Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

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Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Mike Jacobs » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:03 pm

Just wondering why 3/4 liter became the norm rather than a nice round 1.0 liter? :?:
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Howie Hart » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:20 pm

I'm not sure about the metric origin, but a standard bottle of wine or liquor in the US used to be a "Fifth" or 1/5 gallon, which is 25.6 oz. Sometime in the 1970s this size bottle was "Internationalized" to 750 ml or 25.4 oz. At the time many folks felt they were getting cheated. :roll: However, a 750 ml bottle is just about the right size for 2 people to share over dinner.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Mike Jacobs » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:47 pm

Thanks Howie.
Did Europe adopt the Americanized standard of 750ml or do they use another size?
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Bernard Roth » Sat Jun 14, 2008 1:42 am

Some older bottles from Europe were not exactly 750 ml. I have seen 73 cl, for example.

It may be more to do with bottle manufacturing, or maybe that in the past people had smaller hands.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Neil Courtney » Sat Jun 14, 2008 4:08 am

I understood it has something to do with the the average size of the glass blowers lungs way back when they made the bottles by hand.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Tim York » Sat Jun 14, 2008 5:20 am

I opened a Swiss bottle of 70cl last night. I believe that Switzerland has now moved to the 75cl European norm.

With the increasing alcoholic strength of most wine coupled with growing demonization of alcohol by governments, i have seen calls for the standard bottle size to be reduced to 50cl on the rationale that this amount is the maximum which can be safely consumed in a day by a couple.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Peter May » Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:13 am

Bernard Roth wrote:Some older bottles from Europe were not exactly 750 ml. I have seen 73 cl, for example.


I am certain you'll find the bottles labelled with 73cl were intended for the UK market and were in fact 75cl size bottles.

Until the UK adopted EU laws regarding measurements, it was an offence to sell less than the labelled amount*. So French wine intended for the UK was labelled as containing 2cl less than they were labelled as in France to cater for any shortfill.



* similar laws were the origin of the 'bakers dozen' and cottage loaf
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Peter May » Sat Jun 14, 2008 6:20 am

Mike Jacobs wrote:Just wondering why 3/4 liter became the norm rather than a nice round 1.0 liter? :?:


I've heard a number of reasons

1) related to size that could be blown by a glass blower
2) It relates to the measure of wine that allotted to French farmworkers as a daily ration when working in the field
3) Amount of wine a man would comforatble drink with a meal (in the days when 10-11%abv was standard)


I'm pretty sure the measure predates the metric measurement, i.e. 75cl was selected as being the closest to it
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Oswaldo Costa » Sat Jun 14, 2008 8:42 am

Vin Jaune from the Jura is sold in clavelins, 620ml bottles, because 38% of the juice evaporates during the making. What I don't understand is why they applied the 38% discount to 1 liter instead of 750 ml (which would have generated 465 ml bottles).

Incidentally, the above makes me wonder if the 750 bottle wasn't developed because 25% of the juice evaporates during fermentation and barrel ageing...
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Dale Williams » Sat Jun 14, 2008 12:18 pm

Peter May wrote:I'm pretty sure the measure predates the metric measurement, i.e. 75cl was selected as being the closest to it


Yes, most surviving 17th & 18th century bottles seem to be roughly between 700 & 800 ml, with no true standardization. Metric system was adopted around 1800, then Napolean suspended it, didn't come into widespread useage till I thnk 1830s.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Nathan Smyth » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:27 pm

Howie Hart wrote:However, a 750 ml bottle is just about the right size for 2 people to share over dinner.

I'll probably catch Hades for saying this, but for average-sized people [she maybe 120lbs, he maybe 160lbs], 375ml of 14%+ red wine is gonna get them zonked [especially she, at maybe 25% less body mass than he].

Which would be okay maybe once a week, but you start doing that every night and you better have a liver made outta titanium.

I'd like to think that most folks visit [& re-visit] a bottle of wine over the course of two or three days, but at some point the thing is gonna oxidize.

Actually, it seems to me that with the resurgence in screw-capped wines, there could be an opening for more 1000ml bottles, especially at the low end of the market - with screw caps, there's a much better chance that the wine will last upwards of a week, which is what most [???] people would want out of a 1000ml bottle.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Victorwine » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:48 pm

Great answers from everyone. Some might find the following link interesting;
http://www.wineintro.com/history/glassware/general.html

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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby ClarkDGigHbr » Sun Jun 15, 2008 2:50 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:Actually, it seems to me that with the resurgence in screw-capped wines, there could be an opening for more 1000ml bottles, especially at the low end of the market - with screw caps, there's a much better chance that the wine will last upwards of a week, which is what most [???] people would want out of a 1000ml bottle.


This larger bottle would not necessarily appeal to me. When I have wine with dinner at home, my wife typically does not drink any of it and I usually do not feel like drinking 1/2 bottle per night. That means the larger bottle would sit partially consumed an additional day, which then increases the likelihood I would get bored with it or it gets oxidized. Either way, that remaining portion would get dumped.

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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Michael K » Sun Jun 15, 2008 4:13 pm

Bernard Roth wrote:Some older bottles from Europe were not exactly 750 ml. I have seen 73 cl, for example.

It may be more to do with bottle manufacturing, or maybe that in the past people had smaller hands.

Yup,

Just opened a bottle of 1970 Ch. L'Arrosee and that was marked 73 cL.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Nathan Smyth » Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:48 pm

ClarkDGigHbr wrote:That means the larger bottle would sit partially consumed an additional day, which then increases the likelihood I would get bored with it or it gets oxidized.

I don't think I've ever seen that sentiment expressed on a wine bulletin board.

Does this happen often - that you get "bored" with wines?

I can see it happening maybe with a wine which was new to you - something you were trying for the first time - but do you get bored with old favorites - wines which you've gone back to the store to purchase again and again?
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Thomas » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:01 pm

Nathan Smyth wrote:
Howie Hart wrote:However, a 750 ml bottle is just about the right size for 2 people to share over dinner.

I'll probably catch Hades for saying this, but for average-sized people [she maybe 120lbs, he maybe 160lbs], 375ml of 14%+ red wine is gonna get them zonked [especially she, at maybe 25% less body mass than he].

Which would be okay maybe once a week, but you start doing that every night and you better have a liver made outta titanium.



I disagree with the generality, but even if I did agree, lower alcohol wines do exist.

The one and only Louis Pasteur proclaimed 375 ml of wine daily for general health. That's about 3 glasses. Back then, the average Bordeaux didn't exceed 12%.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Dale Williams » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:39 pm

We generally don't finish a 750 ml bottle. Typically we go through between 2/3s and 3/4s of a bottle. We revisit the next day, though often on day 2 or 3 it ends up in vinegar crock. But I'd guess once or twice a week we finish a 750, and I certainly don't think either of us are "zonked" at that time. I'd guess if we finish a bottle it's me drinking at least 2/3s. so probably between 3 & 4 standard drinks. Part of the difference is typically I probably open as she's cooking. We have a little, then some with dinner, and then some over evening. 16-18 oz of wine over 3-4 hours doesn't zonk me (I'm about 225, Betsy is maybe 115, though please dont tell her I discussed her weight online!).

I generally like variety and matching foods to dinner, so definitely would not be interested in bigger bottles to visit more times. While I might not call it getting bored with favorites, I have no desire to drink the same wine again and again.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:41 pm

Dale Williams wrote:We generally don't finish a 750 ml bottle. Typically we go through between 2/3s and 3/4s of a bottle. ... I generally like variety and matching foods to dinner, so definitely would not be interested in bigger bottles to visit more times. While I might not call it getting bored with favorites, I have no desire to drink the same wine again and again.

Total agreement from here on both counts, Dale.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Robin Garr » Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:04 pm

Mike Jacobs wrote:Just wondering why 3/4 liter became the norm rather than a nice round 1.0 liter? :?:

This is a great thread! I'll probably feature it as the topic of tomorrow's 30 Second Wine Advisor, so keep the historical and cultural factoids coming ...
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Mike Jacobs » Sun Jun 15, 2008 7:37 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Mike Jacobs wrote:Just wondering why 3/4 liter became the norm rather than a nice round 1.0 liter? :?:

This is a great thread! I'll probably feature it as the topic of tomorrow's 30 Second Wine Advisor, so keep the historical and cultural factoids coming ...

Wow that's cool! thanks :)
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Victorwine » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:17 pm

Great topic and discussions. But I think we are losing sight of one important fact. Those “larger” bottles do have a purpose. An age worthy wine does age differently in larger version bottles. I guess we can argue that for the most part most wines produced today are meant to be drunk (or “ready to drink”) upon release, but surely somewhere hidden in the library cellars of the wineries are wines stored in “larger” bottles.

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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby Alan Wolfe » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:11 pm

I seem to remember a comment by an Englishman, a wine journalist as I recall, commenting that he was in favor of the 500mL bottle as being "the amount of wine a gentleman of prudent habits could comfortably consume at a meal." That makes some sense to me. What that may or may not have to do with the standard 750mL bottle Ior this conversation I hesitate to profess.
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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby ClarkDGigHbr » Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:28 am

Nathan Smyth wrote:
ClarkDGigHbr wrote:That means the larger bottle would sit partially consumed an additional day, which then increases the likelihood I would get bored with it or it gets oxidized.

I don't think I've ever seen that sentiment expressed on a wine bulletin board.

Does this happen often - that you get "bored" with wines?

I can see it happening maybe with a wine which was new to you - something you were trying for the first time - but do you get bored with old favorites - wines which you've gone back to the store to purchase again and again?


So many wines, so little time ... . Having an open bottle hang around for a fourth meal just doesn't sound all that thrilling. Of course, if the wine is really a favorite blockbuster, I tend to drink more of it per meal, and even get my wife to join in. :wink: Of course, I could just give the remainder to one of my neighbors; they appreciate receiving the partial bottles of nice wine I periodically carry over to them.

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Re: Why 750ml vs 1L as standard btl size?

Postby JeanF » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:59 am

The best answer that I have had as to why the standard bottle is not 100cl but 75cl came from a Bordeaux producer:

"because 75cl is just not enough for two for a dinner"

so you see, it's all a marketing trick to make us enjoy more wines
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