The Sweet Wine Manifesto

Posted: Oct 07, 2018

Excerpt from The Sweet Wine Manifesto by Tim Hanni MW

We are proud to run this excerpt from Tim Hanni's book The Sweet Wine Manifesto. It breaks through to the core of why wine loving can be such an ordeal. 


The woman standing woefully in a corridor at a famous Napa Valley winery was lost and nearly in tears. I was on my way to a meeting, but I had to stop to ask if I could help.

She was looking for the tasting room but she was so flustered, I decided to walk with her to make sure she got there in one piece. That’s how I heard her story: She was making her first visit with her new husband to the Napa Valley. He, a wine lover, had booked the most expensive tasting of red wines for which Napa has become known.

And she hated these wines. They tasted terrible to her; they burned so much she could barely swallow them. Although she’d tried to hide this, everyone had noticed, including the man leading the tasting. Finally, he’d suggested she might prefer to taste different wines and directed her to the general public tasting room and recommended a wine she might like.

In this man’s defense, I’d say she was lucky: the tasting room guide was just trying to help her find a wine that would be more agreeable for her, but that’s not how she saw it. No, she was mortified. She’d embarrassed her husband. She’d flunked wine tasting 101. She’d been kicked out of class. She had been sent down to the minor leagues. She was a failure.

“I know I’m just a beginner,” she said. “I know I have to learn to like those wines. I know if I work at it, I can do it.”

She couldn’t even remember what wine he’d suggested, but I had an idea what it might be, and at the tasting room, I asked the server to pour her the wine that I’m told is the most popular wine in the tasting room: It is light, delicate and very, very sweet. She tried it. Her eyes widened. “This is good,” she exclaimed. “Oh, I like this. It is delicious. But,” she added doubtfully, “it’s not real wine, is it?” Not “real wine”? How the heck did we ever get that idea?

Examine what she was saying and you’ll find it’s filled with misinformation perpetuated by modern wine education and the dry wine fashionistas.

  • The only “real” wines are dry, not sweet, wines.
  • “Real” wine drinkers drink dry wines.
  • Sweet wines are for beginners.
  • You may begin by drinking sweet wine, but as your palate matures, you will learn to appreciate dry wines.
  • Only unsophisticated, uneducated wine ignoramuses persist in preferring sweet wines. 

These ridiculous, anti-sweet wine messages can be heard around the world.
No one wine suits all people all the time, and it’s time to free ourselves from the often fallacious information that is accepted as conventional wisdom in the wine community today — including the idea that people who prefer sweet wines are unsophisticated “wine beginners.” In The Sweet Wine Lovers' Manifesto, we’ll look at these misconceptions, including the highly popular myths of food and wine pairing. The starting point is discovering your own level of sensitivity and realizing how greatly this varies from person to person. This can explain more than just your wine preferences, but it also means celebrating the diversity wine consumers and wines being made around the world today. It’s time for a wine revolution!

Posted by the Editors at October 7, 2018

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