wine glass surface tension and taste

I’m beginning to wonder whether wineglass surface tension affects wine perception.

I bought pretty cheap glasses a year ago where the rinsing water beads up into pretty large drops. The wine clearly tasted worse from those glasses Conversely on my Zareltos , the rinsed water comes off in sheets, not leaving drops, indicating lower surface tension. There is some water beading in my daily drinker Costco glasses… Wonder if this is having any detrimental effect on the taste

Has anyone noticed a relation between water beading and wine taste?

Hi Philip,

Maybe the result of the blood thinner?



Stick to opera.

The Clos Vougeot event has amazingly not been cancelled yet. Can you sing through a mask? Be prepared to go- we are.


Rivaroxaban, sold under the brand name Xarelto among others, is an anticoagulant medication used to treat and prevent blood clots.

hey Larry

want me to come over and bring these really lousy wine glasses and some others, including Zareltos for an experiment?

Not around today but sure!

Are all your stems being washed the same way? Perhaps there is some slight residual film being left on one set of glasses.

Perhaps Georg Riedel needs to develop another line to address this concern of collectors!!!

The surface tension of the water resulting in sheets or drops is effected by a number of factors.

Temperature - warm water has a lower surface tension. Cold water will bead up more easily

Soap - most lower the surface tension of water. Why? So you don’t get spots!

The glass surface is factor. A very smooth surface with low friction will allow the water’s cohesive attraction to more easily form drops.

Maybe the cheap glass is actually smoother glass…

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Guess I was mixing business with pleasure

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Brig and Arv

All these variables are the same for each glass type. I tried to reduce the beading with aggressive cleaning of the “bad” glasses, including ammonia- no difference in the beading

Larry- I will contact you to do this experiment and we will publish the results here

I was hoping someone else would have observed this perception also. Guys?

he meant to say he Lovenox(ious) comment

This could be a MW paper on the correlation of wine glass shape, cleaner composition, water chemistry and fabric softener residue on buffing cloths related to how quickly fruit flies sink into wines of differing ages, alcohol levels and latitude of harvest.

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Covered in Chapter 17, by this MW

Blood is thicker than wine

Surface tension is a property of the liquid in question (wine), NOT the surface the liquid is interacting with (glass). Therefore, beading vs sheeting of wine in different glasses is not due to surface tension. Instead, you are referring to a property called “wetting”. Because wetting is an interaction solely at the interface of the wine and glass, I doubt it would have much affect on the way wine is perceived. There might be small differences in the release of from compounds from a bead vs sheet of wine, but I imagine that these small differences would be overshadowed with a few swirls of the glass.

I would thing that the differences you are noticing between cheap and nice stemware is due to shape and thickness, rather than the wettability of the respective glass surfaces. But that’s just a hunch. The only true way to test the affect of wetting would of course be to have two glasses of identical deminesions that vary only in terms of wettabilty and compare side by side.



You could try coating the inside of your Zareltos with Rain-x and see if it makes wine taste the same as in the cheapo glasses.

Thanks for the correction.

The shapes and thickness of the glasses I am talking about our all pretty similar.

I should add that the effect of glass shape on taste is due to sensory integration by the orbitofrontal cortex and not the explanations that Reidel gives.

Like I said I’ll get together with Larry Schafer and do a real experiment and am still waiting for the people to get back to me with their experiences

no helicopter cracks yet?