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Grappes & Le Parisien
Everything you always wanted to know about wine but never dared to ask

Many people wonder why wine bottles are 75cl and not 1L. The Clusters are here to answer this question!

A little history

It should be noted that the wine bottle was standardised in the 19th century. Thus you can still find on the label 73 cl on very old bottles. They then had a capacity of 75 cl. But when they put the cork on, the bottle overflowed and 2 cl were lost. Today we display 75 cl on wine bottles; without the cork the capacity would be 77 cl.

Preconceived ideas

The capacity is 75 cl for a practical reason. It is not because it corresponds to the lung capacity of a glass blower. Not for conservation reasons. Nor because the size of this bottle is related to the average consumption during a meal. According to some, we drink an average of 75 cl of wine when we share a meal. All these reasons are false! In Europe and France, the law allows eight different
volumes from 100 ml to 1.5L.

The real reason

The wine bottles were standardized to 75 cl because at the time, the main customers of the French wine estates were our English neighbours. But the difference in measurement between the English and French is a concern for exchanges. The English measurement system is the imperial gallon, which is precisely equivalent to 4.54609 litres. Conversions from one measure to another are not simple and therefore a common quantity must be found.

To avoid too many complications during the conversion, it was agreed that 225 litres would be transported in barrels, which is equivalent to 50 gallons rounded up. The goal was to have a round number. In addition, 225 litres corresponds to 300 75 cl bottles. Setting the capacity at 75 cl was therefore the solution to facilitate exchanges with the English and continue sales. To propose another volume would have complicated things! The 75 cl capacity has therefore been standardised to facilitate the situation and is now being introduced in a European way. 1 gallon was therefore worth 6 bottles.

Even today the wine trade is still marked by this history because the majority of wine bottle cases are sold by 6 or 12!

Lou Dubois for Les Grappes

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