- There are traditional food and wine pairings – such as sea food and white wine
- But these pairings can miss the mark, leaving people intimidated or dissatisfied
- Instead, wine researchers say that these pairings should be scrapped
- They say there should be consumer-focused approach because people generally fit into certain wine-drinking preference categories, or ‘vinotypes’
White wine with sea food and red wine with steak are just some traditional pairings for food and wine.
But these pairings often miss the mark, leaving people confused and intimidated – and some may not even like the wine suggested.
Instead, researchers say that these should be scrapped in favor of a consumer-focused approach because people generally fit into certain wine-drinking preference categories, or ‘vinotypes’.
Researchers say that traditional wine and food pairings should be scrapped in favor of a consumer-focused approach because people generally fit into certain wine-drinking categories, or ‘vinotypes’
The study, conducted by researchers at Michigan State University and published in the International Journal of Wine Business Research, suggests that servers and sommeliers should consider these individual preferences when suggesting a wine.
For example, a traditional wine recommendation for a beef roast is Cabernet Sauvignon, but why would a server suggest a bold red wine if the customer doesn’t like it?
Carl Borchgrevink, a former chef and restaurant manager and the lead author of the study, says that customers should drink their favorite wine with their meal instead.
WHAT VINOTYPE ARE YOU?
Tim Hanni, a chef and one of the first American’s to earn the ‘Master of Wine’ qualification, proposes that there are four primary vinotypes – individual wine preference categories.
The categories are:
Sweet: People in the sweet category tend to be very picky about their wines and other things – like linens and the texture of clothes fabric. They have a preferences for sweet wines that are light and delicate and very flavorful, and may find that other wines and hard alcohol, or even altoids, taste way too strong or bitter. About 70% of the sweet vinotype category consists of women, and 30% are men.
Hypersensitive: People in this category tend to be picky like those in the sweet category, however the more adventurous in the group like to explore new wines, but still with very clean preferences. It’s likely that these people think that television is too loud when someone turns it on, or that the thermostat is never at the right temperature.
Sensitive: People in this category are in the center of the sensory sensitivity spectrum. This is the largest segment and people in this category enjoy a wide range of wine styles. They are flexible, adaptable and adventurous. These people also tend to be more free-spirited and less rigid in life. They tend to be moderators and may struggle with making big decisions.
Tolerant: People in this category crave intensity and lots of flavor, and can’t understand how others may drink ‘wimpy’ wines. They tend to be decisive and more linear thinkers. Their wine preferences point to rich, very intensely flavored whites and full-bodied reds.
‘The palate rules – not someone else’s idea of which wine we should drink with our food,’ said Borchgrevink, associate professor and interim director of MSU’s School of Hospitality Business.
‘They shouldn’t try to intimidate you into buying a certain wine.
‘Instead, they should be asking you what you like.’
Borchgrevink and culinary expert Allan Sherwin conducted the first study into Tim Hanni’s vinotype theory, which proposes that wine preferences are determines by both genetics and environment and that such tastes change over time based on experiences.
Hanni, a chef and one of the first American’s to earn the ‘Master of Wine’ qualification, proposes that there are four primary vinotypes: sweet, hypersensitive, sensitive and tolerant.
These categories range from a preference for sweet, fruity white wines (sweet vinotype) to those who enjoy bold, strong red (tolerant), and everyone in between.
Hanni also created a series of criteria to determine which vinotype a person belongs to.
A new study by researchers Carl Borchgrevink, right, and Allan Sherwin from MSU’s School of Hospitality Business suggests wine drinkers know what’s right for them when it comes to pairing food and wine
For example, if you like sweet drinks such as sofa and you put a lot of salt on your food, you’re more likely to belong to the sweet vinotype.
But, if you like strong black coffee and intense flavors, you’re more likely to fall in the tolerant category.
To conduct the study, the researchers surveyed a group of adults on food and beverage preferences, as well as their consumption patterns.
They also held a food and wine reception with 12 stations where participants rated the food and wine presented at each station individually, and then together.
The results showed that the vinotype theory has some merit: the researchers were able to predict wine preferences based on consumption patterns and preferences.
White wine with sea food and red wine steak are just some traditional pairings of food and wine. But researchers say that these should be scrapped in favor of a consumer-focused approach because people generally fit into certain wine-drinking categories, or ‘vinotypes’
The next step the researchers will take is to test the vinotype theory outright by working with scholars globally, and separate studies are being planned with partners from around the US as well as from Hong Long, France and other countries.
According to the researchers, the work has implications for restaurants and wine stores, which they say should train their staff members on the vinotype approach and find questions to ask consumers that can uncover their wine preferences.
But Sherwin says that the main focus is the wine-drinker, who should learn to trust their own palate and not necessarily depend on experts.
‘At the end of the day it’s going to be the consumer that has the final say,’ Sherwin says.
‘They’re going to be the arbiter.’
According to the researchers, the work has implications for restaurants and wine stores, which they say should train their staff members on the vinotype approach and find questions to ask consumers that can uncover their wine preferences