When is a 750ml bottle NOT a 750ml bottle?

Continuing the discussion from What Wine Did You Drink Today #1?:

Some of us are old enough to remember when alcoholic beverages in the U.S. were sold in “Olde English” measurements – a “standard” bottle of wine or spirits was “a fifth” (4/5th of a quart, or 25.6 ounces).

But most of the world was on the metric system, and a “standard” bottle was 3/4ths of a liter – that is, 750ml or 25.4 ounces. That said, certain regions used bottles that were 70cl (700ml, or 23.6 ounces), and still other regions traditionally used bottles of slightly different sizes.

In an attempt to standardize things, an international agreement was reached in the early 1970s that decreed a “regular” bottle of alcoholic beverages (i.e.: wine or spirits) would henceforth be 750ml.

BUT there was a problem . . . something was lost in translation . . . look carefully at the label below:

For a brief period of time, some regions thought “750ml” referred to the net contents of the bottle. That is, once the bottle was filled, it would contain 750ml of liquid. But some bottle manufacturers – notably those supplying bottles to winemakers in Bordeaux – took the 750ml mandate to mean the total capacity of the bottle. But clearly, when you stuck a cork in it, the bottle would contain LESS!

So, for a few years, you had a situation where there was “75cl” embossed in the glass bottle itself, but the wine labels read 730ml . . .

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold