Really not sure about this

Wine glasses in the UK are now on average seven times larger than they were three hundred years ago, new research has found.

An investigation by Cambridge University identified a steady increase in the size of glassware from the early Georgian era and a rapid enlargement in the twentieth century.

Combined with an increase in the average strength of wine, the larger glasses mean today’s alcohol consumption from wine is likely to be far higher than in the past, researchers said.

For I recall those reports of how much people who could afford to drink actually drank back then. Couple of bottles a man at dinner sort of thing.

Now, obviously, those reports could be wrong. Also, wine drinking was very much a minority pursuit then. Near all except the richest would be drinking beer.

For breakfast.

For the new research, published in the British Medical Journal, the team obtained the measurements of 411 glasses from 1700 to modern day.

Seriously, this is what is being used as scientific evidence these days?

37 comments on “Really not sure about this

  1. A massive society wide Purge of all CM elements is the only way this kind of deceitful bullshit will ever be stopped.

    The authors of such shite must be sacked sans compo and with pensions confiscated.

    The vast majority of people inn the past drank beer etc of various strengths because the water wasn’t safe enough to drink without germ killing alcohol in it.

  2. Bottles were smaller in the 18th C. William Pitt (the younger) drank a bottle of port a day, but the amount drunk was less than we would think from the equivalent today.

  3. If I’m to believe half of what I read, 18-19C royal navy officers used to drink themselves insensible. It helps if you’ve a servant on your shoulder that keeps topping up your tiny glass. The increase in wine consumption in modern times probably has more to do with rising prosperity among the general population rather than glass size. If you were in the city during the 70s and 80s, hardcore drinking at lunchtime was pretty standard. These days we’re far more circumspect and gratuitous boozing is on the wane.

  4. FFS. We know from literature that everyone who could afford to drink beer, wine etc. was drinking the stuff all day. Sure it was mostly weaker than today. Sure the glasses were smaller (for engineering reasons, as Mr. Evil points out above), but they were drinking it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and at points in between.

    Whereas today, nobody except the future liver transplant candidates is doing that.

    Combined with an increase in the average strength of wine, the larger glasses mean today’s alcohol consumption from wine is likely to be far higher than in the past, researchers said.

    Wow. Very, very, wow. Nice non sequitur based on a tacit underlying assumption that people’s drinking habits in terms of number of glasses per day is entirely unchanged, which we know not to be true as discussed in my first §.

    And this is supposed to be science? Or is it “It’s not science, but it’s a scientific fact*” territory? (*classical reference)

  5. “today’s alcohol consumption from wine” – that’s an odd sentence construction. You wouldn’t write something like “today’s protein consumption from pork”. And the analysis is making no claims about the ABV of the wine. So it should be simply “today’s wine consumption”.

  6. “Seriously, this is what is being used as scientific evidence these days?”.

    That’s easy, Tim: it’s that which fits the CM narrative.

  7. They probably included those novelty glasses that you can pour an entire bottle in.

    Which of course reminds me it doesn’t matter how many glasses are drunk but how much you put in each. In Ye Olde Days maybe they filled their smaller glasses right up unlike we do today (usually).

    Here in China the locals drink beer from shot glasses and we seem to put more away quicker that way than supping on a pint.

  8. Quite so, a regular ye olde measure was “a bumper”, a glass filled to the brim. Wine, of course, served to the top like beer.

  9. In Ye Olde Days maybe they filled their smaller glasses right up unlike we do today (usually).

    Getting a positive meniscus on your port glass was a tradition (for junior officers) at Naval dinners back last century.

    A lot of the dinner traditions were pretty “ye olde days”.

  10. I can quite believe wine glasses are 7 times the size they were. Since everyone, these days seems to insist on buying them a foot high with a capacity of half a pint. And abacab’s quite correct. They don’t survive the dishwasher. Top of the machine severs the stems when you try & close the top tray.

  11. For heaven’s sake, anyone who watches Antiques Roadshow knows that Georgian stemware was smaller than today’s stuff. That hardly requires ‘research’.

  12. Seriously, this is what is being used as scientific evidence these days?

    Whatever pushes the Narrative, every hour, every day.

  13. The found that wine glass capacity increased from 66ml in the 1700s to 417ml in the 2000s, with the mean wine glass size in 2016-17 being 449 ml.

    I just do not believe this. The average wine glass size is over 60% of a bottle of wine? Bollocks.

  14. Glasses might have been smaller (my Georgian wine glasses are about the size of sherry glasses), but those who drank wine drank a lot more glasses of it.

    One of the Georgian table traditions was “taking a glass of wine” with someone – basically 1-on-1 private toasts – in which each participant would drain their glass in one (“no heel-taps” – nothing left in the glass after).

    This is in the literature of the period, but I suppose the sort of prodnose who would write this sort of crap is unlikely to read Jorrocks.

    So I think they were smaller glasses; it’s not just that only the smaller ones have survived – there wouldn’t have been so much downing a whole glass at once (outside student / subaltern society) if the glasses were the half-pint they are today. But drinking lots more glasses at a sitting.

    Overall consumption probably a pint or two (pint bottles were normal then) over dinner for a moderately serious wine drinker. So roughly a modern bottle per person. Two or three pints (in modern bottles, one and a half to two bottles) for the rowdy. Much the same as today, except that they’d have followed that with plenty of port.

  15. Just as a note where there’s some actual evidence and record…

    The Navy’s rum ration, back in Ye Olde Days pre-1823, was a third of a pint of spirits (rum preferred thanks to West Indes sugar growers’ influence) a day, or in metric 190ml. (It might end up nearer a litre since Admiral Vernon ordered it diluted 4:1 with water so it “wouldn’t keep” and couldn’t be hoarded, but you got the full measure plus whatever water and lime was added)

    This stuff would be, and tested to be, “proof strength” – gunpowder soaked in it would still burn – meaning it would be at least 57% alcohol.

    Jack Tar was knocking back 108ml of actual alcohol a day from his rum ration alone, for a weekly consumption of 77 units in modern terms – no wonder he’s a jolly sailor…

    And this isn’t an exceptional outlier for “the duty alcoholic”, this is the daily, normal issue of booze to the sailors on a working warship.

    We’re being chastised and hounded by the Puritan fun-police hoofwankers for drinking far more than our ancestors, if we drink a quarter of what they were issued?

  16. One of the Georgian table traditions was “taking a glass of wine” with someone – basically 1-on-1 private toasts – in which each participant would drain their glass in one (“no heel-taps” – nothing left in the glass after).

    This is current tradition in China where anyone who has ever had a business dinner here will remember with dread. “Ganbei!”

  17. Ah, bmj Christmas issue no doubt.

    The fact the papers can t distinguish it from serious research is the story here.

  18. The massive dishonesty in this piece is the implication that the entire volume of the glass is filled with wine and consumed. (Red) Wine glasses are shaped the way they are now for a reason, and it isn’t so they can pour more than half a bottle into it.

    Still, the one silver lining is that, for once, the puritan prodnoses aren’t directing their fire at working class tastes. The more they target the middle-classes the quicker this nonsense can be knocked on the head.

  19. This is quite a kick in the nuts for public science journalism. At least three of those Christmas articles have now been reported in all seriousness in the broadsheets. The other two were motorcycle accidents and the full moon, and Peppa Pig causing GP visits. Either they are getting in on the act or they are totally clueless. I know which one my money is on.

    For those who don’t know the BMJ has a tradition going back decades of publishing well-researched frivolity in the Christmas issue. It’s top of my bucket list to author an article for that issue, and there have been a few false starts already. Anyone with ideas and data but in need of a writer is welcome to contact me through Tim.

    http://www.bmj.com/about-bmj/resources-authors/article-types/christmas-issue

  20. “(rum preferred thanks to West Indes sugar growers’ influence)”

    I’d read that one reason for rum was the whole war-with-France thing precluding the securing of sufficient supplies of brandy, which was issued previously.

    No idea of the truth in it, but it’s a plausible story if there’s evidence for the brandy.

  21. My recollection is hazy but isn’t there a documented White House dinner in the George Washington days where the drinks bill was something like three bottles of wine and a bottle of spirits per person? And we’re supposed to be the piss heads.

  22. The fashion today is for larger glasses, for swirling, sniffing etc. Not necessarily larger portions.

    Most of my knowledge of Georgian drinking comes from Patrick O’Brian. His research suggests we guzzled it then too.

    The BMJ publishes all sorts of shite, generally with the aim of increasing the authority and wealth of doctors. Who can fuck off.

  23. If this is in the Xmas BMJ, it’s a comedy paper. The Xmas edition always is.

    Look up MRI scan of sex if you don’t believe me.

  24. I remember back in the fifties my parents routinely had one bottle of wine between eight people at a dinner party – but we can discount this, because they were all Methodists: it’s astonishing that they allowed themselves to drink anything at all.

    Leaving that aside, this article is of course yet another planted piece by the New Puritans – haven’t you all noticed that the papers are just full of booze-is-bad items at present? I doubt that it’s a co-incidence.

  25. This is quite a kick in the nuts for public science journalism.

    The nuts are already numb and the size of basketballs; I doubt they’ll even notice.

  26. I was once told by an ancient Cambridge college Fellow that he looked on drinking wine at High Table, on any occasion but a feast, as rather decadent. When he was young, Fellows drank beer, each from his own tankard.

  27. Rob, are you telling me you’re not supposed to fill those big wine glasses right to the top?

    So when I tell the quack I only have a couple of glasses of red of an evening I might not be giving him the full story?

    Oops.

  28. the water wasn’t safe enough to drink without germ killing alcohol in it.

    The brewing process includes a sustained boil, which kills off most of the nasties. And the hops in beer acts as a preservative too.

  29. Investigation ?!?!

    ‘An investigation by Cambridge University identified a steady increase in the size of glassware’

    Investigation:

    2. a searching inquiry for ascertaining facts; detailed or careful examination.

    ‘the larger glasses mean today’s alcohol consumption from wine is likely to be far higher than in the past, researchers said.’

    Research, not investigation. Facts aren’t needed for research.

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