If you’ve ever poured wine out of a glass bottle, you’re already familiar with that annoying yet inevitable stream of spillage on the side of the bottle. It’s been a bane of wine aficionados for centuries, but no more, thanks to this drip-proof wine bottle created by a biophysicist.
Humanity has come a long way in the last two centuries. We’ve found cures to deadly diseases, sent people into outer space and connected the world through the internet, but we still had to put up with the frustration of pouring wine. There’s no way to avoid spilling that delicious liquid when pouring it out of a classic glass bottle. Sommeliers know this and wrap a napkin around the neck of the bottle when they pour. But that just wasn’t a good enough solution for Daniel Perlman, a wine lover and biophysicist at Brandeis University. So he set out to find a cheap and effective fix to this centuries-old problem.
There are products you can buy to prevent wine spillage when pouring, but they cost money and need to be inserted into the neck of the bottle to work properly. Perlman, a renowned inventor with over 100 patents to his name, wanted a free solution that didn’t require wine lovers to take additional steps after buying a wine bottle. So he decided to focus on the bottle itself.
“I wanted to change the wine bottle itself,” Perlman says. “I didn’t want there to be the additional cost or inconvenience of buying an accessory.” To do this, he studied slow-motion videos of wine being poured, and noticed that the drippage was most extreme when a bottle was full or nearly so, and that the stream of wine tends to curl over the lib of the bottle and run down the side of the bottle, because glass is hydrophilic (attracts water-based liquids).
The scientist’s solution was as simple as it was brilliant – using a diamond-studded tool, Perlman made a circular groove around the neck of the bottle just below the lip. Now, a drop of wine that would otherwise flow down the side of the bottle unrestricted meets the groove and can’t traverse it. Instead, it drops from the bottle, straight into the glass, where it belongs. Brilliant!
Perfecting the size and depth of the groove took a lot of testing, but Perlman ultimately found that a groove roughly 2 mm wide and 1 mm deep was enough to make it impossible for the wine stream to pass. For the dripping wine to cross over this groove, it would have to fight against gravity to travel up into the groove first, or to have enough momentum to simply jump over it. The perfected dimensions of the groove ensure that that never happens.
Daniel Perlman is currently speaking with bottle manufacturers about adopting his design. Let’s be honest, they’d be crazy not to!
Photos: Brandeis University