Wine Words Demystified – Legs

I’m introducing a new feature – Wine Words Demystified.  You know the deal, the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases.

This week’s word is legs…

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

…legs are rivulets of wine that have inched up the inside surface of the glass above the wine, the run slowly back down.  Myths has it that the fatter the legs, the better the wine.  This is not true.  The width of legs is determined by the interrelationship of a number of complex factors, including the amount of alcohol, the amount of GLYCEROL, and the rate of evaporation of the alcohol.

In other words, legs has to do with the alcohol content of wine. As such, they are most visible in a wine with high alcohol content.  I should note that a wine’s body is affected by the alcohol content, so I think there is some relationship between the legs and the body of a wine.  However, there are many other more reliable factors than legs. Therefore, I consider legs to be a poor indicator of quality.


  1. Loved your clear and concise description. Great post.

Comments are closed.