The morning -after-the- night before regret may not be entirely your fault…

Have you ever fancied a quiet evening drink only to realise (too late!) that you’ve overdone it? The morning -after-the- night before regret may not be entirely your fault…

According to a recent study from the universities of Iowa and Cornell, many people have trouble assessing alcohol volumes, particularly in a social setting. A range of environmental factors – including the shape, size and colour of a wine glass, as well as if you’re holding it – may affect how much alcohol you pour (or keep on pouring).


Participants in the study were asked to pour ‘a normal drink’ using different types of glasses in various settings. The results showed just how easy it is to slosh a bit more in if you’re holding a wide glass – an extra 12% – because you’re too busy focussing on the vertical rather than the horizontal measures. That’s why you tend to drink a lot less from a narrow glass, like a champagne glass, because you think you’re drinking more.

The contrast between the glass and color of the wine also makes a big difference – you’re likely to pour about 10% less red wine into a clear glass than white wine because the red contrasts more strongly with the glass.


Unlike a lot of other alcoholic drinks, wine isn’t served in a set measure so it’s open to ‘interpretation’ and can be easy to over pour and, if you’re not careful, easy to lose track of how much you’ve had. And underestimating how much you’ve had can not only leave you feeling more tipsy than you’d intended but can also have an impact on your waistline.

Efforts to lower obesity rates have generated greater awareness about portion control when it comes to food. Most people think of ‘a glass’ of wine as one serving but it could actually be closer to two or three. If you want to be sure you don’t over pour choose a relatively small, narrow glass and put it down when you pour  – you’ll pour about 12% less.


Sources and further reading:

Cornell Chronicle: Size, shape and color of wine glass affect your pouring

– UPI: Size of wineglass, type of wine influences how much is poured 

Huffington Post – Binge drinking: How type of wine glass influences how much alcohol you pour

Mother Nature Network: The surprising reasons you drink too much wine

CBS News: How much wine you drink may be influenced by glass shape


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