Glass Size, Shape Often Determines How Much Wine We Pour
September 27, 2013

Glass Size, Shape Often Determines How Much Wine We Pour

[ Watch the Video: Wine Glass Size Impacts Your Pouring Skills ]

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

The amount to wine someone pours into a glass can vary significantly from person to person and depend on a variety of factors, including glass physics, according to a new study from Iowa State and Cornell researchers.

“People have trouble assessing volumes,” said study researcher Laura Smarandescu, an assistant professor of marketing at Iowa State. “They tend to focus more on the vertical than the horizontal measures. That’s why people tend to drink less when they drink from a narrow glass, because they think they’re drinking more.”

In the study, which was published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse, researchers tested six environmental factors to see how each influenced the amount poured. One significant factor was the contrast between the glass and color of the wine being poured. When pouring white wine into a clear glass, study volunteers poured 9 percent more than when pouring red wine, which had a greater contrast to the glass.

The research team noted that wine, unlike beer or a shot of hard liquor, isn’t typically consumed in a can, glass or bottle of specific volume. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), a standard serving of wine is 5 ounces.

“If you ask someone how much they drink and they report it in a number of servings, for a self-pour that’s just not telling the whole story. One person’s two is totally different than another person’s two,” said co-author Doug Walker, an assistant professor of marketing at Iowa State. “Participants in the study were asked to pour the same amount at each setting, but they just couldn’t tell the difference.”

The researchers also noted the increasing awareness of the importance of serving size when it comes to maintaining or losing weight.

“If you want to pour and drink less wine, stick to the narrow wine glasses and only pour if your glass is on the table or counter and not in your hand – in either case you’ll pour about 9-12 percent less,” said co-author Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell.

Smarandescu said unlike eating too much – there are serious, immediate consequences associated with drinking too much. She noted that feeling full has less of an effect in regards to a person’s alcohol consumption.

“I think this helps us understand drinking behaviors to see how these cues influence individual pours. When you add this information about how people pour, to survey data of how much people drink, then you have a more complete picture about how people drink,” Smarandescu said.

Study researchers also asked participants which factors may have caused them to overpour their wine. They found that participants’ perceptions, such as the effect of glass width, matched the actual impact of various factors.

“The fact they were able to know retrospectively, but they still poured different amounts, told us they didn’t think about it when pouring. Otherwise, they would have adjusted. So they had to be prompted to think about how much they poured,” Walker said.

The study authors said that even though volunteers could spot those environmental factors, it does not indicate they knew exactly how much more they were pouring.