For Yvonne Lorkin, one of New Zealand’s most high profile wine critics, tastebuds are worth protecting. So much so that the respected wine competition judge and Chief Tasting Officer for WineFriend, has insured her tastebuds for a cool one million dollars.

In an industry where having superior smelling and tasting skills is everything, Lorkin’s abilities need to remain in top order to ensure her wine selections match the expectations of the rapidly growing number of WineFriend subscribers, who rely on her recommendations in their monthly or bi-monthly, personally-curated deliveries. It’s no surprise then, that the company is extremely serious about protecting its assets.

WineFriend has been successful in insuring Lorkin’s olfactory system for the princely sum through Lloyds of London. The cover is for her nose, palate and throat, and is scheduled to pay out should she suffer injury or illness that damages their function and prevents her form doing the work she is trained for.

Although ‘taste’ and ‘smell’ are separate senses with their own receptor organs, they’re nonetheless intimately entwined. Lorkin is regarded as a ‘super taster’ because she is among the top 10 to 25 percent of people with hypersensitive taste. And yet it is her sense of smell that defines how effective she is at interpreting those tastes, according to ENT specialist Dr Noel Nicholson.

“Over 90 percent of perceived taste disorders actually turn out to be problems associated with the sense of smell,” said Nicholson. “After putting Yvonne through her paces in the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, which is considered the world standard and certainly the most validated exam of its type, I can confirm Yvonne has an ‘excellent’ sense of smell.”