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Announcing the Revolutionary 2009 Lodi International Wine Competition


November 23, 2008
Diversity Wine Awards, LLC

The Lodi International Wine Awards is seeking entries for 2009 competition Lodi International Wine Awards is gearing up for its second-annual competition set for March 9, 2009 and will be open for submissions from wineries around the world beginning Dec. 8. The unique competition, sponsored by the Lodi-Tokay Rotary Club, helps answer the following questions and more.

Did you ever wonder why one wine taster enjoys big, bold Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon while another finds those intense flavors just too much and instead seeks wines with delicate or sweet flavors? The answer might have nothing to do with one’s “palate maturing,” as some wine experts tell us, but more to do with your individual sensory anatomy and “sensory sensitivity quotient" The number and types of taste buds you have and your sensitivity to different tastes and smells largely determine how sensitive or tolerant you are to many wine flavors and ultimately shapes your wine preferences.

And, the most sensitive of all people in the wine consumer world are not necessarily the most expert. The research shows the people with the highest sensitivity quotient are most likely to be White Zinfandel drinkers, according to scientific research by Tim Hanni, a Master of Wine, former chef and all-around pioneer in wine and taste. His research shows that the more sensitive tasters drink significantly less wine and spend less money on the wines they buy. This misunderstanding about consumers, Hanni asserts, is costing the wine industry millions of dollars in lost revenue.

He has found a simple reason for why you like what you like when it comes to wine. His methodology, commonly known as “the Taste Budometer”™, was used in the first-ever Lodi International Wine Awards in March 2008 where more than five hundred wines were tasted and scored by judges who had their sensitivity analyzed. The findings from this first judging are being used to improve the sensitivity analysis and scoring system for the second annual-competition.

The successful Lodi International Wine Awards is the first and only judging system to use Hanni’s evaluation methodology. The team of Hanni, G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski and Aaron Kidder, founders of Diversity Wine Awards, LLC, also takes into account issues of flavor distortion and palate fatigue that often occurs at wine tastings where many wines are evaluated over a long and extended session. This radical new approach was highly commended by judges such as winemaker extraordinaire Dr. Richard Peterson, San Francisco Chronicle wine and restaurant critic Michael Bauer, and other veterans of the wine judging circuit.

Hanni ’s Taste Budometer™ was born from researching how to better understand the sensory aspect of wine and food. He found frequently that wine tasters were describing completely different sensations even though they were all tasting the same wine. It turns out that due to sensitivity variables, people are indeed experiencing vastly different tastes from the exact same wine.

What is the Taste Budometer™?
“The Taste Budometer™ is the result of over ten years of exploration to find a better means to help consumers narrow down the overwhelming array of wine choices and make more confident decisions when they want to try new wines,” Hanni said of his research. “Imagine trying to sell shoes but not knowing people have different size feet. The differences in our sensory anatomy, and therefore our sensory experiences, can be immense. Your sensory sensitivity quotient is analogous to finding your correct shoe size before you start trying things on.”

He formed Diversity Wine Awards with national wine speaker Pucilowski and Kidder, an award-winning home winemaker and business systems manager in the food and wine industry, to create a new platform for improving the relevance, quality and consistency of wine judging results.

“Our hypothesis was that we could apply the Taste Budometer™ principles to a pool of wine judges, create balanced panels for assessing the wines and then deliver the results so that consumers can find the medal-winning wines from the judges with similar sensitivities,” Hanni said. “It’s a way that will provide more consistent results in the long term.”

(See the web site for the judge’s sensitivities and 2008 judging results.)

Contacts: Tim Hanni,, (707) 337-0327
G.M. “Pooch” Pucilowski,, (916) 961-6150
Aaron Kidder,, (209) 969-9296
Jennifer Bonnett,, (916) 436-6499



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