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Tim Hanni

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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:40 pm

Hoke wrote:And I'm amazed: how did you ever get your fingers to work fast enough to keep up with your mind? You're actually able to sustain written coherency much longer than you used to.


New meds - had to give up the psychadelics and amphetamines. Made people go cross-eyed. :shock: I think someone should do their MW dissertation of the effects of meth labs on night harvesting in Lake County vineyards...
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by David Creighton » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:56 pm

Tim - thanks for joining. It sounds as though you may think that the author of that article was more enthusiastic than accurate. And maybe so.....

The science is one thing; the interpretation is another. The science you are involved in – if it is rigorous enough – is very interesting. In fact I have a question. Mostly you are involved in ‘taste’ in the literal sense of ‘what the tongue tells us’; NOT what the nose tells us, which is most of what most of us find interesting in wine. Is there any science that shows whether taste and smell vary together, i.e. do people with fewer taste buds also have fewer olfactory receptors?

As to the assertion that there is no common language for wine, how would you be able to conduct any research if this were true. Presumably you ask questions of your subjects and these questions contain words about what they taste – possibly ‘wine words’ like sweet, bitter, etc, and they answer them, and they are the basis of your scientific conclusions. And their can’t even be ‘more or less agreement’, if there is no common language. How would we even know we were agreeing? A truly honest believer in the ‘private language’ philosophy must simply keep quiet – at least about taste; though of course one wonders if our visions and touch and smell vary as much as taste. If so then there really is no common language for anything – a universal and unavoidable tower of Babel.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Rahsaan » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:23 pm

Tim Hanni wrote:Our palates don't 'mature.' Our brains get rewired. There are so many wrong assumptions it is impossible to even know where to begin!


Now I wouldn't necessarily advocate forcing people to buy wines they don't like, but I'm not sure how this nuance of palate vs brain changes the point. Newcomers to wine often don't know how to taste. They don't roll the wine in their mouth, they swallow too quickly, etc. As a result, they are looking for something sweet and strong tasting. But, once they get accustomed to appreciating the nuances of the wine, they may change their purchasing habits and preferences.

Are you arguing against that?
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:29 pm

David Creighton wrote:Tim - thanks for joining. It sounds as though you may think that the author of that article was more enthusiastic than accurate. The science you are involved in – if it is rigorous enough – is very interesting. In fact I have a question. Mostly you are involved in ‘taste’ in the literal sense of ‘what the tongue tells us’; NOT what the nose tells us, which is most of what most of us find interesting in wine. Is there any science that shows whether taste and smell vary together, i.e. do people with fewer taste buds also have fewer olfactory receptors?

As to the assertion that there is no common language for wine, how would you be able to conduct any research if this were true. Presumably you ask questions of your subjects and these questions contain words about what they taste – possibly ‘wine words’ like sweet, bitter, etc, and they answer them, and they are the basis of your scientific conclusions. And their can’t even be ‘more or less agreement’, if there is no common language. How would we even know we were agreeing? A truly honest believer in the ‘private language’ philosophy must simply keep quiet – at least about taste; though of course one wonders if our visions and touch and smell vary as much as taste. If so then there really is no common language for anything – a universal and unavoidable tower of Babel.


Hi David - looks like you are softening a bit. Is there a possibility we can be friends and you may like me one day? You are gonna hafta stop with the little digs like, "The science you are involved in – if it is rigorous enough – is very interesting."

Yes, the author of the article WAS enthusiastic and relatively accurate but left out innumerable comparisons and counterpoints that put things into a completely different context. I know that you are enthusiastic as well and i am passionately curious why people like to dive into things with virtually no background on a subject like this in such a negative way and with so many cynical and unjust dcomments? I am guessing this is just a trait you have - many people share it and thanks for re-engaing. :D This is a very serious question: do you love salt and did your mother have morning sickness with you? I am deadly serious and let me know. Now, to your questions.

All of what I am looking at is infinately more complicated than can be covered in a meassage board. The science I am involved in is posted there amid the ridicule and hostility of the Steve Heimoff gang :lol: - your will find reams of material and just perusing the list of my mentors and colleagues, the studies and investigations should provide a pretty good sense of the breadth and rigor of the research involved. http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2 ... ment-30884

For a delighful look at emotion and metaphors go to the Guradian author's blog. This one has evolved into a kind and sweet speculation with a really nice lady in Oregon. We will see if the hooligans return in the morning (time zone differential, not vampires): http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/ ... f-comments

Mostly you are involved in ‘taste’ in the literal sense of ‘what the tongue tells us’; NOT what the nose tells us, which is most of what most of us find interesting in wine. No - we are looking at it all, just working from the 'foundation' on up. Including the neural component, brain 'plasticity', studies including fMRI and protein emission tomography showing where information is processed and how it changes. Not to mention what if could possibly mean. AND now trying to meet with George Lakoff at Berkely to include his studies on framing and metaphors that seem to really resonate inside of all this.

I spent 2 years, from 1990 to 1992, just trying to learn how to language things so I could even BEGIN to look at all of this stuff. Here are two essential definitions articulated during that period:
Taste: one of our primary senses (and distinct from smell)
Flavor: any combination of two or more sensations used simutaneously; taste, smell, touch, sight, hearing and also including psychological factors and neural programming as they influence or affect the inerpretations we have of other stimuli.

This is a GREAT question: Is there any science that shows whether taste and smell vary together, i.e. do people with fewer taste buds also have fewer olfactory receptors? It sure looks like it from years of observation! Not only smell but touch, vision and hearing. Sweet and hypersensitive tasters often HATE highly aromatic wines, have to cut the tags off their clothes because they are irritating, the TV is too loud and the thermostat never right! and we cannot find any study for this, and are begging for some grad student to do the friggin' research! Seriously - you cannot even imagine what we are going through to find this data. He'p me out, bro! I have asked 2 new scientists and asked at a lecture at Davis all in just the last week!!!

This is a long, fun and complex exploration:
As to the assertion that there is no common language for wine, how would you be able to conduct any research if this were true. Presumably you ask questions of your subjects and these questions contain words about what they taste – possibly ‘wine words’ like sweet, bitter, etc, and they answer them, and they are the basis of your scientific conclusions. And their can’t even be ‘more or less agreement’, if there is no common language. How would we even know we were agreeing? A truly honest believer in the ‘private language’ philosophy must simply keep quiet – at least about taste; though of course one wonders if our visions and touch and smell vary as much as taste. If so then there really is no common language for anything – a universal and unavoidable tower of Babel.

My assertion 'there is no common language' is much more general in scope, and kinda why Ann Noble doesn't care for me a whole bunch. :( It is a mess in terms of understanding and applications! Just try to establish a meaningful protocol for language, ratings, intensities, discrimination, tolerance, etc. Train a person to look for flaws and their brain becomes rewired to look for flaws. Train them to use an aroma wheel and they will live with the aqroma wheel in their head and maybe in an hour, day or week, have unlearned everything and no longer can relate to the smell they were taught was wet dog, or forever look for the wet dog in every wine. Teach someone to swirl and sniff and tell them to savor the wild Wyoming huckleberries and imagine the wine served with a possum stew in sassafras reduction and their mind will either go 'yeah baby' or 'I really need a cocktail this is all bullsit' or 'I will just sit here and suffer I must be so stupid.' then we show them a tongue map, which is a mistake but most of us still don't know it and 60% of the people out there just wonders, "what is wrong with me, I don't get that?" We have been testing the methodology and protocol for our Consumer Wine Awards at lodi for two years with 'traditional' judges like Dan Berger, Darrel Corti and Dr. Richard Petersen, with my partners Pooch Pucilowski and Aaron Kidder. We tested all the judges for sensitivity and 94% of the flaw detections came from Hypersensitive judges, 6% from Sensative and 0% from the Tolerant group! VERY important stuff to know and explore further.

And THANKS for the reference to the tower of Babel! Seeing that fired neurons that went to a memory of a presentation I did 10 years ago (Hoke - you were there I bet!) for the Society of Wine Educators in the year 2000!

Here is a snippet from my presentation on the Cultural Anthroplogy or the Wine Community:
The fragmented, historically insular (wine) industry generally seems resigned to accepting the wine consumer pool as is rather than aggressively pursuing new markets...And the next decade could easily be referred to by future wine historians as the "years of missed opportunity.”Brand Week, May 1, 2000 (I think this came true!!)

babble: to utter a meaningless confusion of words or sounds (Hebrew babhel).
oenobabble: to utter a meaningless confusion of words or sounds pertaining to the description of wine or rationale for wine and food pairing (Greek oinos, wine + Hebrew babhel, meaningless words).

I talked to much then. I am much better now. I will shut up. Seriously - I can explain it to you. did I ever tell you the story... :lol:
Last edited by Tim Hanni on Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:31 pm

Rahsaan wrote:
Tim Hanni wrote:Our palates don't 'mature.' Our brains get rewired. There are so many wrong assumptions it is impossible to even know where to begin!


Now I wouldn't necessarily advocate forcing people to buy wines they don't like, but I'm not sure how this nuance of palate vs brain changes the point. Newcomers to wine often don't know how to taste. They don't roll the wine in their mouth, they swallow too quickly, etc. As a result, they are looking for something sweet and strong tasting. But, once they get accustomed to appreciating the nuances of the wine, they may change their purchasing habits and preferences.

Are you arguing against that?


Yep. (see - I can too be succinct. It is interesting to note the etymology of the word succinct...)
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Rahsaan » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:13 pm

Tim Hanni wrote:Yep.


So what is your explanation for why people change from liking simple and sweet wine to more tannic, acidic, and 'complex' wine?

And to be clear, I am in no way suggesting that all people who like simple and sweet wine have broken palates. I'm just saying that it can be difficult to appreciate Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Barolo for people who just gulp down wine without thinking about it.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Bob Henrick » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:31 pm

Tim, just to be different I am not going to stir any pots, but did(n't) you used to post here many many years ago? Or, was that on the old Prodigy wine forum when Parker was the wine guru there?
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:44 pm

Hi Rahsaan,

OK - Hoke warned you!
Thanks and it is a great question. AND thanks for acknowledging sweet wine drinkers. Just be aware what might be 'simple' to you may be complex to them, and what is 'complex' to you is horribly bitter and disgusting to 'them.' :roll:

Rahsaan wrote:
Tim Hanni wrote:Yep.


So what is your explanation for why people change from liking simple and sweet wine to more tannic, acidic, and 'complex' wine? neural reprogramming that assigns different places in the brain for stimulus to be processed against new benchmarks for value and positive/negative memories. Many, many people are simply PHYSIOLOGICALLY disinclined to migrate in this way (Sweet Tasters and many Hypersensitive Tasters).

And to be clear, I am in no way suggesting that all people who like simple and sweet wine have broken palates. I'm just saying that it can be difficult to appreciate Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Barolo for people who just gulp down wine without thinking about it.
Who says they are not thinking about it, and who says people don't ulp down Bordeaux, Burgundy and Barolo? It can not only be 'difficult', it can be easy and also nearly impoosible. Your Sensitivity Quotient plays a HUGE role in this part.

The answer to all of these questions lies in a phenomenon called neural plasticity and the way we create new neural assoications over time in response to experiences that will change where and how we process sensory stimuli and the memories that they then become connected to - it is all in our head! I will quote from one of the studies done on this phenomenon. The long and the short of it is that aonce gain it is a very complex subect and the 'conventional wisdoms' for how we explain things do the wine community, wine industry and consumers at large a great deal of justice.

This is one of many studies applying fMRI or PET technologies to study the brain in action processing wine sensatations. this one was done in Italy using sommeliers and 'normal' people. My favorite is one done in Bordeaux with experts conducting a Qualitative Descriptive Analysis of white wines (while being scanned) then repeating the process with red wines. Some of the red wines were the white wines colored red. Oops. AND it turns out the brain simply sees the red color and goes to the part of the brain where red wine descriptors are stored. This is stupidly oversimplified, but that is what you get! I will try to find that study too - it is a hoot. Stanford did a study last year using price and a 100 point scale - outcome was perdicatable.

Here is a link to the study - if you play around a bit you can find it for free:L http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_o ... 80d7ac4aa0

The prefrontal cortex is an associative area of superior order implicated in the planning and use of cognitive strategies. Generally, it is known that the left cerebral hemisphere is predominantly involved in linguistic assignments, and in general in assignments that require an analytical elaboration of the stimuli. The activation found in the prefrontal cortex of the left hemisphere in the sommeliers is therefore consistent with the hypothesis that only experienced subjects follow specific strategies of an analytical nature, perhaps even analytic strategies that are of linguistic kind. For instance, it could be imagined that the sommeliers use some kind of “technical dictionary” of exclusive competence that allows a more efficient recall of previous wine tasting episodes.

The preliminary data of this study highlights the fact that the processing of gustatory stimuli (i.e. taste and olfaction) essentially occurs according to different strategies that are determined by previous experience of wine tasting. Particularly, the specific competence (expertise) of the sommeliers may be associated with the activations in the prefrontal cortex and in the left amygdala-hippocampal complex, both brain areas where different sensory modalities converge and are integrated with previous cognitive, mnemonic, and emotional experiences of the individual. Such integration may lead to the conscious construction of a unitary perceptive experience, and therefore to the recognition of a complex beverage like wine.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:50 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:Tim, just to be different I am not going to stir any pots, but did(n't) you used to post here many many years ago? Or, was that on the old Prodigy wine forum when Parker was the wine guru there?


Hey Bob! That's when everyone hated me for talking about umami! Why the hell did you bring that up, you bastard!! :lol:

Great to hear from you. I do remember that and waiting 10 minutes for 20 words to load and post...

Oh jeez - lookie what I found! I will try to upload a copy of the italian brain thingie...It has color pics! :idea: Lokk Hoke, I is smart, I is smart.
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Sommelier brain ricerca_inglesemitBild.doc
Italian Brains on Wine
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by David Creighton » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:48 pm

tim - so you've traded being condescending and dictating to the masses and wine drinkers and now do it only to us?
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:32 pm

David Creighton wrote:tim - so you've traded being condescending* and dictating to the masses and wine drinkers and now do it only to us?


Apologies - trying to answer what I thought were very pointed and cynical questions and try to have a little fun and truly thought you were getting engaged in the fun. Did I miss something in your posts? Seems like there were accusations of 1. nonesense 2. trivially true ideas 3. a host of bad ones 4. that my assertion that everyone's palate is different is clearly so not possible that one wonders how it gets into print and 5. I am "setting up a straw man."

Maybe Hoke presents a very 'affable' version of my views is because at the end of the day I am a pretty affable guy! I thought you wanted some form of validation of my assertions and I am really going to great lengths to share the information. You are still invited to lunch and I am dead serious.

[quote="David Creighton"]some stuff and lots of nonsense. one or two trivially true ideas, plus a host of bad ones...
...For Hanni, 'everyone's patate is different'. now this is so clearly not possible that one wonders how it gets into print. palates are not like finger prints - and even finger prints have similarities. quote]

[quote="David Creighton"]well, hoke presents a very 'affable' version of Hanni's own views... third party reporters of tim's views may have exagerated them one may say; but on the other hand, they do so so consistently that one really must wonder if they are exagerations. in any event, i propose that Hanni is setting up a straw man** - quote]

*con⋅de⋅scend⋅ing  /ˌkɒndəˈsɛndɪŋ/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kon-duh-sen-ding]
–adjective showing or implying a usually patronizing descent from dignity or superiority: "He resented the poster's condescending tone in a post that referred to his passionate life's work ar trivial, nonesense and proposing he was 'setting up a straw man."

**straw man n.
1) A person who is set up as a cover or front for a questionable enterprise.
2) An argument or opponent set up so as to be easily refuted or defeated.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Rahsaan » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:14 am

Tim Hanni wrote:neural reprogramming that assigns different places in the brain for stimulus to be processed against new benchmarks for value and positive/negative memories. Many, many people are simply PHYSIOLOGICALLY disinclined to migrate in this way (Sweet Tasters and many Hypersensitive Tasters).


We're pretty much saying the same thing although you're focusing on the neural mechanisms and I'm focusing on the general shift. People learn over time. (How's that for succinct :wink:)

The real question is what percentage of the population is physiologically hard-wired to find it extremely difficult to appreciate astringent wine no matter how hard they try? I'm guessing a pretty small percentage.

But I agree that it is a worthwhile quest to bring more understanding to why people taste the way they do. Just as all students don't learn how to read the same way, all people don't taste wine/cheese/chocolate the same way. Perhaps someone can develop a quick test for people to identify the physiological components of their palate in the wine shop, and then use those result to pick out the best bottle.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:33 am

Rahsaan wrote:
Tim Hanni wrote:neural reprogramming that assigns different places in the brain for stimulus to be processed against new benchmarks for value and positive/negative memories. Many, many people are simply PHYSIOLOGICALLY disinclined to migrate in this way (Sweet Tasters and many Hypersensitive Tasters).


We're pretty much saying the same thing although you're focusing on the neural mechanisms and I'm focusing on the general shift. People learn over time. (How's that for succinct :wink:)

The real question is what percentage of the population is physiologically hard-wired to find it extremely difficult to appreciate astringent wine no matter how hard they try? I'm guessing a pretty small percentage.


Yes we are saying much the same thing but when we started to dig deeper we were blown away. And we are focusing on the neural mechanisms, physiological features AND general shift. It turns out that the percentage of the population is quite enormous - and as much as 30% or more of the total available wine consumer market. In my survey work (working on stage II and we have over 8,300 respondents total to work with) we are studying the migration of highly sensative consumers to other beverages. they simply spend money on sweet cocktails, and expecially when they go out. Lots of money and the wine industry is just leaving it on the table. We are also correlating our surveys to others, like Project Genome from Constellation Brands. They found the largest consumer segment to be self-defined (!) as 'overwhelmed', accounted for 23% of all wine consumers yet only spent 11% of the dollars. Also not surprisingly 78% women - very consistent with gender and sensory sensitivity.

Perhaps someone can develop a quick test for people to identify the physiological components of their palate in the wine shop, and then use those result to pick out the best bottle.


We have a BETA site and tweaking it and collecting more info for 10 years, go to www.TasteSQ.com. NOTE: if you have any degree of expertise, wine education etc. this works poorly, but go play! Also, we are conducting a Consumer Wine Awards evaluation in Lodi next March. This, too, has created quite a hubbub. www.consumerwineawards.com for info on that. If you want to see how this relates to wine experts having polar opposite opinions - I will post something from my blog in a minute.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sun Feb 07, 2010 12:40 am

Another kinda fun insight - members of the Anything But Cabernet/Chardonnay movement, people who vehemently decry high alcohol and talk about 'overoaked monsters' are very likely to be Sensative and Hypersensative Tasters. here is the piece, a lot of the stuff is redundant with my earlier posts here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010 swamiofumami.blogspot.com
The Great Cabernet Debate: Hypersensitive vs. Tolerant Tasters
I got so involved responding to a blog by Steve Heimoff today I thought I would tweak it a bit and make my own blog out of it! Lazy bastard that I am. And save your breath on the "this dumbs down wine" and these ideas are "stoopid and moronic." I know, I know. come have lunch with me.

Two radically different perspectives on the "state of the art of Cabernet Sauvignon" have surfaced the information superhighway over the course of about 2 weeks time. Just to be clear, I seriously LOVE both of the guys I will cite below who seem to be so diametrically opposed to each other on this topic. Both are brilliant, passionate men who very probably have VERY different sensory sensitivities that directly affect their experience of Cabernet Sauvignon. But I, on the other hand, give them something to agree on - ME! They both have really passionate, strong and generally negative views on a new initiative I have undertaken to create a process and new event with consumers formally evaluating wine and generating peer-to-peer recommendations. This is being done with my partners Pooch Pucilowski and Aaron Kidder (sorry to drag you guys into this! :-) ).

Steve recently posted a sarcastic (more like a thinly-veiled attack, but maybe I am being hyper-sensitive?) on the Consumer Wine Awards at Lodi event that is one of my pet projects. I take it all in stride (sniff). Conversations I have had with Dan Berger have demonstrated he agrees with Steve in principle that consumers are not generally fit to evaluate wines in a formal tasting situation. Says Steve, "With this breathless hyperventilation, the producers of the latest get-rich-quick “wine awards” gimmick announce yet another effort to 'democratize' wine assessment by taking it away from — gasp! — evil experts like me and handing it over to that ever-popular bastion of populism — the Consumer! We’re seeing these 'consumer-judged wine competitions' multiply like e coli in a petrie (sic) dish..."

The intention is not to take anything away from "evil experts" - just seeing if we can find a way to bring more people into the wine community fold and have them feel welcome. For the whole enchilada go to on this conversation at Steve’s blog go to http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2 ... /#comments .

Below are links to the Berger article and Heiman blog that set this up "great Cabernet debate" so nicely. I have also provided some snippets taken from each.

In one corner we have the Steve Heimoff opinion, “Well, these certainly are wines that have become spectacular in recent years. You really do have to wonder where their evolution will take them. I know some people who don’t like the Napa cult style, which is based on super-mature grapes (with consequent low acidity) and generous dollops of new oak. They’re entitled to their opinion; I happen to like it.” http://www.steveheimoff.com/index.php/2 ... t-can-get/

In the other corner we have this just in from Dan Berger's recent article, "For more than a decade, I have hoped for a miracle. Then last week I realized the worst: Cabernet Sauvignon has changed so appreciably that I fear we’ll never see it in the way we once did... A long book could be devoted to this sad tale of decline."
http://www.napavalleyregister.com/lifes ... 002e0.html

Consider for a moment that on one end of the spectrum we have, Dan Berger, a hypersensitive taster whose tongue, general taste sensitivity and wine preferences I have personally analyzed, is writing about his very real and very passionate views on what Cabernet should or should not be. His hypersensitivity provides an experience such that high alcohol burns and that modern Cabernets and many other wines are over-blown, over-oaked and not nice with food. For Dan, and anyone else with his sensitivity and values, this point of view is dead-on correct: “There are complicated reasons for this turnabout, but the bottom line is that we may have lost cabernet for all time. I can’t drink them young; I can’t imagine they will age well, and I cannot figure out why so many people are still buying them.” Spoken like a true hypersensitive taster! And perfect advice for other hypersensitive and many more-sensitive tasters.

People at the less-sensitive to tolerant end of the spectrum will more predictably LOVE the high-alcohol, oak and intensity that have come to define great Cabernet for the Parker/Laube crowd. And with food as well! The alcohol tastes ’sweet’, the oak and tannin are not at all overbearing and in fact the very same wines are perceived as smooth, rich and balanced. This level of extract and intensity is the source of ‘great’ for many tolerant tasters.

I can pretty much surmise that the getting to the source of these differences in opinion lies in better understanding the vastly different experiences from people at different ends of taste sensitivity continuum. I have not had the pleasure of personally assessing Steve H.’s taste sensitivity profile but will when/if he comes to lunch. I have personally tested thousands of people. I know that people like Tim Mondavi and Jancis Robinson, along with Dan, are both at the hypersensitive end of the spectrum and very predictably in the same camp with Dan Berger on the unpleasant direction things have gone with ‘too much’ oak, ‘too much’ alcohol and their experience that the food and Cabernet affinity is lost in all of this extreme flavor.

Steve responded to my on of my comments on his own blog, "But is a hypersensitive palate necessarily a good thing in a wine critic? I don’t think so." My response - it is not good, not bad. Just different sensory physiology and the source of a lot of unpleasant disagreement between wine critics and experts.

The first thing to understand about what we are looking at is there is not a 'good, bad, better' to taste sensitivity. It just 'is what it is.' Some people have as few as 300 taste buds, others over 10,000 and this plays a very significant role in establishing our individual perception of wine and everything else. All of our senses come into play and taste sensitivity correlates to our sensitivities to smell, sight, touch and hearing as well. A person with way less taste buds has many advantages and the people with the very most taste buds often have preferences that make the wine industry howl in horror! Just ask Dr. Virginia Utermohlen at Cornell University, one of our key research partners who studies this phenomenon in the context of personality development and behavioral traits and is a super/uber/hypersensitive taster. She is one of our 'poster children' for the most sensitive tasters of all - what we call SWEET tasters. If it is over 10% alcohol and less than 3% sugar, count her out. Just like MILLIONS of consumers in the US and BILLIONS around the world.

To Steve H.'s point "But is a hypersensitive palate necessarily a good thing in a wine critic? I don’t think so." Not a good thing, not a bad thing - just a very important thing to understand so that the differences in our opinions, so brilliantly lit up by the 'Great Cabernet Debate', can be better understood in a very cool and valid new way. Also PLEASE keep in mind we are simultaneously studying the psychological phenomena that have us move about with our preferences and passions.

Dan Berger goes on to note rhetorically, “P.S. Is there any connection to the decline in Cabernet style and the dramatically increased sales of pinot noir?”

This actually points to our studies of the migration of more sensitive tasters (NOTE: not inferring “better tasters” or anything of the sort!!!) to lower phenolic wines which they have a more natural tendency to enjoy. Then you can see the Hypersensitive vs. Tolerant division erupt in the same way over Pinot Noir style between the people who love and savor delicacy and finesse vs. the high extract, high alcohol and heavy oak camp (read more tolerant tasters).

Steve then commented on my observations, “As for Tim’s observation that the “decline in Cabernet style” is connected to the rise of Pinot Noir, I don’t agree. Over the course of my career, many experienced collectors told me they started off with Bordeaux/Cabernet, and then, when they got older, found themselves preferring Burgundy/Pinot Noir. I think that’s a natural progression, and not due to any modern style of Cabernet.”

I am saying that the ‘decline in Cabernet style’ is a point of view largely held by hypersensitive, and more sensitive tasters in general, and that the migration to Pinot Noir is more predictable for this sensitivity group. Our research on the subject points to traits which are very typical of a hypersensitive taster's view of things and their often predictable migration to less intense, less bitter and astringent wines. It is not a universal or uniform progression to Burgundy or Pinot Noir, more like the 'March of the More Sensitive Tasters' with a lot of passion and intellectual elements involved! Many people are absolutely satisfied to stay with their intense, extracted and oaky favorites.

Understand the examples I am providing here are greatly generalized insights from the nearly 20 years of observation, research and learning with the participation of really great researchers and scientists around the world. There are variations and mitigating factors that abound in all of this. It is a wonderfully complex and fascinating area of science and learning we are exploring and I invite any and all of you to jump in with us to continue learning more.

My usual response when people get really upset about my point of view is to invite them to lunch. I will reiterate my invitation to Steve H. in his blog: Hell – everyone is invited to my place for lunch to learn what we have discovered and argue and attack all of the premises for my outrages claims. I will cook, and I am serious.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by David Creighton » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:52 am

sorry i got snippy, tim; but it just seemed you were trying to overwhelm us with the erudition. the last post is very interesting - the berger /heimhoff thing. the varying sensitivities of tasters explains their disagreement - no need to determine right or wrong. and this is certainly not an outrageous claim. but i do believe that some of them are and we will just have to disagree.

i guess i have to bone up on your class system. i thought there were three groups; but now it seems there are five or more. hyper sensitive i could figure out; now you've told me what 'sweet' tasters are as well. any others? and tell me about the sweet tasters - what are their food preferences? for that matter, what are the food preferences of the other groupings. or are there even obvious differences between them?
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:17 pm

David Creighton wrote: hyper sensitive i could figure out; now you've told me what 'sweet' tasters are as well. any others? and tell me about the sweet tasters - what are their food preferences? for that matter, what are the food preferences of the other groupings. or are there even obvious differences between them?


Morning, David! Thanks - the internet is a curious way to communicate. Now I will even give you wine when you come to lunch! BTW your reactions are not even close to the worse thing I have encountered. If you want some real fun go ask about me on eRobert Parker. :cry:

The range of # of tastebuds in any given oral cavity runs from 300 (hyper-Tolerant) to over 10,000 (Sweet/Hypersensitive). Yikes. As always, if ANYONE can provide better information I am ALWAYS open to revising these figures - this is as best we can find using dozens of scientists as sounding boards. Bitter sensativity is the most prevalent general indicator and I do not only rely on PROP sensitivity - that is a single compound, very effective for demonstrations and a really good general indicator - but I have a picture of a hypersensitive tasters tongue at www.tastesq.com that canNOT taste PROP or thiurea.

Food differences are a whole new ball of wax. Just consider the bitter tolerance and pickiness index - the more 'buds you have + less bitterness tolerance and more picky. AND different experiences and memories change things in a heartbeat (neural plasticity, not our palate changing). That being said the more you are at an extreme end of the scale the harder it becomes to adapt to some things.

Having more or less taste buds does not infer 'better' in any way! Hypersenstitive and sweet tasters live in a world of sensory chaos, tolerant tasters find things easier to sort and replicate (general tendencies, not 'the truth').

Sweet Tasters: want sweet. Period. We estimate 20-30% or more of population in US. Roughly 70-80% female BUT 20-30% male. Better figures by June. We have UK study going on as we speak and surprisingly (to them, not me) may be even larger there. 22+% of wine sold there is sweet and these people very clearly migrate to sweet cocktails or abandon alcoholic beverages entirely when they go out. Especially to steakhouses, god bless wine and food pairing!! Let's just take the wine that 30% of our customers might want right off the list!! Consider 50% or more of consumers start here and then we do the math on how many we lose while 'waiting for their palates to mature'. HUGE mistake and also why hospitality training of young servers is so disappointing - and drives many potential future wine consumers and evangelists away from the category altogether. Studies on that as well and it will make you cry if you have a stake in this area.Want to market to them? They want as sweet or SWEETER than White Zin. Just helped someone build a million case brand on this premise. THEY WILL SPEND MORE $$ - nobody is selling them shoes that will fit!!

They are a subset of HYPERSENSTITIVE and the distinction that puts them into this category is declarative, 'I want sweet wines.' We can say with great confidence they have the MOST tastebuds! We doing empirical work in March. Dr. Virginia Utermohlen, my research partner at Cornell University, is 'one of them...' Go over to the Heimoff bogfest to see her work or just let me know and I will post it here. SHE IS AMAZING and cannot drink wine over 10% alcohol or less than 3% sugar. White Zin is just at the edge of tolerable for her - seriously!! And she loves wine. The other SWEET poster children are Barry Goff, CEO of Tavistock Restaurants (want to spend hundreds of dollars on wine, drinks Rob Roys instead) and my Mother-in-law; Ph.D. in Economics, millionaire, golfs in tournaments around the world and NOT trailer trash or anything else our inherently (and amostly ccidentally) arrogant/obnoxious community (me too until I figured this shit out) thinks of her!

Hypersensitive: Perhaps another 20% or so of population that have become neurally wired to DRY wines, may love off dry and are many of the 'talk dry drink sweet' consumers that love 'supposedly dry' wines like KJ. Rombauer Chard. Etc. If they are aspirational they love Riesling, Loire whites, delicate Reds - Pinot, Chinon, etc. Belong to the Anything But Chard/Cab group. Tend to live in a very vivid and vibrant sensory world (same as SWEET tasters), punished as children (picky eaters) and passionate when they find things they love!

Sensative: 30% of tasters - very adventurous; men and women maybe equally. Most easily swayed by fashion, peers and so forth. May start towards 'Parker model" where more, bigger, stronger + better but over time gets a bit fatigued with all the alcohol, tannin and oak and gravitates back to rich, smooth and more delicate as they gain confidence and knowledge. Can just as easily love lots of oak or join the unoaked-is-best group. Smooth is important.

Tolerant: changing thoughts on this group and will have better idea in March. Starting to look like maybe only 15%? VERY male dominated. More. Bigger. Faster. Money is a fine indicator - just make it expensive and it will be fine! Parker, Laube, maybe Hiemoff (but I think Steve is more into Sensitive). No wimps, gimme a Scotch and cigar. Some women will be drawn into engagment into this segment and will probably be at the more Tolerant end of the Sensative spectrum.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:24 pm

Since this is already on the other board I thought I would regurgitate it here for your amusement. Apologies for erudtition but you will see from Virginia's work how amazingly our paths of interest mesh!! She currently oversees, and helped refine, our Consumer Wine Preference survey work that has all of our sensitivity question imbedded. Expand what we are doing to personality traits, learning abilities, social and peer relationships and skill, career choices, etc. I get fired up just looking at it again myself! :shock:


Dr. Virginia Utermohlen, Cornell University
Research Focus
The relationship of sensory sensitivity (taste, smell, and vision) to determinants of personality, food choice, attitudes toward food and eating, choice of profession, short-term memory, and academic performance.

Educational Background
M.D., College of Physicians and Surgeons, Medicine, Columbia University, 1968
A.B., Physics, Washington University, 1964
Internship and Residency, Pediatrics, St. Luke’s Hospital Medical Center,1968-1971

Research
The research performed at the Taste Science Laboratory is centered around the relationships of taste and smell sensitivity to measures of food choice, eating behavior, personality, and decision-making. Some of our findings (with work in progress):

Highly sensitive tasters tend to be more sensitive than other tasters to most smells as well (Bauer, D. Santi, A., Utermohlen, V. “How Individual Differences in Taste Input Impact Smell and Flavor Perception – An Example of a Complex Process.” InterJournal Complex Systems, Article #364).

Children are significantly more sensitive to taste than their parents – which may explain why you may like some foods now that you would refuse eat when you were a child! (Bauer, D. Santi, A., Utermohlen, V. “How Individual Differences in Taste Input Impact Smell and Flavor Perception – An Example of a Complex Process.” InterJournal Complex Systems, Article #364).

In the food-related professions, highly sensitive tasters tend to be “wine” people; moderately sensitive tasters tend to be chefs; and mildly sensitive tasters tend to be bakers and financial experts (work in progress!).

The role of memory in imagination varies by taster status, with the association of imagination with memory likely to be strong among tasters (”Was Proust a Taster? Taste Sensitivity to 6-n-Propylthiouracil and the Relationships among Memeory, Imagination, Synesthesia, and emotional Response to Visual Experience.” in Food and Foodways, 10:99-109. 2002).

Decision-making style varies by taster status, with mildly sensitive tasters being more likely to choose reasoning as their preferred mode for coming to decisions (”Taste Sensitivity, Smell Sensitivity, and Reasoning: An Interaction of Genes and Culture?” submitted for publication).

We are now conducting large scale screening of non-student populations, such as of attendees at the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, held May 22-25, 2004, and at BookExpoAmerica, held May 18th-21st, 2006. (concluded – fascinating stuff)
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Daniel Rogov » Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:11 pm

Tim, Hello...

Much of what you have posted here is fascinating but you do seem to have wandered from the original question/objection....that being your dismissal of the role of the critic. Do note please that in your own writings you are indeed acting in the role of critic. Agreed, researcher indeed but critic as well. And more, as critic of the critics.

I am sure you are aware that your sophisticated use of language is absolutely necessary to the accurate expression of your thoughts. Why then should the same not be true for the wine critic, the art critic, the theater critic, the social critic?
Let's be perfectly realistic about one thing - the vast majority of people who buy and consume wine read neither wine forums, wine critics or the books written by wine critics. Those who do read or otherwise follow the critics do so precisely because they have a common language. Should then the question be how to elevate some to that point where they have the language/tools to discuss the beverage they are consuming?

Or are you willing to accept: "I like it" as a valid and accurate criticism and description?

Best
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:05 pm

Hi Rogov and thanks for getting things back on track! In the very first response to the original post it became 'hang Tim' and got my dander up! :cry:

Again, after this post, I am copying something from another response over at Steve Heimoff's community and all of the previous material provides necessary background to respond to your questions.

Do note please that in your own writings you are indeed acting in the role of critic. Agreed, researcher indeed but critic as well. And more, as critic of the critics.

Yes, and note there is no argument from me. The author of the article was not necessarily wrong in what he said but it was out of context. Actually, I did not say I 'dismiss the role of the critic' as much as 'dismiss what YOU may find arbitrary or irrelevent. What I explained that was not written is that for the most part the recommendations made by wine critics, the way wine criticism stands today, are largely irrelevant for a huge number of wine consumers. Indeed not for everyone! In fact our research shows that quite often many of the popular rating systems employed by critics work in direct inverse to what many consumers will ever find of value in wine. AND there are physiological and psycholigical factor that can be understood to make things work better for everyone - traditional critics, opportunities for new systems for recommendations and wine evaluations (i.e. peer-to-peer, consumer-to-consumer). What I dismissed was the unpleasant atmosphere, arguments and inherant fingerpointing and anger that crops up all over the place. I am a critic, you are, everyone is. And a critic of the critic but I state once again - I LOVE them all, seriously, and have no axe to grind. Just new insights and some really fun new information for us all.

I am sure you are aware that your sophisticated use of language is absolutely necessary to the accurate expression of your thoughts. Why then should the same not be true for the wine critic, the art critic, the theater critic, the social critic?
Yes, the use of sophistated language is necessary for me, especially the enviroment I wandered into here. :P And isn't it interesting that many etymologists take the word 'sophisticated' back to a meaning of "perverted and corrupt"? One became 'sophiticated' when they wandered afar and came back with new ideas of god, morality, government and sex that were 'perverted and corrupt' in the context of their society, community, etc. Makes me feel sophisitcated just thinking about it! :lol:

Yes - the same use of sophisticated language CAN (not should) be true for critics to use with their followers. But a wonderful philosophical question becomes; "what is an accurate expression" given 6.5 billion points of view generated through different sensory physiology, cultures and values? The sam CAN be true for many critics across the board but only relative to the audience and the intentions of the critic (which can certainly vary wildly!). I constantly am reminded, "if I want to know what time it is don't tell me how the watch works." We cannot communicate appropriately with millions of consumers. This is my focus. I can walk the walk and talk the talk of the wine expert. But the wine community has no idea how to get my mother-in-law a glass of wine she will like. Furthermore we are dead set to make her feel ignorant, to our own loss. AND it is our own ignorance that is at issue!! That is my assertion that gets people so pissed off in the first place.


Let's be perfectly realistic about one thing - the vast majority of people who buy and consume wine read neither wine forums, wine critics or the books written by wine critics.

Exactly the point of what I do. So then what? We really don't have a solution and that is why the economists I work with estimate up to 80% of wine consumers are lost, overwhelmed and/or intimidatedI participated in a forum called Wine Vision years ago and was tasked with generating a solution for 'making wine part of the American culture.' My conslusion was we had to continue that with education, critics, metaphores and attraction in general but that was all really the opposite: Making America part of the Wine Culture. Impossible to say the least. It requires new strategies and really focused critical rethinking of what we are doing, why and for whom. That led to my first formal survey work that is now instrumental , to see what we can really find from the consumers themselves, in all I/we do.

Those who do read or otherwise follow the critics do so precisely because they have a common language. Should then the question be how to elevate some to that point where they have the language/tools to discuss the beverage they are consuming?

Yes - and one of the problems is 'elevate' is a relative term! Come to think of it, it is really demonstrative in this conversation! Gotta take it 'up'! And anything that goes the other way goes 'down'. Not only that, it 'dumbs it down.' Etc. Deep, deep philosophical conversation and one I have had with people way, way smarter than me: 'what is NOT subjective, given objects only are given reality provided by the subjectivity of the human brain that perceives it?' This makes me really scared and anxious and excited all at once. What, indeed? Those who do 'read or otherwise follow the critics' may do so out of common language OR simply so they can disagree, argue, and invalidate that critic. Lunch is definately required (actually a phone call even works) on this one!

Or are you willing to accept: "I like it" as a valid and accurate criticism and description?

Yes. for the market segment that want and/or needs that. At the end of the day that is all that matters, yet is may be an intuitive, hedonistic response to stimulous that has one declare 'I like/don't like it,' it may be learned by social and peer influences. It may be 'acquired' through rigorous training and eduation. It may be because your relate it to a memory long forgotten and every time you smell, taste, hear or even see the wine your brain simply takes you there. Or that Robert Parker says it is a 97, Dan Berger says it has great finess and varietal correctness with a profound sense of place or Gary Vaynerchuk sasys 'have you ever hit a deer with you car and jumped outdrove a knive into its belly and smelled its' guts spilling out onto the warm pavement?' Or, maybe, wow - this tastes good. I don't know how to describe it, can clearly see you hate it, but I like it.

Movie critics are great. If the movie industry used wine people for training the Movie Consultants at the ticket counter. Here is how it might go:

"Welcome to MegaCinema Theater. We have 1,000 movies arranged by country of origin, region or principle player, or combination of principle players. Also, the appropriate choice of foods for you movie is important. We recommend popcorn with corny comedy - it is the appropriate match. Buttery popcorn is best with love stories and chick-flicks if you want to butter up your date. Hot dogs are for...well, you can guess. Just think complex candies with complex movies, simple candies with anything featuring John Candy. Only immature, uneduated people see films rated less than 3 stars or that we consider vapid and not complex and you will find those down the long, dark and lonely hallway to the left. By the way, we offer movie appreciation classes so you can learn more about what you should like to improve you enjoyment. Remember, you should sit comfortably in your chair but don't slouch. Leran to tilt and slightly rotate your head during the show so that you can get the full sensory effect of the wide screen - this 'aerates' your vision and allows you to use your full peripheral vision. Crossing your legs cuts off critical blood flow and impairs your overall sensory ability to fully experience the movie - just don't do it. For a nominal fee we offer the new Riedel chair, specially designed to improve you movie experience and can help you select from the 47 chair types each designed to enhance a particular genre of film Of course you should clean your ears to remove ear wax - how the hell would you expect to get the full effect of our sound system? Fondling, caressing, drooling on your neighbor is discouraged, particularly if you do not know them. Don't forget to sit through the credits - great pictures have a 'long finish' and you will be asked to answer questions about the origin, duration, principle components plus their background, heritage and training. By the way, did you know that the Foley credits at the end, Foley artists, etc., come from the fact that the process was invented by Bob Foley's granfather* - Bob is the brilliant winemaker at Pride Vineyards and his own Robert Foley Wines and if you can sneak on of his wines in it will pair perfectly with a robust, full-length movie with bold sound effects, bucolic mountain scenery and anything involving dark fruit! Remember that the soda, candy and poporn choices are VERY important. You can choose to compliment or contrast your movie and food selections. One way to make sure not to screw up is have a Big Gulp for a Big movies, heavy food with a dark or somber movies and light fare or picnic foods with anything having to do with summer. Of course always have nachos with anything remotely latin or having a latino star or music. For hot, sexy and spicy films don't forget the salsa! :twisted:

* This is true (maybe the only thing?).

Rogov, let's definately have lunch.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:13 pm

And one last thing (not!):

BTW Hoke, no one will talk to me any more so now I post like I talk. :lol:

This was in response to Doug Frost, MW, MS, jumping in on the Heimoff thread and the quick response, "we were NOT angry!" that ensued there. It also addresses my feeling about critics and the criticism often generated in wine conversations.

HERE IS GOES:
I think the remarks below are kinda the source of what Doug is referring to – at best a hostile environment, sometimes a tad paranoid, at worst an angry mob. Certainly not a kind and gentle place!

“Beware the demystification industry. It’s not as pure and disinterested as you might think.”

“I think Tim Hanni had been drinking(swallowing) when he made the comments about food/wine pairings. Seriously, the argument is ridiculous.”

“But to not acknowledge that the decision will impact the meal is ludicrous and seemingly ignorant.”

“A culture built on hucksterism deserves all the hucksters it gets.”

“By the way, I read the Hanni piece a bit like Charlie did, as more pathetic than anything else. Hanni should know better.”

“Finally, blaming the media is too easy and too simplistic. If you think they are getting it wrong, it could be either that your message isn’t intelligible enough for a simpleton journalist to get or that you need to focus better on both the message and the type of journalist you court.”

This is exactly the kind of crap I am working to put and end to! Anyone who dared enter into this conversation could not help but sense the tension and anger – and it started with the original post, and one before condemning me and the Consumer Wine Awards, with no room for understanding and learning. And, by the way, the wine community summarily writes off millions of wine consumers who happen to like sweet wines in a similar fashion With complete ignorance of how valuable, popular and expensive sweet wines have always been in France, Italy and everwhere in the world. And it goes way beyond that as can be seen on this thead – we rail against each other that ‘Parker is too powerful’, this competition is nonsense, Cabernet is in decline/never been better, or this food goes with this or that or that Tim Hanni put his credential after his name or not. Lighten up dammit!

Doug Frost and I had a wonderfully nasty, angry debate years ago. Knock down, drag out for hours with a bemused and somethimes terrified group of a dozen spectators. Lasted until about 3 in the morning I think. Here is the place we finally agreed and where the possibility of a great, lifetime friendship opened up: it is really about people, not the damned beverage after all. It is about our friends, family, communities, neighbors. The willingness of the wine community to respond that someone is ludicrous, ignorant, a huckster, selling snake oil, having a relapse, pathetic unintelligable or anything else – you should all be ashamed of (our)yourselves!! Ha ha – not really. It is human nature! But lighten up, dammit! Debate is great but these are attacks. AND I know every one of you is a human, probably smart, obviously passionate and definately confronted.

But dang it – look out there at all of the anger and fingerpointing over something that I once was told is “grape juice that has not finished going bad yet.” What happened to the beverage of civility and community? Sharing and family? Huh? Huh?

The reason I do what I do in the wine biz is because I love it – passionately. I also know a lot about it in spite of my hard-earned credential. I love what I do even more now that I don’t drink – which is so bizarre and alien a concept many of you are horrified by the mere thought! The reason for this is I have a beautiful wife of 17 years, an unbeleivable family and a great life to look forward to. So there.

I have been working very hard for the past 3-4 years, relatively quietly if you can believe, on closing the loop on many of my diverse and co-related projects. I will never achieve completion on everything because I am on an expedition and every day, literally, something new, better or even something that completely invalidates what I thought to be true crops up. But I can tell you I have made huge progress and closed enough of the loops to present something I think (save the delusional remarks – I know, I know), can make a profound difference for wine lovers, critics, consumers and the wine trade.

The reason I invite you all to lunch is it provides a place where you can experience what I have to offer. At my home I can let you experience what we have found out about wine and food that seems so shocking, show you the research, the surveys, the data, the pictures of hundreds of blue moist tongues (yuck) and very hopefully share the table with people who have radically different taste physiology. This is when it hits home, “you get what? I am experiencing something completely differently…” This is what happened to Oliver Thring – he took a piece of what he learned and shared, then faced the wrath of the wine community. He is a smart, nice guy and one everyone with a vested interested in wine would want on our side.

When conversation turns to HOW we each create our points of view and opinions via neural-gastronomic programming you cannot imagine the conversations it sparks. All you need to do is once experience a wine and food dinner where people who have been scolded their entire life (hypersenstitive and sweet tasters) that they now have permission to drink the wine they love with the food they love. Un-friggin-believable. And guess what – good for eveyone involved with any enterprise having to do with wine!

I have stated over and over – I love Steve Heimoff, Dan Berger, Bob Parker and Jancis Robinson. What I am saying is that there is also room, and a really cool new way, to have consumers generate peer-to-peer and consumer-to-consumer wine evaluations and ratings. AND a way to help MORE consumers confidently shop for the wine critics that are a match for their own Sensitivity Quotient, aspirations, values and aesthetics.

All of this kinda got lost in defending my intelligence, honor, motives, credentials and even my sobriety. No one yet said ‘yer momma wears army boots.’ She didn’t, thank you very much. She is dead. I will be too. Same to y’all. Now – what the hell are we going to do between now and then?

I have an idea – come to lunch? I was in Whole Foods yesterday and the person who runs the Culinary Center said, “we HAVE to do another tasting!” It occurred to me we can organize a Webinar or something and all have lunch together globally. Lunch may be at 3:00 in the morning for some of you. If you are in NorCal please consider attending, we can fit about 30 people in the space. I am working to find out how to pull this off but I will post a list of wines and foods you will need to have, plus your computer, and I will do a live feed and PowerPoint presentation while you sing along. Anyone interested?”

Thanks, love and peace from Napa.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Daniel Rogov » Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:40 am

Tim, Hi....

You said above: "that is why the economists I work with estimate up to 80% of wine consumers are lost, overwhelmed and/or intimidatedI "

I wonder if in building their hypotheses the economists with whom you work might be overlooking one major possibility - that to the effect that this 80% of consumers are neither lost, overwhelmed or intimidted, but simply don't give a good flying fig. That is to say, that as most people who visit museums have little formal education or of the language of the arts and their history, they simply do not care to know enough. Or, in a phrase, they ain't interested.

We seem to be in agreement that involving people more in what we consider various "higher endeavors" is a valid and desirable thing. The question of how to do that....... well...... at least for the moment, I'll continue in my own little way while supporting those who are trying to find new ways (so long as those new ways are as intelligent, cultured and intellectually involved as those various art forms themselves).

Indeed this conversation needs to be continued but I suspect neither here nor over a mere lunch. I think we shall have to lock ourselves in a cabin for at least a week. Hopefully the cabin will be supplied with an abundance of good food and good wine.

Best
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by David Creighton » Mon Feb 08, 2010 11:57 am

tim - thanks for the info on the categories of tasters. do you mind if i print it off to use in my wine classes? or is their another source that you would prefer i use; or none at all?

other than that, the quote about 'what is NOT subjective' is telling. you are going to have to get off this train sooner or later. you see, the brain is a 'given object' too. if you stay with this line of 'thought', you will end up as a Berkelian Idealist or maybe even a Solipsist. and overall, i'm sure some are put off by the mounting of massive objective evidence for what is your basically subjectivist philosophy. anyway, i now understand you better; and i've always said that being angry shows you don't understand - which i didn't.
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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:03 pm

Hi Rogov,

Now you are talking! Can we have the cabin be somewhere I can go fishing in the morning? I will clean and cook my catch - and share! I was just telling someone about an experience in my ealy teens; making eggs St; Charles, and old Brennan's recipe. Sauteed speckled trout fillets, poached eggs and Hollandaise.

This 80% (or whatever it proves to be) is a really an unkown factor. Surprisingly no one has really tried to quantify it seriously or really find out ways to even qualify them in a meaningful way. We are resigned to wrtite them off and wait 'for thir palates to mature.'

It is interesting how we came up with the term 'lost':
- Lost in terms of knowing where to look when confronted with a wine list or retail wine selection
- Lost by wine education - assumed the wine they drink doesn't count or go with food
- Lost in terms of revenue, our data suggests they migrate to cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks much more frequently
- Lost in terms of marketing, we try to 'move them' to another category rather that embrace and cultivate them AS a category

The long and the short of it is we don't yet know then what the 'sub' categories look like, but lots to explore! We do know an awful lot of them truly want to spend more - they just have to move out of wine to do it!
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Tim Hanni

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Re: Tim Hanni "dismisses" wine critique

by Tim Hanni » Mon Feb 08, 2010 12:18 pm

Hi David - I knew we would be friends. :wink:

[quote="David Creighton"]
other than that, the quote about 'what is NOT subjective' is telling. you are going to have to get off this train sooner or later. you see, the brain is a 'given object' too. if you stay with this line of 'thought', you will end up as a Berkelian Idealist or maybe even a Solipsist. and overall, i'm sure some are put off by the mounting of massive objective evidence for what is your basically subjectivist philosophy. quote] The philosophy is one part, the science entirely different and inherently brings up philosophical questions. You will have to join Rogov and me at the cabin for that! Way too late for me to begin even trying or pretending on the philosopy front - I am way over my head already. But SERIOUSLY call me if you like to have a quick chat about it. I even spent a delightful hour on the phone with (gasp) Thomas Pellacha yesterday.

Yes, you can print this off but I will even go one better than that - I will train you on how to do this and supply some slides - PLEASE just give me appropriate credit. I am generating an army of educators to install this learning as the foundation for every consumer and professional wine program. Many, many people involved - let me know if you (and please anyone else) want to play. E-mail me - tim@hannico.com. I have some amazing illusions to start with that drive this home like a hammer. A new book came out and author took as her own with tiny acknowledgment up front so PLEASE gimme due credit. Also - go to www.tastesq.com and have people take the quiz. It is designed for LESS-ASPIRATIONAL wine drinkers, not people in wine classes, but I will tell you what to do with that. Background, pictures of tongues (they ARE better than fingerprints you know).

Also ran into this from 3 1/2 YEARS ago when I had my mentor/scientists present. Literally floored everyone. Notice the HOORAY! - not kill the bastard! :lol:

Shocks for the Masters of Wine in Napa, Jancis Robinson
2 Jul 2006 by JR
Probably the two most memorable presentations at this weekend’s Masters of Wine Symposium in the Napa Valley were given by people who have no professional connection with wine whatsoever. Neither happened to be American. Professor Michael O’Mahoney is a professor of food science at Davis, a droll Englishman who looks rather like Cardew Robinson (if by any chance you remember him) who demonstrated to us all just how unreliable our sensory perceptions are, thereby throwing into confusion the notion that there could possibly be a single objective judgment about any given wine (hooray!). Tim Hanni MW... http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/ ... 60702.html and you need a subscription for the rest. And worth it - she is a GREAT critic!!!!!!!
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