Research finds there are four types of wine drinker
Wine drinkers fit into four different preference categories according to Tim Hanni MW, who believes that wine preferences are determined by genetics.
Hanni asserts that people can usually be grouped into one of four ‘vinotypes’: sweet, hypersensitive, sensitive and tolerant.
In addition to genetics, Hanni believes that wine preferences are determined by your environment and that people’s tastes change over time based on experiences.
Formed predominantly of women, ‘sweet’ types are picky wine drinkers and have a preference for light and delicate sweet wines. They tend to find other types of wine too harsh in alcohol or strong in flavour.
‘Hypersensitive’ types are more adventurous than sweet types and like to explore new wines, but prefer clean styles that aren’t too loud on the flavour front.
Hanni puts ‘sensitive’ types at the centre of the sensory sensitivity spectrum. They are flexible, free-spirited, adaptable and adventurous and enjoy a wide range of wine styles. According to Hanni, the majority of wine drinkers fall into this category.
Finally, ‘tolerant’ types crave intensity and powerful flavours and can’t understand why others drink “wimpy” wines. They have a preference for rich, full-bodied wines.
Researchers at Michigan State University recently put Hanni’s theory to the test by surveying a group of adults on food and drink preferences and consumption patterns.
Participants were also asked to rate food and wine at 12 different tables both individually and paired together. Hanni’s theory was found to hold some weight as the researchers were able to predict wine preferences based on consumption patterns and preferences.
The study found that vinotypes correlate with other food and drink preferences, with sweet types showing a preference for fizzy drinks and tolerant types enjoying strong coffee.
“The palate rules, not someone else’s idea of which wine we should drink with our food,” said former chef Carl Borchgrevink, lead author of the study.
Hanni, a former chef, is one of the first Americans to be crowned a Master of Wine, earning the title in 1990. Known as the ‘flavour maven’, Hanni believes his vinotype theory should be used by sommeliers and retailers when suggesting wines to customers.
Hanni lectures around the world on flavour balancing, sensory sciences and culinary history.