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Putting taste buds to the test

Local residents pick their favorite vintages at the Consumer Wine Awards in Lodi

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Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2012 10:26 pm | Updated: 6:39 am, Mon Mar 19, 2012.

How do you like to drink your coffee? Do you like to play team sports, or are you more of a solo athlete? Or, perhaps, do you like pickle juice?

These questions are not random. In fact, they are the types of questions that were asked prior to Lodi residents partaking in the Consumer Wine Awards on Saturday.

Held at Hutchins Street Square, more than 600 wines were laid out for roughly 120 guests to taste, test and enjoy.

Divided into "sweet," "sensitive," "hyper-sensitive" and "tolerant" categories, wine consumers were able to determine what types of wines they would prefer based on certain specific qualities the vintages possessed.

If you like sweeter flavored wines, you are more likely to be a "sensitive" or "hyper-sensitive" wine-drinker. That means you prefer wines like white zinfandel, pinot grigio or chardonnay.

But if you prefer bold taste with the mentality that stronger is better, you are more likely a "tolerant" drinker and you tend to choose wines such as a merlot or cabernet sauvignon.

These categories come from survey results conducted by Tim Hanni and Virgina Utermohlen. For the past five years, they have conducted a survey taken by consumers — who are only then invited out to Lodi to test and choose their favorite wines.

The testing, sponsored by the Lodi Tokay Rotary Club and the Diversity Wine Awards LLC, has been held in Lodi for the past five years.

"Did your mother have morning sickness with you? Or do others not like to shop with you because it takes you forever to pick out what sheets or pillows you want?," Hanni asked. "Things like this, so seemingly unrelated, actually help us determine what wines you may like."

Hanni added that people generally assume that the experts — wine connoisseurs who write for high-profile magazines or newspapers — seem to know exactly what everyone should drink.

But he said that is simply not the case.

"If someone ever tells you that you have to have a red wine with your steak, call me, because they don't know what they are talking about," he said. "If you are a sensitive or a hyper-sensitive wine consumer, there is no way you'd enjoy your wine, let alone your food, if you are being forced to drink something because an 'expert' told you what was acceptable and what was not."

The awards show featuring the results of the wine-tasting are tentatively scheduled for April 27 at Hutchins Street Square.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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