Eyes to Mouth: Just How Big is Your Wine Glass?

Are your eyes playing tricks on you with that wine glass?

Pam and Stephanie met for dinner after work on Friday. Each drank wine with their meal. They had been to this restaurant many times before and ordered the same wine, so Pam was surprised to see Stephanie drinking much more than she normally drank. What was going on?

The difference this time was that the owner had purchased new wine glasses since their last visit. The stemware they drank from tonight was larger than the previous wine glasses. It wasn’t a change either woman noticed, at least consciously. In fact, this common scenario was the focus of a new and pretty interesting study. If you drink wine – especially in restaurants or clubs – you’ll want to read on.

Wine Sales Increase with Glass Size

Research conducted over a four month period showed that increasing the size of wine glasses led to a nearly ten-percent increase in wine sales.

Owners of The Pint Shop in Cambridge changed the size of their wine glasses, alternating between standard 300ml size, larger (370ml) and smaller (250ml) glasses. When all the data was compiled, researchers discovered that, when serving wine in the larger glasses, the volume of wine sold daily was 9.4 percent higher.

Perception is Everything

What’s behind this increase in sales and consumption? The study shows “larger glasses change our perceptions of the amount of wine, leading us to drink faster and order more.” It seems the larger container tricks us into believing we haven’t drank as much. After all, it looks like such a small amount of liquid in that big goblet. We look at our glasses and think ‘I haven’t had very much. It won’t hurt if I order another.’

It’s this type of thinking that boosted wine sales for The Pint Shop; it’s probably doing the same thing for other establishments across the nation. While this practice might not create a restaurant full of alcoholics, it does encourage people to drink more. Researchers recommend “avoiding the use of larger wine glasses could reduce the amount that people drink.”

These results are important for you to keep in mind. If you’re trying to cut back, be wary of trophy-sized goblets.

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