How to Avoid Over-Imbibing on Turkey Day

Woman drinking from a very large glass of red winePlanning to shine up your best wide-brimmed stemware for the big Thanksgiving feast?

If you’re having guests who will be driving, you may want to re-think that.

Given the widely varying size of wine glasses, it’s easy for people to drink more than they think they are. In fact, studies have shown that wine poured into large, wide-brimmed glasses typically exceeds the standard pour by 12 percent.

When it comes to other adult beverages, the alcohol measurements are much more precise. Beer comes in a can or bottle in which the exact amount of alcohol being consumed can be noted. Mixed drinks typically include measured “shots” of alcohol.

Most restaurants and bars use precision when pouring wine because excessive pours impact the bottom line. But at home, relatively few people consider the size of the pour; they pour until there’s still enough room to stick one’s nose in the glass and then do a little swirling.

Both Cornell University and Iowa State have conducted studies about over-pouring, and those studies found that assessing exact volumes is challenging. In the case of wine, a standard pour, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is 5 ounces. But if the glass is big, it’s quite common for 5.5 or 6 ounces — or even more — to be poured. And that can throw off one’s ability to assess what shape they’re in to drive.

In other words, two glasses of wine for one person may be very different than two glasses of wine for another person — depending on the size of the stemware and the person doing the pouring.

Interestingly, even the color of the wine can impact the amount of the pour. The same person will pour 9 percent more white wine than red wine. Another factor: whether the wine glass is being held or is sitting on a table. If it’s held, it receives about 12 percent more wine.

The perfect storm for over-pouring would involve pouring a white wine into a wide-brimmed glass that you’re holding in your other hand.

Be aware of your pour size this Thanksgiving. You… and your guests… may be imbibing more than you intended to.

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We’re taking tomorrow off so that you won’t be reading blog posts at the expense of spending time with your family. But we’ll be back on Black Friday with a wine-filled message of thankfulness.

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