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Which way do you swirl your wine?
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Which way do you swirl your wine?

We're a few days late for April Fool's Day, which would have been the perfect time for this. But even belatedly, a delightfully silly subject that came up yesterday in our interactive Wine Lovers' Discussion Group seemed too good to pass by.

Let's set the scene: As we learn in school, the Coriolis Force is the tendency for a moving body on or above the earth's surface to drift sideways from its course because of the earth's rotational direction and speed. In addition to posing computational issues for navigation, Coriolis also allegedly causes water to twirl clockwise when it goes down the drain north of the Equator, while spinning counterclockwise Down Under. (A theoretical effect that can't always be observed in nature, by the way, as irregularities in the sink surface and other variables may be more powerful in any given case than Coriolis.)

But I digress: Since most wine lovers routinely swirl wine in their glass as a way to enhance the "nose" of the wine (coating the inside of the glass with a thin layer of wine that evaporates quickly, releasing volatile aromas), the question becomes obvious: Do wine enthusiasts South of the Equator tend to swirl their wine in the opposite direction than those of us in the North?

A few quick anecdotal reports were inconclusive, seemingly unrelated to place of residence or whether the taster is right- or left-handed.

For the record, I live near the 38th parallel north latitude, am right-handed, and invariably swirl clockwise. How about you? To sort out this issue once and for all, we've set up a special edition of our Wine Lovers' Voting Booth to collect your input. I hope you'll take a moment to click to this ballot,
http://www.wineloverspage.com/votebooth/vbswirl.shtml,
and tell us which hemisphere you live in and ... which way you swirl.

And if you would like to join in the Wine Lovers' Discussion Group conversation on this topic, here's the link:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/cgi-bin/sb/index.cgi?fn=1&tid=28608.

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We welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please click to http://wineloverspage.com/ask_a_question.phtml. You may also send E-mail to wine@wineloverspage.com, but the link above is the simplest way to reach me directly.

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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

Thursday, April 4, 2002
Copyright 2002 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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