It’s hard to keep track of how many servings of an alcoholic beverage you are consuming, but it helps when you’re drinking a clearly labeled bottle of beer or are pouring liquor into a shot glass. But when it comes to wine, it’s all about how much you fill the glass.
A standard glass of wine is considered to be about 5 ounces. Do you know how big 5 ounces is? If you’re drinking out of a standard wine glass, it actually fills it a little more than half way and looks like a decent serving. Put it in a champagne flute and the glass looks even more full. But, if you’re sipping from something larger like a pinot noir glass or a Shiraz glass, it looks pretty pathetic.
If a restaurant actually poured a standard 5-ounce serving in your wine glass, you’d probably ask for your money back.
This interesting perception problem is one reason why Doug Walker and Laura Smarandescu, both professors at Iowa State joined Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell, to conduct a study about the shape of wine glasses and how much you ultimately end up drinking. They gathered up 73 volunteers who said they normally drink at least one glass of wine every week and asked them to pour themselves a normal serving of wine.
- When the glasses had a wider circumference the volunteers unintentionally poured larger servings – 11.9% more wine than the standard glass.
- They also poured more when they were holding the glass while pouring, rather than placing on glass on a table – 12.2% more wine.
- When the glassware matched the wine, like white wine in a clear glass, the person poured 9.2% more wine on average.
Do you understand now why wine glasses are normally larger at restaurants? The bigger the glass, the more you drink, the more you spend. Unfortunately, that also means there’s probably a hangover in your future. If you’re drinking at a restaurant that has large wine glasses on the table, don’t be shy about asking for a smaller one. When you’re at home, use your small glasses and practice the 5-ounce pour.