by Becca•March 23, 2017•Comments off on Alcohol Evaporation indigenous a Glass of Wine over Time: Potential implications for alcohol Competition Judging and also Outcomes

It is a an easy matter that physics that as soon as you have actually a fluid exposed to air, there is going to be some evaporation the sorts. A glass that water will eventually evaporate end a long period of time if the left someplace out in the open. V wine, which is a mixture of water, alcohol, and a bunch of various other stuff, the very same phenomena applies, though the alcohol and also water will most likely evaporate at different rates due to the physics properties of each compound. Just exactly how much alcohol evaporates indigenous a glass of wine sit on the table? and is the even enough to an alert any difference as you drink it?


Photo courtesy Flickr user Jessica Spengler

While this ide is just a matter of straightforward physics, there yes, really hasn’t been very much study on the topic in the peer-review arena. Researches have displayed that the thin film of alcohol that can be viewed along the political parties of a alcohol glass (“wine tears”) is the an outcome of the evaporation that alcohol (also known as the “Marangoni effect”), though this studies never specifically measure the level the alcohol remaining in the glass to check out if any kind of noticeable changes occurred.

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Additionally, the is known that the alcohol content of a wine deserve to significantly influence the aromatics the a wine (as fine as various other sensory characteristics), with details alcohol levels well-known to some winemakers as the “sweet spot” result in the ideal balance, and also any deviation exterior of that sweet spot results in lessened sensory quality.

A study published in September 2016 in the Journal of agricultural and Food Chemistry, aimed to research this phenomenon further, by measuring the changes in alcohol contents in a wine glass end time, and also to identify if these changes had any kind of effect top top the sensory qualities of the wine or not.

Brief Methods

This study employed three separate trials:

Trial 1

A 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon was put in ISO conventional XL5 wine glasses at a volume of 50mL/glass.

Three separate treatments were applied:

The glass was extended with plastic lids.The glass stayed uncovered and also was placed on a laboratory bench through minimal air flow (The glass continued to be uncovered and also was exposed to continual airflow (30.5L/s).

Ethanol content, wine density, and changes in mass to be monitored in ~ 15 minute intervals in between 0 and 120 minutes, then also at 240 minutes and 360 minutes after the attempt began.

Trial 2

2 white table wines, 2 red table wines, and 2 strengthened wines were inserted in ISO traditional XL5 alcohol glasses at a volume that 50mL/glass.

The exact same treatment problems as was performed in psychological 1 were repeated in attempt 2.

Ethanol content, alcohol density, and also changes in mass to be monitored at the start of the trial, and then again 120 minute later.


Trial 3

In this trial, glass kind and volume that wine to be examined.

The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (the exact same as was used in attempt 1) was inserted into three different types of glasses:

The ISO typical XL5A sparkling wine fluteA Riedel Ouverture Magnum

The therapies were the very same as in Trials 1 and 2, though for Trial 3, and additional glass that 100mL (in the ISO traditional XL5 glass) to be included.

Ethanol content, wine density, and changes in mass to be monitored at the beginning of the trial, and also then again 120 minute later.

Wine glass height, surface area the wine, and diameter that the glass opening were measured.

Sensory Analysis

A dashboard of 18 judges was made use of for the sensory analysis section of this study.

The wines supplied were from Trial 1 at the 120 minute mark.

Wines to be presented to the judges in covered glasses and also in arbitrarily order. The judges to be asked simply to smell the wines and determine i beg your pardon one(s) were different (if they differed in ~ all).

Other Analyses

Volatile compounds (including esters and also alcohols) in the wines to be measured and analyzed making use of gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy.

Selected Results

Trial 1

No alters in ethanol content, density, or fixed were found in wines the were covered.With uncovered wines, far-ranging differences in ethanol contents were noted within 15 minute of the trial start.After 6 hours, the wine exposed to minimal airflow lost 1% alcohol through volume (abv), had a slight increase in density, and also lost close come 1g of mass.After 6 hours, the alcohol exposed come a steady circulation of air shed 3.2% abv, had boost in density, and also lost close come 3.5g the mass.

Trial 2

Results native Trial 2 were pretty much the exact same as they to be in trial 1.Initial alcohol contents did not seem come influence just how much alcohol was shed over the course of the 2 hour trial.

Trial 3

As through both attempt 1 and also Trial 2, covered wines witnessed no transforms in ethanol content, if uncovered wines differed significantly.The larger Riedel Ouverture Magnum glasses observed the biggest loss that abv.Headspace volume was strongly correlated with alcohol loss.Taking the above two results, when the bigger opening of the glass impacted abv loss, the volume of wine inside the glass likewise influenced this loss, thereby glass size alone isn’t the only player here.

Sensory & chemistry Analyses

13 of the 18 judges to be able to recognize the glass with the reduced alcohol content.11 the end of 15 volatile link analyzed were found to be considerably lower in the uncovered wines exposed to steady airflow.Losses observed included:64% because that ethyl octanoate.100% because that 2-methylpropyl acetate and hexyl acetate (the researchers noted these 2 were already quite short to begin with).21% for hexanol.38% because that ethyl decanoate.


Overall, the results showed that several of the alcohol in a glass of wine will certainly evaporate in as early as 15 minute after being collection out and also exposed to airflow, though it took up to 2 hrs for the alcohol to drop 1% in those wines exposed to the best airflow. ~ 2 hours, most of the judges were able to choose out the wine that had actually been sitting out. After ~ 6 hours, alcohol levels in the wines reduce upwards the 3.2%abv.

For every job consumers, ns imagine most aren’t milking a single glass of wine over the food of 2 to 6 hours, for this reason they are more than likely drinking the fast sufficient such the the little drop in abv would be left unnoticed. That being said, since the study only did the sensory analysis at the


2 hour mark, ns can’t be totally certain that someone can not tell the distinction at an previously time point. Having actually the judges sample the wines in ~ the previously time suggest would paint a clearer photo on the subject.

Where the outcomes of this study perform come in to play, however, is in the situation where you have a major judging event, such as a wine competition or part other occasion where over there is the possibility of glasses of wine gift left out for a longer period. Some wine competitions have actually strict protocols where they keep the wine glasses covered after they have been poured, but for those competitions that don’t rental this practice, there is a adjust that last results the the competition can be affected due to far-ranging sensory changes of some of the wines that have actually been sitting out for a while.

With numerous competitions or other professional tastings, efforts are frequently made to shot and limit the number of wines a solitary judge is responsible because that evaluating, however, that occasionally can’t occur for logistical purposes, and also a single judge ends up having to taste a significant number of wines that take up a much longer chunk the time. If the wines room poured right into glasses and also not consequently covered, the results of this research would show that the alcohol content and the aromatic volatile components of the wine would certainly change, top to decreased quality of the alcohol in the glass and therefore no representative of the wine the was gotten in into the compete or tasting.

It should also be noted that the size/shape the the wine glass showed up to affect the alcohol/volatile contents of the wine, with bigger openings top to greater evaporation (and thereby greater volatile loss) end time. This an outcome could likewise be important for wine judging, particularly again if a wine is going to be setting out because that a long duration of time.

Of course, the outcomes of this research would indicate that all you have to do is placed a sheathe on the wine glass to avoid any type of of these changes in the chemical and sensory characteristics of the wine, so about theory you have the right to use whatever glasses girlfriend want and let the wines sit out for as lengthy as you desire (until a point, i’m sure…) and the wine will certainly be the exact same as the was once it was first poured.

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Wollan, D., Pham, D-T., and Wilkinson, K.L. 2016. Transforms in alcohol Ethanol Content because of Evaporation from wine Glasses and Implications for Sensory Analysis. Journal of farming and Food Chemistry 64: 7569-7575.