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Our Massive Wine Glasses Are Out Of Control

16 December 2017

Significantly, wine consumption increased nearly fourfold between 1960 and 1980, and nearly doubled again between 1980 and 2004, a trend attributed to better marketing and licensing liberalisation which allowed supermarkets to compete in the lucrative drinks retail business.

Researchers collected data on wine glasses by examining antique glassware, contacting museum curators, measuring glassware used at Buckingham Palace and, for more modern sizes, online research on eBay and glassware catalogues. They found that when wine was served in bigger glasses, sales increased by 10 percent, despite the fact that there was no material difference in how much wine was served.

Cambridge University researchers assessed glasses dating back hundreds of years, and found they now hold measures more than seven times larger than the meagre tipples enjoyed in the past.

Alongside increased wine glass capacity, the strength of wine sold in the United Kingdom since the 1990s has also increased, thereby likely further increasing any impact of larger wine glasses on the amount of pure alcohol being consumed by wine drinkers.

In the past 25 years alone, the average wine glass has gone from 232ml (1990-93) to 449ml (2016-17). The scientists suggest a few: glass, after being pretty heavily taxed throughout the 18th century, became less expensive, technology allowed it to be produced automatically rather than handmade, and bigger glasses are more capable of surviving knocks and blows.

Drinking a glass of wine today has a whole different meaning than it did some 300 years ago. They theorize the increase in size was linked to a growing appreciation of wine varieties-and glasses tailor-made to feature them.

A "large" glass of chardonnay or merlot in London, for instance, usually means 250 millilitres, the same amount a French bistro might offer in a carafe to be shared by a more abstemious pair.

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Many have questioned whether increases in wine glass sizes may contribute to the nation's overconsumption of alcohol. "From a wine culture point of view I would like to see more elegant glasses in restaurants‚" he said.

Commenting on the findings, Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, told the Guardian: "The size of a wine glass reflects the trend and fashions of the time and is often larger for practical reasons".

A further influence on wine glass size may have come both from those running bars and restaurants, as well as their consumers.

Our forefathers would look at our contemporary wine glasses like zany Carrot Top props-or whoever was the Carrot Top of 1700. Keep in mind, these measurements were taken when the glasses were filled all the way to the brim (which is simply not how we fill a wine glass or ever have).

If smaller glasses would encourage us to drink less and most wine is drunk in the home, it could well be advisable to sit of an evening nursing a thimble of our favourite tipple.

A new study suggests this may be encouraging people to drink more.

Our Massive Wine Glasses Are Out Of Control