Percy Chattey Books

Author of Thrillers: Genre: Murder, Mystery & Crime

The Bottle

photo of wine bottles in a row

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We are talking wine here, with a few exceptions the bottles are 75 cl, in size, which appears to be an odd amount and as someone said, ‘My wife and I believe it is a conspiracy by the wine industry to sell more wine because they are not large enough for two people which means having to consider to buy another.’

Evidently, it was Napoleon, well at least it was about his time when the French were keen to sell the British their wine, and the people who were in receipt of it, loved it, as they at that time had no equivalent. It became a popular beverage in the United Kingdom so much so they became the largest drinkers of their near neighbour’s blend of the fermented grape than anywhere else in the world.

The French leader had insisted that France used the litre as a standard measurement which is poles apart from the English benchmark of a gallon. And as one gallon equalled 4.546 litres there was a difficulty in selling the wine as the difference in the two standard sizes made it complicated.

Then some wag discovered that the British standard size barrel of 250 gallons contained 225 litres of wine, with a little further calculation that meant if the wine was in 75 cl bottles then a barrel would hold 300 of them.

So as we find today six bottles of that size goes neatly into a cardboard box which is strong enough and light enough to carry, which also means there is enough wine at the table. But it strikes me if the French were so keen to sell their wine why didn’t they bottle it into quart bottles which is two pints, a recognised British measurement from decades previously?

 Percy Chattey Books


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