Micro-drinking behaviours and consumption of wine in different wine glass sizes: a laboratory study

BMC Psychol. 2017 Jun 12;5(1):17. doi: 10.1186/s40359-017-0183-2.


Background: Tableware size may influence how much food and non-alcoholic drink is consumed. Preliminary evidence of the impact of glass size on purchasing of alcoholic drinks shows an increase in wine sales of almost 10% when the same portion of wine is served in a larger glass. The primary aim of the current study is to test if micro-drinking behaviours act as a mechanism that could underlie this effect, through an increase in drinking rate, sip duration and/or number of sips from a larger glass.

Methods: In a between-subjects experimental design, 166 young women were randomised to drink a 175 ml portion of wine from either a smaller (250 ml) or larger (370 ml) wine glass. Primary outcomes were three micro-drinking behaviours, assessed observationally using video recordings: drinking rate, sip number and sip duration. Other possible mechanisms examined were satisfaction with the perceived amount of wine served and pleasure of the drinking experience, assessed using self-report measures.

Results: Wine drunk from the larger, compared with the smaller glass, was consumed more slowly and with shorter sip duration, counter to the hypothesised direction of effect. No differences were observed in any of the other outcome measures.

Conclusions: These findings provide no support for the hypothesised mechanisms by which serving wine in larger wine glasses increases consumption. While micro-drinking behaviours may still prove to be a mechanism explaining consumption from different glass sizes, cross-validation of these results in a more naturalistic setting is needed.

Keywords: Alcohol; Drinking behaviour; Glass size; Tableware size.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Cooking and Eating Utensils
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Perception
  • Satiation
  • Self Report
  • Wine*
  • Young Adult