This is a difficult question to answer as there are so many different types of wine glasses for different varieties of wine. Maybe you know how much wine your glasses at home can contain but if you are in a pub or restaurant, it might be more difficult to tell. There are plenty of reasons why you would want to know. Are you getting value for money? Perhaps you are driving and want to limit your alcohol intake. Some restaurants and bars will write the milliliters in a glass of wine on the menu which does help but this isn’t always the case.
In this article, we are going to take a look at the anatomy of the wine glass and how to work out how much wine is in a glass.
The Anatomy of a Wine Glass
It’s important to understand the anatomy of a wine glass before we look at how much it holds. Despite wine glasses varying in shape, they all have a general structure. At the glass’s bottom is the foot or, in other words, the flat circle. It keeps your glass upright and steady.
Next is the stem which you use to hold the glass. It is usually thin and runs from the foot to the bowl. The stem is useful in another way. It prevents you from warming the bowl, and therefore, your wine, with your hands. You can buy stemless wine glasses but you do run the risk of warming the wine. However, they are easier to store and clean, and it is less likely that you will knock the glass over and break it.
The final part of the glass is the bowl that holds the wine. The bowls will be of different shapes and sizes so that they can hold different types of wine. For example, a Cabernet glass will be taller than a Burgundy glass which is wider. Champagne and sparkling wines are held in long thin flutes. These flutes maximize the carbonation of the wine and help you to concentrate the wine on your whole tongue. With a wider glass, the taste will start on the top of your tongue.
The rim of the bowl is thin, allowing you to taste the subtle aspects of the wine. The thinner the rim the better.
Wine experts believe that each variety of wine requires a special glass. In this way, you will be able to taste all the flavors and absorb the aromas. Of course, this might not be practical for everyone due to cost and space but it is a good idea to buy glasses for your favorite wines, perhaps one for red wine, one for white, and one for sparkling. In this way, you will be able to enjoy your drinking experience more and learn about the wines you are drinking.
There are some attributes that all glasses should have no matter what wine they hold. Firstly, the bottom of the bowl should be wider than the rim. This allows you to swirl the wine around the bowl and so, take in the aromas. It also allows you to see the body of the wine before you taste it. A more practical aspect of having the bottom of the glass wider than the rim is that it is less likely that you will spill the wine when you are swirling it.
Another attribute a wine glass should have is that it should be clear no matter how much you like that blue glass. Clear glass will show off the wine and you will be able to see it when you are swirling the wine. You will find that restaurants, bars, and pubs all serve wine in clear glasses.
How Many Millilitres in a Wine Glass?
In the UK in 2023, the standard measure of wine is both 125ml and 175ml. If you go to a pub or bar, you are often asked if you want a large or small glass of wine, a large equalling 175ml, and a small, 125ml. Restaurants may also do this but they can serve a larger glass of up to 190ml. Because you are having a meal and they want to encourage you to come back, they may be laxer with measures. Of course, this might not be a good idea if you’re driving so you may want to stick to soft drinks but if you’re not, take advantage of the extra wine.
These measurements have been set by the UK government, weights and measures department.
A 125ml glass of wine is enough to give you the opportunity to take in the aromas and flavors of the wine and to swirl the wine around the glass. However, if you know the wine and plan to have more than one glass, it is more economical to buy a 175ml glass.
When wine glasses are made, the designers consider how high the glasses will be filled so that they don’t produce glasses where the wine may be overflowing. With the regulations for bars and pubs, glasses are often made so that they can take 175 ml with room at the top. However, you will find glasses in the stores to fit different wines. Sometimes, there are smaller wine glasses, and this is because the shape affects the flavor of the particular wine.
If you are drinking at home, it is up to you what shape and size of wine glass you buy. If you are a wine expert, you may buy glasses to suit different varieties of wine but if not, you still need to consider a few things before buying your glasses. This will depend on how much wine is in the bottle, how many of you will be drinking, and the occasion.
If you have a smaller bottle of wine, for example, some bottles come in 500ml sizes, you may pour less so that you can savor the wine. You may be tempted to pour more if you have a larger bottle.
If you are at a party, chances are that you will have your glass filled to the top but this is probably an occasion where you won’t be so bothered about the aroma and flavor of the wine. If you are on your own at home, you may pour a small glass to savor unless you’ve had a hard day at work when you might want a full glass.
Although wine glasses come in different shapes and sizes and have their own benefits, they all have common ground. They have a base, a stem, and a bowl. Whether you have a small but wide Burgundy glass or a champagne flute, the glasses are made with the view of enhancing your drinking experience.
Wine shouldn’t be drunk as water. Take the time to savor it. Pour a glass with plenty of room at the top so you can swirl the wine, take in the aromas, and then taste it, savoring each sip. Even if you’re not a wine expert, be assured that your wine experience will be enhanced with the right glass.
Fun Facts About Wine Glass Size
The most interesting fact about wine glass size is that the capacity has increased by a massive 700% in the last three hundred years! In 1700, the average wine glass held just 66ml. You would certainly be going back and forth to the bar to refill your glass on a night out.
So, why has wine capacity increased so much in the past three hundred years? It seems crazy that people were given so little wine but one reason is that there was a glass excise tax. This was introduced in the 1690s. It was repealed but was then reintroduced in 1746 under the reign of King George 11. It was finally repealed in 1845. After this time, glasses became bigger but it wasn’t until the 20th century that there were glasses the size we have now.
Another reason that the size of the wine glass became bigger is that people wanted to drink more wine. In addition, wine became cheaper and easier to get hold of.
The increase in the amount of wine people drink coincides with the amount of food eaten. People are going out more for meals, which can make people want to drink more. The biggest increase in wine glass style has been seen in the last few decades.
The wine glass as we know it emerged in Venice in 1400. There is evidence that people drank wine going back to the ancient Egyptians but they didn’t use the same vessels.
The stem may have originated from religious vessels. Stems were already used on metal vessels used for Holy Communion.
Early wine glasses got glass disease. The Venetian glassmakers purified their raw materials but by doing this they removed lime which is a stabilizer. This meant that the glasses could deteriorate quickly in normal air. It was in the 1600s that the English managed to create stronger glasses.
In the early 18th century, the glass was kept away from the drinker at home. The glass would have been brought by the valet and then taken away when finished. Towards the end of the century, the wine bottle was put on the table with the glasses.
Champagne glasses used to be wide and flat. It eventually became clear that the wide brim made the bubbles lose their fizz very quickly. The long flute was then created which stops the bubbles from dissipating. However, this can mean that the CO2 bubbles will build up and the wine can taste sour. At wine tastings, you will often see wine buffs reaching for an ordinary wine glass when tasting a sparkling wine.
The shape of the wine glass affects how we taste the wine. With a wide bowl, you increase the surface area of the wine which means that it is in contact with oxygen. This can make the wine seem more acidic. However, if you have a smaller rim and get your nose in there, the aromas go into your nose and are still there when you start drinking. This adds to the tasting experience.
When you next open a bottle of wine, think about the wine glass you plan to use. The type of glass can affect the taste and aroma of the wine and can even ruin your drinking experience. On the other hand, if you choose the right glass, your experience will be enhanced. Wine isn’t just a drink. It is a luxurious liquid that should be savored, and if you pour your wine into the right glass, you will notice the difference. Try it and see!