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The shape of the glass determines the taste of wine


For different types of wines, different shapes of glasses are used, which can enhance the tasting of their contents by focusing on specific features. However, it is a unknown if the shape of the container is can influence the taste of the wine itself.

  • Well, this is the conclusion reached by a group of Japanese scientists, analyzing the ethanol vapor emanating from a wine glass by means of a camera system developed at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University. The experiment uses a mesh impregnated with the enzyme alcohol oxidase, which converts the low molecular weight alcohols to aldehydes and hydrogen peroxide. This mesh is also impregnated with peroxidase and luminol, and the whole, placed on top of a glass of wine, triggers a chemical reaction that causes a color change, then collected and analyzed by the camera.
  • Thus, depending on the shape of the glass and the temperature of wine, very different images are captured, indicating changes in the taste we would perceive while tasting the wine in different containers, providing different “bouquets” and taste effects.
  • Specifically, the study director Kohji Mitsubayashi, reveals that at 13º C the concentration of alcohol emanating is lower at the center than at the rim of the glass, resulting in a ring-shaped pattern that favors the appreciation of wine aroma without interference from ethanol.
  • Conversely, at higher temperatures and differently shaped glasses (straight cut glasses, Martini glasses, etc.), this pattern disappears and the wine loses (apparently) its most characteristic properties, demonstrating that the design of the glasses plays a decisive role in the enjoyment of wine. Thus, this system is also emerging as an ideal help to perfect the design of glasses, supported by scientific evidence.


By Marta Burgués, Uvinum’s