Every bottle has a particular shape and a color chosen by the experience and taste of the producer, who reflects his or her poetry through the graphics of labels and the color of capsules. But what is the reason why most of the "standard" wine bottles have a capacity of 75 cl and not of 1 liter?
Today we asked ourselves about this peculiarity which is part of the world of wine since ever...
HISTORY OF THE GLASS BOTTLE
Wine has ancient origins and, besides its evolution during the course of centuries through new production and aging techniques, new grapes and new technologies, even the containers in which it was kept evolved.
For many centuries wine was kept in containers such as amphorae made of many materials, including earthenware and ceramic, or even in leather wineskins. History tells us about wine bottles having a shape similar to the one we know nowadays at the French court of Catherine de' Medici, where, in the 1500's, wine was kept in glass bottles wrapped by wicker baskets in order to protect the wine and to make its transportation easier.
The spreading of glass bottle is officially dated back to a couple of centuries later, in 1700's, when, in France, the production of glass bottles for bottling wine began to take off, starting a large scale production.
The myths behind the capacity of the bottle of wine are many, among which we will tell you about three of them that have found more success over the years.
THE ANCIENT GLASSMAKERS
The first theory has origins dating back to 1700. Glass bottles were created by ancient glassmakers in their stores by means of a particular process: by heating a mass of glass at very high temperatures, this material became extremely malleable and, by means of a very long straw, in order to create a hollow container, glassmakers (called "blowers") blew air into the glass by creating empty containers having different capacities. From the creation of many bottles it was discovered that the pulmonary capacity of glass blowers allowed the creation of bottles which could contain from 65 cl to 75 cl of beverages thanks to a single "blowing" and, by trying to obtain containers having the highest capacity, they opted for the capacity of 75 cl.
Another theory refers to the old taverns, where this bottle size was chosen in order to offer a faster and safer service to the guests by the innkeepers. As a matter of fact, a 75 cl. bottle could be used to fill exactly 6 125 ml. glasses and, in this way, by seeing the number of customers, the innkeepers could immediately know how many bottles the table would need, therefore speeding up the service.
THE IMPERIAL GALLON
The last myth, the most believed by historians, actually refers to a practical organization with a historical basis: at those times the main customers of French wine producers were English although they used the same system of measures.
The volume unit of English was the "imperial gallon" equivalent to 4.54609 liters.
In order to simplify conversion accounts, they transported Bordeaux wine in 225 liters casks, that is exactly 50 gallons, corresponding to 300 bottles of 750ml. (75 centiliters).
Being easier to calculate, they adopted the following standard: one barrel = 50 gallons = 300 bottles. In this way one gallon corresponded to 6 bottles. As a matter of fact, that is why even today wine boxes often have 6 or 12 bottles.