How To: Drink Less Wine Without Even Trying

Drink Less Wine Without Even Trying

An open bottle of wine can be dangerous. You intend to enjoy—nay, savor—a single glass, but then two episodes of Top Chef later, that sucker is empty. Now you have to go to work the next day with a wine hangover. What happened?

Image via Warner Bros.

Turns out there are some unconscious reasons you might be chugging more wine than you wanted. Never fear. Along with clenching your fists to make better food choices, there are some tricks you can use to moderate your wine intake.

Image via Wine Folly

Researchers at Cornell University discovered that three environmental factors were key in encouraging their study's participants to drink more: a wider glass (as opposed to a narrow or standard-sized wine glass), low visual contrast between the glass and the wine (i.e. white wine), and having a drinker hold the glass rather than place it on the table.

Image via Local Vinacular

Don't believe it? Here are the numbers: in wider glasses, participants poured 11.9% more wine and 12.2% more wine when they were holding their glasses. When there was white wine in a clear glass (i.e. low visual contrast), participants poured 9.2% more than when there was high visual contrast (red wine in a clear glass).

Image by Andre Karwath/Wikimedia Commons sums up the reasons why these factors influence how people pour: people tend to pour more wine when there's less effort required, i.e. holding a glass instead of having to lean over and pour it into a glass on a table. Not having a clear visual cue about how much wine is in the glass can also cause people to underestimate how much they're pouring. And finally, people tend to think more about height than width when visually measuring how much liquid is in a glass.

Image via NBC

People have known for a while that things like plate size and availability of food influence how much people eat. The researchers at Cornell also cite a study where people drank more water if it was easily available.

The moral of this story? It might be time to buy narrower wine glasses—or at least be aware of the cues that might trigger you to pour more wine than you want or need.

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