The wine is bottled in different shapes and sizes. However, the vast majority of containers on store shelves have a standard volume of 750 ml. The exceptions are rare brands of sweet European wines and one and a half liter magnums with champagne, which look exotic and are not in high demand. Next, we will understand why a bottle of wine is 750 ml, and how the standard appeared, which is now accepted by all manufacturers.
A bit of history
Wine bottles date back to the Middle Ages, but for centuries they have been part of the table setting. Until the XNUMXth century, glassware was considered a luxury item, as it was made by hand. Noble people ordered containers for wine in glass-blowing workshops, where the vessels were decorated with coats of arms and monograms. Glassware was in great demand in Great Britain, where wine was expensive, as it was exported from France.
The size of the bottle then was 700-800 ml – according to the volume of a light glass blower.
For a long time, wine was allowed to be sold only by barrels, and drinks were bottled just before serving. The reason for the ban is simple – with manual production, it was difficult to make containers of the same size, which opened up opportunities for deceiving buyers. In addition, fragile glass could not withstand long transportation and broke.
In the 1821th century, the British improved the material, which became more durable by changing the formula and firing the glass in charcoal kilns. In XNUMX, the English company Rickets of Bristol patented the first machine that produced bottles of identical size, but the sale of wine in glass containers in England was allowed only forty years later, and a separate license was required for trade.
Bottle standards in Europe and the USA
A single standard for a 750 ml bottle was introduced by the French at the end of the 4,546th century. Great Britain has traditionally been one of the main buyers of French wines, however, settlements with neighbors were carried out in “imperial gallons” (XNUMX liters).
In France, the metric system operated and the volume of one barrel was 225 liters. To save time and avoid inaccuracies, winemakers from Bordeaux offered the British to carry out calculations in bottles, and they agreed. One gallon corresponded to 6 bottles of wine, and a barrel held exactly 300.
In Italy and France, 750 ml bottles became standard at the beginning of the 125th century, primarily because of convenience. Cafes and restaurants served wine by the glass, in which case one bottle held exactly six servings of XNUMX ml each. During the First World War, soldiers of the French army received daily alcohol rations from wine stocks, which were donated to the needs of the front by the producers of Bordeaux and Languedoc. Although wine was poured from barrels, the calculation was carried out in bottles – one for three.
Until the late 1970s, the United States had its own standards. After the repeal of Prohibition, the government approved rules that required whiskey and wine to be sold in 1/5-gallon bottles, which was about 0,9 liters. Unification was necessary for the calculation of taxes, since before that saloon owners practiced selling whiskey in barrels of different volumes. Uniform requirements were established for both wine and spirits.
With the development of international trade, there is a need to develop a unified approach to the volume of containers. The European Economic Community in 1976 approved a single standard for wine bottles – 750 ml, although vintage varieties could be bottled in dishes of a different volume.
There were no strict requirements for the tare weight, today the weight of an empty bottle of 750 ml can be from 0,4 to 0,5 kg.
In 1979, the United States introduced the metric system for liquor packaging to make it easier for American winemakers to trade in Europe. The rules provided for seven sizes of bottles, but the volume of 750 ml was recognized as the standard for wine.
Fancy wine bottles
The shapes and sizes of bottles are closely related to the traditions of the producing country. Hungarian Tokay is bottled in Half-liter or Jennie – half-liter bottles of a special shape, while in Italy Prosecco and Asti are sold in small piccolo bottles with a capacity of 187,5 ml. In France, magnums with a volume of 1,5 liters are common, in which manufacturers pour champagne. The volume of larger bottles is usually a multiple of one and a half liters.
Non-traditional sized containers are given the names of biblical characters:
- Rehoboam – the son of Solomon and the king of Judah Rehoboam, 4,5 l;
- Mathusalem – Methuselah, one of the forefathers of mankind, 6 l;
- Balthazar – Balthazar, eldest son of the last ruler of Babylon, 12 years old;
- Melchizedek – Melchizedek, the legendary king of Salem, 30 y.o.
Huge bottles of champagne usually serve as an element of a festive show at weddings and celebrations. It is not easy, and often completely impossible, to pour wine from them in a standard way. For example, Melchizedek weighs more than 50 kg, so the container is fixed on a cart, and the wine is poured using a mechanism that allows you to gently tilt the neck. A 30-liter bottle contains exactly 300 glasses of champagne.