Betty's Wine Musings
Close this search box.
Tim Hanni Created the VinoType System
Tim Hanni Created the VinoType System

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!


As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Betty Kaufman, WineShop At Home

As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!

Cheers, Betty Kaufman
WineShop At Home

Related Posts


  1. Entertaining and informative post, Betty! I’m looking forward to hearing more. I’m not a fan of sweet wine and it’s interesting to think of that in terms of how many taste buds I might have. I will say, however, that sweet wine is better than no wine. 🙂

    1. You are so funny. I’m not sure that drinking a wine you don’t like is better than drinking no wine. I have to think about that. We will do a test the next time I present at BABRG to see where we all end up. It will be a lot of fun.

  2. Very interesting information about the taste buds, Betty! I had to smile to myself as I read about the “big, bad red drinkers”. My ex-husband is one of those, and can be quite snobby about what he’ll drink. Now I know he just doesn’t have the buds he thinks he does! hee hee I’ve never been one to judge people based on what wine they drink, for the very reasons you state here. We all taste things differently, and it’s about drinking what we enjoy. :-] Thanks for sharing!

  3. That explains why I love me some Pink White Zin….. I have MORE taste buds then your average bear. 🙂 Just kidding. Though I do not mind some white zin mixed with diet 7 up on occasion.

    The science of the taste buds. Who knew! Interesting read, Betty.

  4. Hi Betty,
    It was fun taking the quiz, and thank you for posting this informative blog. I found reading the personalized results box a little confusing . . . yet I think the concept is very cool! The more I read about tastes, styles, etc. in many areas, the more I realize (I know, better late than never!) that you should just “dig” what you “dig” and not over-think it too much! xoxo,C.

    1. I wish you could have seen Tim in person. I’m sure he’ll be back next year. He is as good as they get. And the new notes we have from him for our tastings are great. Let me know if you want to talk about any of it.

  5. I took the test ( that was fun!) and am a Sensitive drinker that needs smooth wines, and Yes, that is definitely right! I kinda knew that already! This was a very informative and interesting post…Tim sounds like a real gem! I look forward to learning more about what you learned from him; wish I knew more people that I could host a wine tasting for! Wish my family were not so darn far away!

  6. Fascinating read Betty! I’d love to know how to tell how many taste buds I have. I love a good glass of wine and tend to prefer reds over whites, but am willing to try anything! Tim sounds like a really cool guy. Hip Hip Hooray for wine drinkers no matter what they like!

  7. That is so interesting! What does it mean if I like me a big, bad red one day
    and say, that de-lish Muscat another? I like to think of myself as an equal opportunity
    drinker, but maybe I have wacky buds! Thanks for sharing, Betty, I feel a little more wine-smart every time I read! Cheers!

    1. I am exactly like you. So I was really curious where I was going to land in Tim’s 4-title world. I landed as “Sensitive.” My guess is that that is where you will land too. We will do the test soon.

  8. I found this article VERY interesting. I know some serious wine snobs who only drink big bad reds. Now I can tell them that are lacking buds. LOL. I must have many buds as I enjoy both sweet and big reds.

    The historical part was fascinating as well. Thanks for the great article.


  9. What a fascinating read, Betty! I grew up in Germany, and I recall just loving the fairly sweet (and also not cheap) high quality Rhein / Mosel / Saar / Ruwer wines. I wondered what happened in the meantime, and why most of the wines one sees on the shelves today in US grocery stores from Germany are so cheap and not that good. This explains at least some of it!
    So my question for you is – how to locate those very tasty and somewhat sweet wines from my younger days? They must be out there somewhere. I do recall that some of your Wine Shop at Home sweeter wines do remind me somewhat of the wines of my youth.

    1. Interesting. I’m guessing that those wines don’t ever get exported to the US – that they are consumed entirely by the Germans and Brits. I bet some a really good wine store could provide some guidance. I have 2 I can recommend.

Leave a Reply

Recent Posts