What causes "Wine Legs"?

January 28, 2022 by
Maytte Rivera

One of the basic processes when appreciating wine is observing what is happening in the glass.  As we swirl our wine and set it down, we can see how the liquid drips down the sides of the glass in small, long drops, almost like tears.  What causes these wine “legs” or “tears”? And more importantly, what can they tell us about the wine?

The cause of wine legs has been a matter of studies for a century.  The complicated answer is a matter of balance between the stress of the wine on the surface of the glass and gravity.  To put it simply, alcohol can change the way wine adheres to the surface of the glass, making the tears flow slower.  Heavy, slow tears can indicate a wine that is higher in alcohol content and richer in texture, making the wine seem fuller in body.  However, wines that are served colder tend to have faster tears than wines that are served at a higher temperature.

Can wine legs be an indication of the quality of a wine? Not at all.  Only our sense of smell and taste can determine quality…. So keep on tasting!

Author: Maytte Rivera

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in Wine