Public Health England slams size of restaurant wine glasses

Restaurant wine glasses should be no bigger than 250ml, according to Public Health England, in order to prevent instances of binge drinking in the UK.

Public Health England would like restaurant wine glasses to be no bigger than 250ml in size

As reported by The Telegraph, researchers at the University of Cambridge found people drink less when they are given wine in a smaller glass.

When glass size was increased from 300ml to 370ml, wine sales at restaurants increased by 7.3%, while reducing the glass size to 250ml led to a drop of 9.6%. The researchers concluded that drinkers “may not be able to tell the difference” between a 250ml, a 300ml glass and a 370ml glass.

“This study suggests a new alcohol policy approach by looking at how the size of wine glasses may influence how much we drink.

“It shows how our drinking environment can impact on the way we drink and help us to understand how to develop a drinking environment that helps us to drink less,” said Clive Henn, senior alcohol advisor for Public Health England.

Health experts blame large glassware in restaurants for a rise in binge drinking. Public Health England believes the findings could be used to change the laws around licencing legislation, which could force restaurants in the UK to use smaller glasses.

“Given our findings, regulating wine glass size is one option that might be considered for inclusion in local licensing regulations for reducing drinking outside the home,” author of the study, professor Dame Theresa Marteau, said.

Restaurateurs and sommeliers have hit out at the study, highlighting that a larger glass is often needed to fully appreciate the aromas of fine wines.

David Moore, owner of Michelin-starred restaurants Pied a Terre and L’Autre Pied, called the findings of the study “ridiculous nanny state bullshit”.

“It’s down to how much wine is in the glass rather than the size of the glass. In a restaurant where you have a sommelier, you’re never going to have more than 75ml of wine in a glass at any time.

“Some wines need a bigger glass – if you have a structured wine that is young, it needs more surface area to breathe and develop,” he told The Telegraph.

Dan Keeling, co-founder of Noble Rot in Bloomsbury, added: “I’m not against moderate servings, but aromas account for most of what’s tasted. Great wines need space in a glass to be exposed to oxygen to make them more expressive.”

Policy experts have slammed the proposal for smaller wine glasses in restaurants as “daft” and of little consequence to improving public health.

“The idea that wine consumed in restaurants has any significant impact on the number of alcohol-related deaths is just daft,” Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs, told The Telegraph.

“The people who are most likely to suffer from alcohol-related diseases do not have the money to drink wine in restaurants.

“It’s a sign of how out of touch public health campaigners have become that they think the size of wine glasses is a pressing issue that requires government action,” he added. The study was based on the findings from five UK restaurants.

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