Select Page

Find your vinotype: There’s a reason you like the wines you like

Find your vinotype: There’s a reason you like the wines you like


There’s a reason you like the wines you like; see where your taste buds fit

The concept of “vinotypes” challenges conventional thinking about wine. The notion of supertasters—people with heightened sensitivity to a relatively narrow group of compounds—is bandied about quite a lot in wine circles. The implication is that they are superior tasters and anyone who claims to be a wine expert must, by definition, be a supertaster.

Not true, according to Tim Hanni, the Napa-based Master of Wine who developed vinotyping after 20 years of research into consumer wine preferences, behaviours and attitudes. In his book Why you Like the Wines You Like, he writes that supertaster “is an unfortunate term, misleading at best.”

True, a person with more taste buds (a matter of normal physiology or genetics) is bound to have a stronger sensation of taste. However, Hanni says many supersenstives have trouble enjoying wine “due to the burning and bitterness they experience.”

Count the taste buds and there is still no uniformity in tasting know-how. A myriad of other variables such as an individual’s wine tasting experience, training, enthusiasm for the grape, involvement in the industry or tasting groups, and the influence of culture come into play.

Answer a few questions, “a grossly oversimplified vinotype sensitivity self-assessment” in Hanni’s book or online at, and you can discover what vinotype category you fit in, along with personality traits based on Hanni’s research.

Acutely sensitive to light, sound, touch and taste, Sweet types “want sweet tastes to mask bitterness and alcohol in wine.” Typically female (three to one), Sweets prefer delicate, fragrant, sweet wine with any food, even steak.

Hanni substitutes the term Hypersensitive—the largest category comprising over a third of men and women—for “supertaster” as it “is less superior-sounding” and “improves our understanding of consumers.” Inhabiting a “sensory cacophony,” Hypersensitives really like Pinot Grigio and prefer a slight sweetness in their Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon.

A quarter of respondents fall into the category of Sensitives and are adventurous in their tastes. They are open to and enjoy a wide range of wines from light and delicate to big and bold, although they may steer clear of the more bitter flavour of wines with high tannins.

Males dominate the segment Hanni identifies as Tolerants by a hefty two to one. These wine drinkers are after the high alcohol content of big, heavy reds and revel in wines high in bitterness and tannin. Their motto is “no wimpy wines.”

Have some fun, take the test and learn more about your vinotype.

Photo: Tasters sampling Recline Ridge wines may fall into one of four distinct vinotypes.

As seen in:

winter-getaways-okanagan-lifeOur February issue features the Good Life in the Okanagan from big bold red wines to winter staycations. It's a Journey to the Dream Job with Dona Sturmanis and a feature on Pension Peril from freelancer Dawn Renaud.  We’re also in the kitchen with Okanagan chef Nik Theodorakis of Theo's Restaurant, a long standing best restaurant award winner.

Related Post

About The Author

Michael Botner

Wine columnist for Okanagan Life Magazine, Michael Botner authors our High Spirits feature. Trained as a chartered accountant, Michael now devotes his time and energy to Accounting for Taste, a company dedicated to demystifying wine. As a wine consultant, Michael has chaired a number of international wine competitions. More posts

30,000 giveaway for small business okanagan

Current Issue

yearly-subscribeDigital Edition - Yearly Subscription

Each month, we're giving away 30 free annual subscriptions to celebrate our 30th year in publishing! With a digital subscription, you can enjoy Okanagan Life on your tablet.

Upcoming Events

6:00 pm Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate
Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate
Jan 24 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate | West Kelowna | BC | Canada
Join us on Wednesday’s for our long table dinners, each time exploring a different theme or region in the world. Enjoy 3 family-style courses for $55 per person (plus tax & gratuity). January 10: France[...]
6:00 pm Wine Education Seminar: Through ... @ Quails' Gate
Wine Education Seminar: Through ... @ Quails' Gate
Jan 25 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Wine Education Seminar: Through the Ages - Vertical Tasting @ Quails' Gate | West Kelowna | BC | Canada
At Quails’ Gate – we love wine! We love drinking it – making it and learning about it so we’re launching a new set of fun and interactive wine education sessions to share some of[...]
11:30 am Luncheon featuring Mayor Basran ... @ Coast Capri Hotel
Luncheon featuring Mayor Basran ... @ Coast Capri Hotel
Jan 26 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Luncheon featuring Mayor Basran - State of the City @ Coast Capri Hotel | Kelowna | BC | Canada
Mayor Colin Basran is the Chamber of Commerce’s guest speaker on January 26th providing his annual State-of-the-City address to a sold out crowd, about the past year’s successes, challenges and look ahead to where Council[...]
10:00 am The 2018 Scotties Tournament of ... @ South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC)
The 2018 Scotties Tournament of ... @ South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC)
Jan 27 @ 10:00 am – Feb 4 @ 1:00 pm
The 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts @ South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC) | Penticton | BC | Canada
The country’s best women’s curling teams will not only be chasing a Canadian championship, they’ll also be playing under a new format at the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, B.C. The Canadian women’s[...]


Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match