Why Are Wine Glasses So Thin? The Science Behind Wine Glass
, by Randy Woodward
, by Randy Woodward
At one point in our lives, we must have come across a wine glass. But, have you ever wondered why wine glasses are thin? Even the most avid wine drinkers take extra caution when handling wine glasses because they are quite fragile. In this article, we will find out the reason as to why wine glasses are thin and if it impacts the wine’s taste overall.
Over time, wine glasses have served more than one purpose. Aside from serving wine, it has been used to create music by running your wet fingers in a circular motion on the rim of the glass and some people can even break a wine glass just with their voice. As much as science plays a huge role as to how these happen, it is also because of the structural integrity of the wine glass, in other words, because they are thin.
It is a well-known fact that different types of wine glasses are used for different types of wine, but all of them are made thin. There have been many speculations regarding this topic. Some say that it contributes to the look, smell and taste of the wine. When a glass is thin, it allows you to have a clearer view of the colors of the wine so you can admire it more. And if you notice, the wine glass gets thinner as it approaches the rim. Unlike beer that you can chug out from a thick beer mug, wine is intended to be consumed in small sips and the thinner rim lets you take sips without spilling a single drop of wine.
It has also been a tradition before drinking wine that you and your comrades clink your glasses together and say “Cheers” and the clinking sound is made possible because the wine glasses are thin.
Nowadays, wine glasses are made thinner and lighter. What this does is it will enhance the sensations of sipping wine.
A prominent factor that makes wine taste better is aeration. Wine glasses tend to have big bowls that are not intended to be filled with wine all the way to the top. The extra surface area is for the air and also to allow swirling. Swirling allows the wine to interact with air so the flavors and aromas will open up and therefore, makes the wine smell and taste better,
As much as enhancing wine goes, the thinness of the glass doesn't directly make it taste different. But, what does make wine taste different is the shape and size of the wine glass. As mentioned, no matter how big and what shape a specific wine glass has, chances are,it will still be thin.
Though, there is an exception when a crystal wine glass is used. Crystal is more malleable than regular glass so crystal wine glasses can be made much thinner and people say that crystal makes the wine taste different. This is due to the rougher surface that crystal has that helps in bringing out more flavor and most crystal glasses have no lip on the rim so the wine gets directly to the tongue.
From the moment wine gets bottled, it already tastes good. Keep it in the bottle for a couple of years, then it gets more pronounced and bolder. When the time comes that it needs to be opened up and maybe you like to decant it and eventually be served in a glass, all the trapped aromas and flavors will be released.
The wine glass plays a huge role in opening up these flavors with the help of aeration when you swirl it but mostly it’s more on the shape and the size of the glass itself because these factors dictate how much air can get in contact with the wine. The thinness of the glass just helps in accentuating the colors and acidity of the wine and transporting it smoothly into your mouth.
It also has something to do with a psychological aspect. The taste, smell and overall impression of a wine is built up in the brain. How we perceive flavor depends on our senses, especially the sight and smell. Perhaps because we always thought that wine glasses are designed to be thin, we think that we’ll have a great experience in drinking from it. Its structure is also associated with sophistication and indulgence, from the parts, shape and thinness.
Given that wine is considered a luxury item, serving it in a thin wine glass sorts of elevates the whole drinking experience. We drink different kinds of beverages and our brain tells us that they are supposed to taste like this because of the vessel that they are served in, for example, beer mug for beer, earthenware mug for coffee, ceramic cup for tea, highball glass for juices and wine glass for wine.
It is quite embarrassing if you accidentally shatter a wine glass in a restaurant and you must think that if they had been a bit thicker, it wouldn’t have happened. In this situation, the drinker is the one who should adjust because wine glasses are better when they are thin. Just as the stem of the wine glass has a purpose, the structural integrity also matters. When they are thin, they don’t get in the way of the whole drinking experience. To prevent any disaster, you have to have caution and apply the right etiquette of handling wine. Also, the mind plays a role in the sensation of drinking wine from a thin glass. Imagine drinking wine from a tumbler glass or a sippy cup, it’s quite silly and it just doesn’t give the same feeling or experience when you’re drinking it from a wine glass.