In French, they call it le signe oenologique, but that's the thing about French: words like oenology and gastronomy don't sound half as pretentious as they do in English. Since it's modelled after a star sign, it's best for us to call it a wine sign.

The brainchild of Bordeaux winegrower Philippe Raoux, it purports to identify my "wine profile" by analysing "with our exclusive software" my responses to a tasting of six wines.

The tasting is led by a flamboyant, rake-thin young man who swirls wine in his glass before tonguing it back and forth across his teeth and spitting it, in an extravagant arc, into the waiting bucket.

"What do we taste?," he asks the class. "Figs," I offer hesitantly. He barely pauses to chuckle at my stupidity.

"Des figues, non," he intones before suggesting that the word I was probably looking for was "peach". I resolve to keep quiet.

The tasting takes place at La Winery, an unusual enterprise in the Haut Medoc, north of Bordeaux. No wines are grown here: rather it's a shop of wines from every winegrowing country - New Zealand is represented only by Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 08 at 25.50euros (more than $50).

Visitors can drink their wine (no mark-up or corkage) as they dine at the excellent onsite restaurant. And they can get their wine sign done, so they'll know which of the more than 1000 wines here will best suit their taste.

"We love the wine drinker," Raoux tells me, "and we want to do the maximum to keep him happy."

La Winery is one of many measures aimed at countering a major slump in wine-drinking in France. A generation ago, a wine bottle was on every French dinner table, along with bread, salt and pepper. But, Raoux says, changing work and leisure patterns have eroded that.

"Now the French people drink wine maybe one day a week - and I am afraid they could forget the wine."

They're not hidebound oenological chauvinists at La Winery. When I ask for a wine match for my lunchtime entree of duck livers, they bring me an Aussie chardonnay. And there is not a single Bordeaux among the six wines I taste later. And my wine sign, it turns out, is "sensuel ascendant explorateur" ("sensual with an adventurer ascendant").

This means, I guess, that I'll drink anything and enjoy it. That rings true.