Wine Legs

Posted on

While searching for info on the legs of wine, we came across two rather interesting articles:


The legs of wine are the streaks of wine forming on the side of the wine glass.

This phenomenon is caused by the lower surface tension and faster evaporation of alcohol. Legs tell us about alcohol content and colour depth

The legs were once thought to be associated with a wine’s quality (the more legs, the higher the quality). However, the legs have more to do with physics, the wine’s surface tension and alcohol content, than perceived quality.

Wine is a mixture of alcohol and water, the alcohol has a faster evaporation rate and a lower surface tension than water, effectively forcing the alcohol to evaporate at a faster rate. This dynamic allows the water’s surface tension and concentration to increase, pushing the legs up the glass until the surface tension pushes the water into beads. Finally, gravity wins the battle and forces the liquid to tear down the glass in a defeated streak.




We want to clear something up right now: wine legs don’t matter.

In fact, in all of our years involved in wine, we’ve never met anyone who could read them correctly. Nor could they explain why they believe they matter. But, just in case you encounter someone who wants to talk about legs, and claims to understand them, here’s a quick explanation so you’re prepared.

Wine legs, also referred to by the French as the “tears of a wine,” are the droplets or streaks of water that form on the inside of a wine glass as you move the wine around. While some people think these legs relate to the quality, sweetness or viscosity of the wine, THEY DO NOT. In fact, wine legs are just a representation of how much alcohol is in a wine. That said, we have never met anyone who could correctly “read” those legs and then tell us the level of alcohol in the wine. And why should they bother when the alcohol percentage is already printed on the wine label?

So while wine legs look beautiful in a glass as they streak down the sides, don’t worry about reading them, as they don’t matter. Just enjoy the wine and the visual!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s