Wine glass size in England from 1700 to 2017: a measure of our time
Wine glass capacity in England has increased sevenfold in 300 years. Can downsizing reduce wine consumption?
Wine glass capacity in England has increased from a mean of 66 mL in 1700 to 449 mL in 2017.
Capacity has increased most steeply over the past two decades, along with wine consumption.
While this association may not be causal, some evidence of a link between wine glass size and alcohol use suggests that reducing the size of wine glasses in licensed premises and in our homes could reduce consumption.
Quote from the research
We cannot infer that the increase in glass size and the rise in wine consumption in England are causally linked. Nor can we infer that reducing glass size would cut [alcohol use]. Our observation of increasing size does, however, draw attention to wine glass size as an area to investigate further in the context of population health. The amount of alcohol people [consume], particularly wine, has increased sharply since the 1960s.4 Along with lower prices, increased availability, and marketing, larger wine glasses may have contributed to this rise through several potentially co-occurring mechanisms.”
A larger cup or glass increases the amount of beverage poured21 and, in turn, the amount [consumed]. This may reflect “the unit bias heuristic,” in which people consume in units (for example: one cup of coffee, one slice of cake, or one glass of wine) provided the portion is above a certain minimum amount.22 Given that people may perceive the same portion as less than “one unit” when presented in a relatively empty large glass than when presented in a fuller but smaller glass, consumption may be further influenced by reducing glass size.”