Wine glasses have been getting bigger over the last two decades


The average glass in the Georgian era held a maximum of only 66ml.

They also suspect a larger glass encourages the brain to drink quicker by fooling it into thinking there is more to get through, even when smaller measures are poured. Until the second half of the 20th century, beer and spirits were the most common types of alcohol consumed, with wine usually only consumed by the upper classes. This is, the researchers said, perhaps a reason why people overdrink.

However, the authors say, their research does suggest that glass size is an area that requires more research in the context of excessive drinking and population health - and, if there does prove to be a link, regulating glass sizes could prove beneficial.

You're not imagining things - glasses of wine are getting bigger.

"Given we often regulate our consumption in units such as one slice of cake or one cup of coffee, if we perceive we have not had a full glass of wine, this might lead to us having another glass".

"Wine will no doubt be a feature of some merry Christmas nights, but when it comes to how much we drink, wine glass size probably does matter", said Theresa Marteau, Professor at Cambridge.

The new analysis doesn't prove that the increase in glass size is a direct cause of the rise in wine consumption in the United Kingdom, or that reducing the size of wine glasses would result in less drinking, the researchers noted. Just one large glass, by contrast, represents one-fifth of "the weekly recommended intake for low-risk drinking", the report said.

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That's according to a study by researchers at the University of Cambridge, who found that wine glasses are seven times larger now than they were 300 years ago.

Through a combination of online searches and discussions with experts in antique glassware, including museum curators, the researchers obtained measurements of 411 glasses from 1700 to modern day.

"For the most part, this was gradual, but since the 1990s, the size has increased rapidly".

"Alcohol consumption in general then started to increase, and wine consumption rose nearly fourfold during 1960-80, nearly doubling again during 1980-2004".

Increases in the size of wine glasses over time likely reflect changes in a number of factors including price, technology, societal wealth and wine appreciation.

"Reducing wine glass sizes in licensed premises may also shift the social norm of what a wine glass should look like, potentially influencing the size of glasses people use at home - where most alcohol, including wine, is drunk". So that increase in glass size could be important.

'We predict - with moderate confidence - that, while there will be some resistance to these suggestions, ' say researchers, 'their palatability will be greater in the month of January than that of December'.