When it comes to choosing the right wine to go with your meal, scrap the servers advice and trust your own tastes, say scientists who found that traditional pairing of drinks and food often misses the mark - leaving people confused and intimated.
Researchers from Michigan State University in the US suggest people generally fit into certain wine-drinking categories, or "vinotypes," and that servers should consider these preferences when suggesting a wine.
A traditional wine recommendation when you order beef roast for dinner is Cabernet Sauvignon - a bold red wine.
However, the customer may not prefer red wines. Carl Borchgrevink, a former chef and lead author on the study, suggests that consumer should instead choose their own wine.
"The palate rules - not someone elses idea of which wine we should drink with our food," said Borchgrevink, associate professor at MSU.
"They shouldnt try to intimidate you into buying a certain wine. Instead, they should be asking you what you like," he said.
Researchers conducted the first scientific study examining the premise of American wine expert Tim Hannis vinotype theory.
Hanni proposed that vinotypes are determined by both genetics and environment and that such tastes change over time based on experiences.
He proposed four primary vinotypes: "sweet," "hypersensitive," "sensitive" and "tolerant."
The categories range from those who like sweet, fruity whites (sweet vinotype) to those who enjoy bold, strong reds (tolerant).
Hanni also created a series of criteria to determine vinotypes. If you like sweet beverages such as soda and salt your food liberally, for example, you trend towards the sweet vinotype, he said.
However, if strong black coffee and intense flavors are your thing, youre more apt to fall in the tolerant camp.
For the study, MSU researchers surveyed a group of adults on food and beverage preferences and consumption patterns.
They also held a reception with 12 stations where the participants rated the food and wine presented at each station individually, and then together.
The researchers were able to predict wine preferences based on consumption patterns and preferences.
The work has implications for both restaurants and wine stores, which should train their staff members on the vinotype approach and find questions to ask consumers that can reveal their wine preferences, researchers said.
The main focus is the wine-drinker, who should learn to trust their own palate and not necessarily depend on the so- called experts, they said.