Tim Hanni and I have been exploring the ways differences in taste sensitivity relate to wine preferences.
Through his many years of experience, Tim observed that people differ considerably in their wine preferences, and that wine education (contrary to what one might think) has relatively little effect on fundamental preferences. He concluded that these preferences are related to individual differences in taste sensitivity. He has divided people into four groups: "sweet," "sensitive," "smooth," and "tolerant."
Data collected from more than two thousand on-line surveys analyzed by the Taste Science Laboratory support these distinctions. In particular, they show a dramatic contrast between people who prefer sweeter wines - the "sweet" people - and those who appreciate the big reds, whom Tim has called "tolerant" because they can tolerate the high alcohol content and intense flavors of "big" red wine. Among many differences: confidence in wine choices and cocktail consumption.
For more details concerning these findings, please go to the PDF version of our report. Note that we are refining these classifications and their characteristics as we progress through the analysis of the data, so stay tuned!