Anyone who has enjoyed a glass of wine has undoubtedly noticed the regular pattern of liquid beads that fall along the inside of the glass, or 'tears of wine.' The phenomenon is the result of a flow against gravity along the liquid film on the glass, which is induced by an interfacial tension gradient. It is generally accepted that the interfacial tension gradient is due to a composition gradient resulting from the evaporation of ethanol. We re-examine the tears of wine phenomenon and investigate the importance of thermal effects, which previously have been ignored. Using a novel experiment and simple model we find that evaporative cooling contributes significantly to the flow responsible for wine tears, and that this phenomenon occurs primarily because of the thermodynamic behavior of ethanol-water mixtures. Also, the regular pattern of tear formation is identified as a well-known hydrodynamic instability.
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