Do you know how much wine you are pouring into your glass?
The best hangover cure? A smaller glass!
That’s one of the findings from a study
exploring how much we pour into our wine glasses, run by Cornell and
Iowa University researchers.
In the same way that dieters are advised to put their food on smaller
plates, wine lovers trying to curb their intake should use smaller
glasses and place them on a table while pouring.
Entitled “Half Full or Empty: Cues That Lead Wine Drinkers to
Unintentionally Overpour,” the study found that consumers serve 11.9
percent more wine in a wide glass than in a narrow one, without
realizing that the serving size is greater. The pour also increases by
12.2 percent if the glass is being held rather than sitting on a table.
“People have trouble assessing volumes,” the study's lead author,
Laura Smarandescu, an assistant professor of marketing at Iowa State,
told the Cornell Chronicle. “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
Study co-author Doug Walker added: "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."
The color of the glass is also a factor in serving size. When there
was little contrast between the glass and the wine – for example, a
white wine in a clear glass – the participants poured 9 percent more
wine than when they were serving red wine in a clear glass.
Dr. Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell,
advised: “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 to 12
The research was conducted using 73 participants, all college
students of drinking age and published in the journal Substance Use and
In 2005, Wansink published a similar study in the British Medical
Journal, which found that both students and experienced bartenders
poured more alcohol into short, wide glasses than into tall slender
Despite an average of six years of experience, bartenders poured 20.5
percent more liquid into short, wide glasses than tall, slender ones.