Curiosities & insights – Why are wine bottles 75 cl?

bottiglie 75cl

Scritto da Elena Boschini

April 19, 2021

Now we are used to seeing them of this size, so we don’t pause too much to think about them but have you ever wondered why the bottles of wine are 75 cl and no longer 1 liter? Is there a specific reason behind this choice? Yes, it is! It is a particular story that we have decided to tell you to satisfy your curiosity.


The many stories of the origin of 75 cl size bottles

First of all, you should know that the capacity of the wine bottle was standardized in the 19th century. Before then it was not usual to bottle wine, but it was often kept collected in jugs and the families used to go to the producer to fill their own: this habit remained very widespread in Italy until the last century and also here in Poggio al Bosco many of the local families, in the past, came to visit us on the farm to fill up with good wine their jugs. Only in more recent times, the wealthiest people have begun to trade and buy bottled wine and there are many reasons to explain why the specific capacity of 75 cl was chosen, some even very nice, but only one is the real one.

A particularly suggestive theory explains that 75 cl would be the greatest capacity of the ancient masters who blew glass. It seems that, once the importance of storing wine in the glass was understood, they started to produce these special containers but they were able to blow bottles no larger than 65-75 cl. According to another story, much more fun, the bottle of 75 cl contains exactly 6 glasses of 125 ml, the ones used in the old taverns, and this quantity was considered the average of wine to drink at each meal (it is not specified how many people he was referring to, but we like to think that the average was 6 glasses, so 1 bottle, each!). Two other theories, more realistic, explains that 75 cl was the best size bottle to contain, store and transport liquid. Let’s say that the truth comes close to these last ideas and it was a practical organization motif with a historical basis: read on below to find out why.


The most accredited version: the French wine trade in the nineteenth century

In the 19th century, the main customers of French wine producers were the English that has never taken the same reference measures as the rest of Europe. The British unit of volume was the imperial gallon, equivalent to 4,546 liters. To simplify the conversions, French merchants carried their own wine from Bordeaux in barrels of 225 liters, that is 50 gallons, corresponding to 300 bottles of 75 cl. In this way, they obtained “even numbers” because the equivalence was 1 barrel = 50 gallons = 300 bottles. The utility diffusion did the rest helping to standardize this unit of measurement for wine containers. From this story also derives today’s habit of packaging 6 or 12 bottle wine boxes because 1 gallon corresponds exactly to 6 bottles.

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ultima modifica: 2021-04-19T11:05:26+01:00 We reveal the reason why the bottles of wine have a capacity of 75 cl: the reason is linked to the ancient trade between the French and the English da Elena Boschini

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