Oenologie - Pourquoi les bouteilles font 75cl ? - Les Grappes

Why are the bottles 75 centilitres?

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

A little history

It is important to know that the wine bottle was standardized in the 19th century.

On very old bottles, you can still find on the label the indication 73 cl. These bottles had a capacity of 75 cl, but when the cork was put in, the bottle overflowed and 2 cl were lost.

Today, wine bottles are labelled 75 cl; without the cork, the capacity would be 77 cl.

The received ideas

The capacity is 75 cl for a practical reason. It is not because it corresponds to the lung capacity of a glass blower, nor for conservation reasons, nor because the size of this bottle is related to the average consumption during a meal. All these reasons are wrong! In Europe and in France, the law allows eight different volumes from 100 ml to 1.5 L.

The real reason: to simplify the bottle trade

Wine bottles were standardized to 75 cl because at the time, the main customers of French wineries were our English neighbors. But the difference in measurement between the English and the French is a concern for trade. The English system of measurement is the imperial gallon which is precisely equivalent to 4.54609 liters. The conversions from one measure to another are not simple and it is necessary to find a common quantity.

To avoid too much complication in the conversion, it was agreed that 225 liters would be carried in barrels, which is equivalent to 50 gallons in rounding. The goal was to have a round number. Moreover, 225 liters correspond to 300 bottles of 75 cl. Fixing 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 was therefore standardized to facilitate the situation and is now established in Europe. 1 gallon was worth 6 bottles.

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

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