In a controlled study published in the journal Appetite, (1) scientists investigated the hypothesis relative to the intricate relationship between “la forme et le fond” (shape and substance), in this case, between the wine glass and the fermented grape juice. In this perspective, 85 male and 96 female volunteers aged 19-73 years, all healthy, were put to the test.
The experimentation proceeded as follows: 89 subjects received red wine, 92 subjects white wine. Subjects compared three glasses with a white wine and three glasses with a red. Glasses were of different shape but of the same height and of comparable opening diameter. All glasses had elegant stems; two glasses of ‘tulip’ and ‘beaker’ like shapes were used in sessions with red and white wines. Different bulbous glasses were used in either red or white wine sessions.
All of the subjects were blinded whether they received one or more wines. Intensity, hedonic tone, and quality of the wines were rated repeatedly before and after drinking.
Conclusion: The ratings of wine odors from different glasses were significantly influenced by glass shape. These results can be interpreted to come less from the esthetic impression the glasses made on the tasters than from other factors that the Institute’s Wine workshop delves into, including, but not limited to the relationship between different types of wine bouquet (i.e. aromatic compounds) that can emanate from differently shaped wine glasses. (2)
(1). Hummel T1, Delwiche JF, Schmidt C, Hüttenbrink KB. Effects of the form of glasses on the perception of wine flavors: a study in untrained subjects. Appetite. 2003 Oct;41(2):197-202.
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