Wine Legs banner image

What are “Legs” in a Wine

A common and very valid question often asked at wine tastings is, “What do legs in a wine mean?” In the United States wine lovers commonly use the term “legs” to signify the rivulets of wine that stream down the side of your glass after you swirl your wine, or that appear when you hold the glass at an angle and then turn it upright. Other cultures use different terminology. In Spain and England, they are known as tears; in Germany they are called cathedral windows. Whatever the name, the common wine myth that legs somehow reveal the quality of a wine is misleading.

Two wine elements are primary when it comes to legs in a wine, whether that be red or white, and the first is alcohol. Leg width depends on a complex array of factors related to the amount of alcohol, its rate of evaporation, ambient temperature and humidity, and the surface tension between wine and glass. Generally, then, this means that a higher alcohol wine will show thicker, slower legs. This phenomenon can make for a fun wine party game! Guests examine a wine’s legs and try to guess the alcohol level.

The second major element when it comes to legs in a wine is sugar. Of course, dry wines have little to none of this, so it’s not always a factor. But when present, sugar will indeed cause slower, more viscous legs. Obviously, if you put the two elements together, as in Port, the legs can be substantial! All that alcohol and residual sugar will mesmerize you with sexy legs that slowly glide down the glass like an actress sashaying across the red carpet. Bottom line: legs in a wine may offer a lot of visual appeal, but if you want to determine a wine’s quality you’ll have to taste it. Oh darn.

Internet Explorer is no longer supported.
Please use a different browser like Edge, Chrome or Firefox to enjoy all that has to offer.

It's easy to make the switch.
Enjoy better browsing and increased security.

Yes, Update Now
Cheers to You!

New Customers! Save $20 off $100*. Code NEW2021

New Customers! Save $20 off $100*. Code NEW2021

There was an error redeeming your code.

*New customers only. One-time use per customer. Order must be placed by 7/31/2021. The $20 discount is given for a single order with a minimum of $100 excluding shipping and tax. Items with pricing ending in .97 are excluded and will not count toward the minimum required. Discount does not apply to corporate orders, gift certificates, StewardShip membership fees, select Champagne brands, Riedel glassware, fine and rare wine, 187ML splits, Picked by subscriptions, and all bottles 3.0 liters or larger. No other promotion codes, coupon codes or corporate discounts may be applied to order. Offer valid subject to state law limitations.

Search for ""

$20 off your first Picked box. Code 20PICK

$20 off your first box. Code 20PICK

There was an error redeeming your code.

*Offer only valid for first-time Picked subscribers. The $20 discount applies to the first 6-bottle shipment of your Picked subscription and excludes tax and shipping. Offer may not be combined with any other promotion or used with any other discounts on has the right to end or modify any offer at any time. Additional restrictions may apply, see terms and conditions for more details. Offer subject to state law limitations.

Processing Your Order...