Saturday, November 22, 2008

The expanding wine glass

click photo to enlarge
Maybe we didn't look hard enough. Or was it that they don't exist any more? Perhaps there's no demand for them. Whatever the reason, when we bought wine glasses recently we couldn't find any that I think of as "normal" sized, and ended up with some that I see as "large". Being curious I did a bit of research and discovered that the International Standards Organisation (ISO) has specifications for wine tasting glasses. These have capacities of 210, 300 and 410 ml. Looking again at the packaging I noticed that our glasses were described as 250ml. So, I measured them and found that they held 210ml with a space of 1cm at the top. Are these now the smallest size? And if so, what happened to the smaller glasses?

A quick surf around the Web found lots of 250ml glasses, some described as 200ml, many at 6.5 fl.oz., and some at 150ml. There were restaurants listing wines that they served in 175ml and 250ml measures. The impression I got was that the size of wine glasses has been re-standardized at the 250ml mark, and that the smaller glasses I've been familiar with for most of my life are on the way out. Which begs the question, is this due to consumer demand for bigger measures, or bars and restaurants wanting a higher return on each glass sold? Or a mixture of both? Combine this trend with the increased alcohol content of wines (11 or 12 percent has become 13 or 14 percent), and here's one more factor in the rise in alcohol consumption and its attendant problems.

But surely, it can be argued, you don't have to fill the bigger glasses. Well no, but a glass should be made to be filled so that you can know how much you're drinking. There's a small element of difficulty in pouring yourself the same known measure when you have a glass of wine if you're not filling the glass to the same point each time. And when glasses come in different sizes in different eateries the problem is compounded.

Well, after all that, today's photograph shows those "large" glasses after they've been washed. Some are the right way up, some upside down, and a few suds and water linger on their surfaces. I increased the tonal contrast a little to make the most of the reflections each glass has from each other and its surroundings.

photograph & text T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 35mm macro (70mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f18
Shutter Speed: 1/80
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1 EV
Image Stabilisation: Off
Flash: FL36 TTL (bounced)