Wine glasses are growing, study finds

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A new study by the University of Cambridge has found that there has been a steady growth in the size of the average wineglass across the last 300 years.

Researchers took evidence and data from the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology at Oxford University, the UK’s Royal Household, a glassware manufacturer, John Lewis department store, and online retailer eBay. Over 400 wineglasses that were available to buy or were sold between 1700 and 2017 had their capacity measured.

The study found that the capacity of the average wine glass had increased considerably over the years, from around 2.2 ounces or 66 millilitres in the 1700s, to around 7.8 or 230 millilitres in the 1990s, but the most dramatic growth has been over the last 25 years. The average wineglass has almost doubled its capacity and can now hold 15.2 ounces or 450 millilitres.

There have been several explanations as to why wineglasses have grown in size, though the answer is possibly a combination of factors. Fashion and trends have a big influence on design, glass is a more affordable material than it was in the 1700s, and manufacturing techniques and technology have also advanced over the years.

It is worth remembering though, that a large engraved wineglass does not need filling to the brim, as wine connoisseurs agree that a larger bowl allows for the release of flavour much better than a smaller bowl. For optimum enjoyment, an average wine serving should be kept at around five ounces, which is 142 millilitres or roughly a quarter of a pint.

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