Weekly challenge: Be mindful of your wine pouring

How much wine we pour depends on shape of glass and color of wine
How much wine we pour depends on shape of glass and color of wine
Cornell University

As a Friday night wine drinker, I’m always a bit surprised at how drowsy I feel after just one glass. It turns out, I’m likely pouring far more than a single serving in that glass, according to new research from Iowa State and Cornell University researchers.

The study, published in the journal Substance Use and Misuse, found that many people overpour wine based on certain biases like the shape of the glass and color of the wine—or whether they hold the glass when pouring. This may lead them to under count how many drinks they’ve had and could pose a problem when making safe driving decisions, say the study researchers.

It might also to lead to a greater consumption of calories. A 5-ounce serving of wine typically contains 125 calories, but study volunteers poured up to 12 percent more wine than that—equivalent to an extra 15 calories per glass—when pouring wine while holding the glass instead of setting it on the table. (It’s hard to eye-ball the correct amount when looking down into the cup as you pour.)

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In my case, I pour wine directly from my husband’s silver kiddush cup (used on the Jewish Sabbath) which is filled to the top.

Other factors that led people to overpour wine:

-- pouring white wine into a clear glass (better if the wine and glass are contrasting colors)

-- using a shallow wide glass instead of a long narrow one

-- using a large wine glass instead of a smaller one

Judging the appropriate serving for wine can be more difficult than liquor drinks, which are measured with a shot glass, or beer that conveniently comes in serving-size bottles or cans. But previous research suggests that knowing about biases in portion estimation—like putting more food on bigger plates—can help people practice better portion control. I often put my pasta on a dessert plate or my soup in a mug.

“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 percent less,” study co-author Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University said in a statement.

That’s a good challenge to practice for this week.