The holiday season is usually known as a time of indulgence and, for people who drink alcohol, it's likely that a good glass of wine will be everpresent during the next few weeks. But wine consumption is tied to something interesting, as a new study by British scientists published in the British Medical Journal argues: The size of the glass the wine is served in has a big effect on how much wine we drink. And they've discovered that this may be tied to the huge increase in the size of wine glasses since they were first brought into use in England 300 years ago.
Imagining Revolutionary-era English folks drinking wine out of tiny glasses may sound amusing, but figuring out how and why people consume alcohol in the levels they do is a big question, for both the alcohol industry and for healthcare professionals. The global wine industry is worth a whopping $103 billion, according to a 2017 market research report, and is probably set for growth thanks to both U.S. millennials' and China's newfound love of wine. And as we all know, alcohol has known effects on human health, from weakening bone density to interesting genetic interactions with heart disease. So wine glasses, how they've developed, and how they influence our drinking patterns aren't a casual anecdote to break out over Christmas dinner. They're part of a $103 billion question, and the new science thinks it has some answers.