02/09/2012 09:30 am ET

Champagne Glass Study Shows Higher Carbon Dioxide Concentration In Flute Than In Coupe

Listen to the podcast on Scientific America here.

Champagne. Do you drink it out of a narrow flute or the broader, more shallow coupe?

You may have noticed that your perception of the bubbly wine changed as gas escaped from it, and new research finds that the concentration of gas depends on the glass.

French researchers, but of course, monitored the concentration of ethanol and carbon dioxide in each type of glass for 15 minutes after champagne was poured. They discovered that there was a much higher concentration of carbon dioxide in the tall flute than the broad coupe.

Infrared imaging of the glasses gave a visual confirmation. Although the glass shape did not affect the concentration of ethanol vapor, the temperature did, with chilled champagne releasing less ethanol, but the same amount of carbon dioxide. The work is in the journal Public Library of Science ONE. [Gérard Liger-Belair et al, Monitoring Gaseous CO2 and Ethanol above Champagne Glasses: Flute versus Coupe, and the Role of Temperature]

Based on their findings, the researchers were able to construct a model for how carbon dioxide moves from liquid to gas. And for champagne drinkers, the finding may help them choose the perfect glass. Cheers.

—Sophie Bushwick

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast]