• Theresa Downs

Just What Kind of Wine Drinker Are You?





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People often ask me what type of wine I like best. Usually, I hedge an answer because I really do not have a "best." But, it got me thinking about just why I do like the wines I like. Is there some profound, primordial reason why I choose one grape variety over another? Am I attracted to color versus texture versus sweetness or some other component altogether?

Since research is what I do, I set out to find out just what type of wine drinker I am. Here is what I found out.

There are several approaches one can use to come up with the definitive wine drinkers guide. Some wine experts classify wine drinkers based on what tastes people prefer. Others hone in on people's behaviors when tasting and selecting their favorite wine. There are tons of articles describing different wine tasting behaviors accompanied with catchy titles (check out Wine Folly's humorous take and see if you recognize yourself: https://winefolly.com/lifestyle/what-type-of-wine-drinker-are-you/). However, for this exercise, I'm concentrating on more of a scientific approach. What's interesting is that wine experts are aligning certain personality behaviors with wine preferences.

Tim Hanni, Master of Wine and the consummate wine expert (http://timhanni.com/), has devised a tasting matrix that categorizes wine drinkers into four groups: Sweet, Hypersensitive, Sensitive, and Tolerant.


Breaking it down, drinkers who fall into the Sweet category prefer light, delicate, sweet wines that have can have strict criteria about wines they drink. (Most of the articles stated that the majority of female drinkers fall into this category, something I'm not sure I agree with).

Hypersensitive drinkers are relatively particular about their wine and prefer clean and crisp wine. They're sensitive to stimuli in general, or so it seems, including loud noises and changes in temperature.

Sensitive drinkers (the category in which most drinkers fall into) enjoy varied wine tastes. Deemed both flexible, adventurous, and more free-spirited, they can go from a light white wine to the full-bodied red wine without blinking an eye.

The last category, Tolerant, exemplifies drinkers that go for the bold. There will be no delicate white wines for these drinkers; only the most full-bodied red wine will do.

So, what is the point of this exercise? Wine experts feel that if people can figure out what tastes they enjoy, they will be able to select wines that they will genuinely like (and not just based on what someone tells them that they should like). So, the idea of white wine with white food goes out the window if you really, really love that Zinfandel, even with oysters! And, hopefully, people will begin to experiment out of a sense of adventure and not just dutifully following an archaic rule (kind of like not wearing white after Labor Day).

So, here's to drinking more wine and having more fun.

Till next time.