How to Keep Thanksgiving Wine Drinking Under Control

Planning the annual Thanksgiving holiday feast involves a million — okay, perhaps that’s overstating it just a tad — details.

Those details even extend to the style of glasses you’ll be using, which one may presume would be your finest wide-brimmed stemware. But if you’re hosting family or friends who will be driving, you may want to re-think that.

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

If you’ve ever watched “Bar Rescue,” you know that when it comes to other adult beverages, the alcohol measurements are very 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 not only impair customers; they impact the bottom line.

At home, however, relatively few people consider the size of the pour. They simply 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 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. According to the studies, the same person may 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.

We’re all working hard to be extra-safe this Thanksgiving, so be aware of your pour size. You… and your guests… may be imbibing more than intended.

From all of us at Vinesse, Happy Thanksgiving!

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