Big may not be better in Wine Service

Big wine glasses are being blamed for millions of people consuming twice as much as they think according to a National Drug Research Institute study conducted in Australia.

Introduction of big wine glasses was always meant to help swirl the wine and get the maximum bouquets out of the wine, especially the reds. 6-glasses to a bottle may be an implicit norm in many of the Indian restaurants (when they charge on 5-glasses a bottle basis), but 5-glasses (150 mL) is more of an international norm with 4-a bottle (187mL) getting increasingly popular.

However, many restaurants abroad, including Australia and UK have shifted to even 250mL a serving- obviously charging prices on the size basis but consumers counting in terms of glass being a standard drink.

Prof Steve Allsop, who was involved in the study, says heavy drinking was creating a generation of women who were at greater risk of weight gain, cancer and brain and liver damage.

In the National Drug Research Institute study, researcher Celia Wilkinson asked women participants how many standard drinks they consumed in a week. They were then asked to pour their "normal" drink.

"We measured it and found people are clearly making an error, anything from underestimating it from 10 per cent up to 50 and even 100 per cent," Prof Allsop said.

It meant a woman who believed she had consumed three glasses of wine had had as many as six.

Groups of women gave conflicting answers to the amount of wine in a standard glass. Their estimates ranged from 375ml in a glass of wine to 150ml.

Professor Allsop said research had also shown that women's increased independence, both financially and socially, had led to females becoming heavy drinkers. Women in higher-paid jobs, particularly those in managerial positions, were especially vulnerable, research had found.

The Federal Government would introduce new standard drink logos - showing the number of standard drinks in a product, a Department of Health spokeswoman said.

Research shows 70 per cent of men and 60 per cent of women have no clue about the volume of alcohol required to put them at risk of suffering brain damage. A survey last year found one in five women believed they could consume four standard drinks a day over 8 -10 years without incurring brain damage, when in fact drinking at that level puts them at significant risk.

One aspect of over consumption that the study seems to have had a fleeting glance at, is the absolute level of consumption. It is not only the size of the drink but amount of alcohol which is equally important to consider. For instance, a German Riesling may have 8% alcohol by volume whereas Chablis may have 12.5%. It is not uncommon to find alcohol levels of 14-15.5% and even more; touching 16% in some Australian reds. The producers even have the freedom to under-declare alcohol level by .5-1% in some countries. Obviously, a standard glass of 150 mL (a standard recommended by delWine) of this German Riesling will have HALF the alcohol than the Australian Shiraz having 15.5% or more.

We strongly urge our readers to read the labels carefully, watch the level of alcohol and consume accordingly. If the wine producer insists on giving you more alcohol due to the integrity, balance and structure of his wine, by all means drink it-but drink less accordingly to be in the safe limits of health and driving capabilities-editor

Subhash Arora




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