Capacity of wine glasses has increased seven-fold over past 300 years

Capacity of wine glasses has increased seven-fold over past 300 years

Capacity of wine glasses has increased seven-fold over past 300 years

"A further influence on wine glass size may have come from people running bars and restaurants, as well as their customers", Dr. Marteau's study found.

But the big push for bigger glasses may have originated not so much in the desire to drink more wine as to derive greater pleasure from allowing finer wines to breathe in airier vessels.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered that the size of wine glasses has skyrocketed almost seven-fold since the 1700s, with the biggest increase during the last two decades.

Their article in the Christmas issue of The British Medical Journal (The BMJ) says that the capacity of wine glasses in England has increased nearly sevenfold in the past 300 years, with a particularly steep rise since the 1990s.

They found wine glass capacity increased from 66ml in the 1700s to 417ml in the 2000s, with the mean wine glass size in 2016-17 even higher at 449ml. So that increase in glass size could be important. By combining measurements of 411 glasses from five sources, Marteau and colleagues have charted the consistent swelling of the mean volume of wine glasses since 1700.

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They conclude: "If the effect of larger wine glasses on drinking proves reliable, regulating glass size as part of local licensing regulations would expand the policy options for reducing drinking outside the home". "This followed the development of lead crystal glassware by George Ravenscroft in the late 17th century, which led to the manufacture of less fragile and larger glasses than was previously possible".

Increases in the size of wine glasses over time likely reflect changes in a number of factors including price, glass technology, societal wealth and wine appreciation.

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Researcher Dr Zorana Zupan said: 'Since the 1990s, the size has increased rapidly. "From a wine culture point of view I would like to see more elegant glasses in restaurants‚" he said.

The strength of wine sold in the United Kingdom has also increased since the 1990s, adding to the amount of pure alcohol being consumed by wine drinkers.

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Wine glasses in Britain have doubled in size since the 1990s - which scientists believe is making people drink more.

A separate experiment carried out in Cambridge past year found that selling wine in larger glasses - even when the actual amount of wine in the glass remained the same - may encourage people to drink more.

'Whether this led to the rise in wine consumption in England, we can't say for certain, but a wine glass 300 years ago would only have held about a half of today's small measure.

"Until the later 20th century the forms most commonly drunk were beer and spirits, as wine was for the richer Scrooges rather than the poorer Cratchits", they wrote.

And bars are increasingly offering 250ml servings.

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