Betty's Wine Musings

Ten years ago, I introduced you to Vinotypes. These are the wine equivalent to a Myers Briggs test of personality. The wonderful Master of Wine Tim Hanni created these a number of years ago. He came up with four Vinotype personas: Sweet, Hypersensitive, Sensitive and Tolerant. Let’s explore this wonderful new world today.

Who Is Tim Hanni?

Tim Hanni, Master of Wine
Tim Hanni, Master of Wine

Tim is one of approximately 300 people worldwide who earned the title Master of Wine, and he was one of the first two Americans to earn the title. The Master of Wine examination is incredibly hard and has about an eight percent pass rate – definitely not something for the faint of heart.

When you meet Tim, you might assume that he would be a wine snob. The incredible news is he’s not. He is totally down to earth and he’s incredibly funny. When you get to attend a lecture of his, you will be rolling on the ground. Guaranteed. His mission is to take the intimidation out of wine. Isn’t that wonderful? Wouldn’t it be great if all wine experts could have that same goal?

WineShop At Home has been privileged to work with Tim for the last 10+ years.

Why Is Knowing Your Vinotype So Important?

Vinotypes give you a way to categorize yourself and others to understand their wine preferences based on their individual physiology and life experience.

If you tried a Black Muscat and loved it, you might fall into the Sweet persona. If you tried a big, bad red and loved it, perhaps you fall into the Tolerant category. But we can’t know that for certain unless you take the short quiz. When you take the quiz, you learn your primary Vinotype. Rest assured that you can enjoy wines from the other categories as well, but the wines in your category will be your go-to comfort-food wine.

At WineShop At Home, we’ve categorized all of our wines by their Vinotype category.

Wines by Your Vinotype
Wines by Your Vinotype

So, if you’re a Sensitive drinker, you can click on the link and see the wines we believe you will like the best.

Sensitive Wines
Sensitive Wines

Having this information will help you make good wine buying decisions, whether you’re buying from WineShop At Home or another supplier.

What Factors Contribute to Your Vinotype?

Tim told us that a key physiological factor is the number of taste buds a person has. You can have as few as 500 and as many as 11,000. The average is 3,000 taste buds.

If you have 500 taste buds in your mouth, tasting a big, bad red wine should be relatively easy. You don’t have very many taste buds in your mouth to tingle. On the other extreme, if you have 10,000 taste buds in your mouth, you can literally set your mouth on fire by drinking that same red wine.

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 super. Their incredible sensitivity can be a real struggle for them.

In addition to the number of taste buds somebody has, Tim came up with a number of other interesting factors, including whether your mom had morning sickness when she was pregnant with you, whether you clip the labels out of your clothing, whether you like tea and whether you play team sports or solo sports. I highly recommend that you read Tim’s writeups on each persona. They are fantastic.

Are Tolerant Wine Drinkers Superior to Sweet Wine Drinkers?

No, no, no. Tim argues that big, bad red drinkers are likely to have far fewer taste buds, which makes them less sensitive. Sweet drinkers tend to have many more taste buds, making them more sensitive.

Very interestingly, Tim told us that before World War II, sweet wine was more expensive than dry wine. After World War II, technological improvements made it less expensive to make sweet wine. 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.

What Is the Bottom Line?

We should honor and respect all wine drinkers, regardless of the wine they drink. In fact, we should celebrate other people liking other wines, because it gives you more of the wine you like to enjoy. Tim urged us to “understand, embrace and cultivate ALL wine drinkers.” Amen to that, brother.


BettyPhotoCircularAs 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

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

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