Bottle sizes

Distilleries Canada/ August 10, 2020/ Tips and tricks, Trucs et astuces, Histoire

Have you ever wondered why a standard bottle of wine or alcohol is 750 milliliters and not 1 liter ?

It all dates back to the French Revolution. Commercial habits were revolutionized when the standardization of measurements was developed by adopting the metric system. However, if the liter became the unit of reference, wine bottles bypassed the reform.

At that time, there were already very large vineyards in the Bordeaux region and a large part of the production was sold to England. Since the English used the imperial gallon as a liquid unit of measurement to facilitate trade, producers opposed the French revolutionary law and refused to sell one-liter bottles.

Since a gallon is equivalent to 4.5 liters, the standard bottle was developed to round off nicely so that six bottles of 0.75 liters equals a gallon. Conveniently,  this means when you purchase a case of six bottles, you buy a gallon!

There are various bottle sizes available and the vast majority consist of multiples or fractions of this reference bottle. Each size carries a specific name.

In addition, it is similar with barrels. A Bordeaux barrel is equivalent to 50 gallons or 300 bottles or 225 liters!

Be careful, although the 0.75 liter format is an exception tolerated and accepted in France, the revolutionary law is still in effect. Therefore, nothing prohibits the bottling and marketing of alcoholic liquids in one-liter containers. This is a format that has often been used for small so-called “thirsty” wines which are generally not compatible with quality.

Voilà ! This is how the worldwide standard format was born !

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