Vinum Vine

|Sunday| Physics of wine swirling

Posted in Wine by Vinum Vine on October 8, 2012

The purpose of swirling wine in a glass is to release its aromas, known as the wine’s bouquet.

But how does it work?

According to physicists from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland, swirling fluid in a wine glass creates a wave that propagates around the inner edge of the glass.

“The formation of this wave has probably been known since the introduction of glass or any other kind of cylindrical bowl, but what has been lacking is a description of the physics related to the mixing and oxygenation,” said Mohamed Farhat, senior scientist at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne.

Wine lovers have long known that swirling wine draws in oxygen from the air, which intensifies the aroma of the wine.

Farhat and his colleagues explained to the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics in 2011 that “as the wave propagates along the glass wall, the liquid is displaced back and forth from bottom to top and from the center to the periphery.”

“This pumping mechanism, induced by the wave, is more pronounced near the free surface and close to the wall, which enhances the mixing.” His research team also discovered that, “for a given glass shape, the mixing and oxygenation may be optimized with an appropriate choice of shaking diameter and rotation speed.”


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