which is a way to categorize individuals to understand their wine preferences based on their individual physiology and life experience. I like to think of it as the wine equivalent to the Myers Briggs test.
How Many Taste Buds Do You Have?
Tim told us that a key physiological factor in VinoTyping is the number of taste buds a person has. The range is very large, from 500 to 11,000. The average is 3,000 taste buds.
The term Super Taster was created for people at the high end of the range. Tim explained to us that these people don’t always feel so super. They struggle with being incredibly sensitive.
If you have 500 taste buds in your mouth, tasting a big, bad red wine is relatively easy. You don’t have very many taste buds to tingle. If you have 10,000 taste buds in your mouth, that same red wine can figuratively set your mouth on fire.
Are Sweet Drinkers Unsophisticated? No!
Tim threw the notions out the window that sweet wine drinkers are unsophisticated and that big, bad red drinkers are sophisticated. He said that sweet wine drinkers tend to have more taste buds and are therefore more sensitive, while big, bad red drinkers tend to have far fewer taste buds and are less sensitive.
Tim also gave us a little history lesson that I found really interesting. He said that before World War II, sweet wine was more expensive than dry wine. After World War II, technological improvements made the making of sweet wine much cheaper. So sweet wine became very popular. But because of its cheapness, it was put down and thought of in a lowly way.
Given thousands of years of wine history, this recent disrespect for sweet wine should be treated as a hiccup in the history of wine.
We Should Honor and Respect All Wine Drinkers
The long and short of it is that we should honor and respect all wine drinkers, regardless of the wine they drink. Tim urged us to “understand, embrace and cultivate ALL wine drinkers.” Amen to that, brother.
I will be sharing more of Tim’s VinoType information in my wine tastings. If you would like to host a tasting, please let me know!