Researchers from Iowa State and Cornell Universities have discovered that the shape of your wine glass and colour of wine can have an unintentional effect on how much you drink.
Their study found that that drinkers poured larger servings when the wine was white and when the wine glass was wider.
The experiment focused on 73 students who were asked to pour themselves a normal serving of wine at several different stations.
At each of these stations, the researchers manipulated environmental cues to measure their effects:
- To see if participants subconsciously drank more when they anticipated a meal, some stations featured a large or small place setting.
- To examine the effects of pouring position, students either poured their wine into a glass they were holding in their hand or into glass placed on a table.
- To check the visual effects of colour contrast, there was either low contrast between the wine and the glass (white wine in a clear glass) or high contrast (red wine in a clear glass).
- They used three different types of wine glasses to test the effect of size and shape: Large, Wide, or Standard.
The results revealed that 11.9% more wine was consumed when using wider glasses and that the students poured 12.2% more when they were holding their glasses, compared with pouring into glasses placed on a table. The students also poured 9.2% more white wine than red.
Dr Doug Walker, lead author of the study, said:
“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. Participants in the study were asked to pour the same amount at each setting, but they just couldn’t tell the difference.”
The study, also co-authored by Laura Smarandescu and Brian Wansink, reads: “Now you know that you’re likely to overpour if you choose a wide glass, hold your glass while serving, or select a wine that matches your glass.
But the good news is that, retrospectively, people seem to be aware of how these cues influence their pours.”