Serving wine in larger glasses makes people drink more, suggests a new University of Cambridge study.

Serving wine in a larger glass appeared to make people drink faster, and therefore consume more, said researchers from the study, which was funded by the UK department of health and conducted by University of Cambridge.

To test the theory, researchers conducted an experiment at a pub in Cambridge where 125ml and 175ml servings of wine were usually served in 300ml capacity glasses.

The pub agreed to trial 370ml glasses and 250ml glasses. Over 16 weeks, the study found that people consumed around a tenth more wine if they had been served with the larger glass size versus sales with a standard 300ml glass.

But, people did not necessarily drink correspondingly less if they had a 250ml glass.

‘We found that increasing the size of wine glasses, even without increasing the amount of wine, leads people to drink more,’ said Dr Rachel Pechey, from the behaviour and health research unit at Cambridge.

‘It’s not obvious why this should be the case, but one reason may be that larger glasses change our perceptions of the amount of wine, leading us to drink faster and order more.’

Professor Theresa Marteau, director of the unit, added: ‘This suggests that avoiding the use of larger wine glasses could reduce the amount that people drink.’

However, experience from the wine world suggests that context is likely to be important.

Larger glasses can be useful in the wine world in order to properly aerate the contents of the glass, awakening aromas and helping tasters to understand the balance

Wine glass specialists such as Austria-based Riedel have produced specific glasses for different styles and grape varieties.

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