Leave The Quarter Bottles for The Airlines

The similarity between undergoing a colonoscopy and flying with Ryanair is that both involve having your knees shoved tightly up against your chest for a short period.

 The difference is that at least on Ryanair you can buy a quarter bottle of wine to ease the discomfort!

So why in a mature wine market are we still offered those awful ¼ bottles on solid ground. I have issues firstly with their quality. In spite of the familiar brand names, there seems to be a race to find the cheapest wines to widen the margin for the seller. As well as that, just about everything you should not do to wine has been done to these wines while in transit from; in most cases theNew World.

I’m informed that the volume of liquid in proportion to the surface of glass and the space between the cap and liquid is also a factor in speeding up the deterioration of the wine inside. Shoddy bottling, tales of badly sealed pipes, sellotape and putty are common.

 These bottles have about a 6 month shelf life. Bear in mind that 2 of those months have been spent rolling to and fro on a ship from South America or Australia.  Crossing the equator, withstanding extremes of temperatures and violent storms. it is always advisable to check for a bottling date, which you will very often not find!

A second more relevant point is the amount of alcohol in a quarter bottle. A respectable European glass of wine is 125ml. 

It’s no accident that our bottles are 750ml, this comes from the ancient Greeks whose vessels seemed to measure up to 125 or 750 ml. They believed that a bottle, urn or vessel of wine should contain enough for a man and his wife to have 3 glasses each. . The bottle sizes we have today only became standardized in the 70s in Europe.

 The Greeks also said that, your first drink was for health,

The second drink was for pleasure, (Here! Here!)

 The third drink was for sleep. 

The fourth drink was for inebriation (all too familiar!)

The fifth drink was for violence!

 The sixth drink was for sickness.

and finally, the seventh was for madness.


Now a ¼ bottle at 12%ABV contains 2.25 units of alcohol, yet I see a lot of ¼ bottles at 13.5%ABV therefore yielding a heavyweight 2.53 units of alcohol. Contrast that with a pint of beer at 4.3%ABV which contains 2.44 units of alcohol but has the slight advantage of a higher volume of water being consumed.

A proper glass of wine of 125ml at 13.5% gives 1.68 units. So if you have three glasses in one session this gives you a respectable 5 units. Repeat this 3 times a week and you are just beyond the recommended 14 units for women and you’ve probably had a lot of fun, slept well and kept your figure.

 3 quarter bottles consumed in one sitting, on the other hand gives 7.59 units, repeat this 3 times a week and you are up at the recommended limit for men (or very robust women with whom you shouldn’t be drinking!)  your calorie consumption is significantly higher(see cartoon below), you won’t sleep or function as well and you will, with consistent offending turn your liver into  a leathery Foie Gras!

So leave the quarter bottles for the flights and get a health insurance plan that covers a mild sedative for a colonoscopy!


About winephantom

The recession has hit hard, no more tipping the last 1/2 glass out of the champagne bottle because it's a tad too warm. My lender would be kicking down my door for his interest if he knew I was drinking at all. Now I spend my time with the €5-€10 bottles discovering some real value and encountering some swamp donkeys to be avoided. This blog is a Wine Diploma holding palate, forced to trawl the murky depths populated by the bare knuckle fighters of the "entry level" wine world, trying to reveal the real crackers. Tasting notes exposed!! Regular explanations of the rubbish that are tasting notes! Wine Waffle indeed! Stories and trivia about wine.
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One Response to Leave The Quarter Bottles for The Airlines

  1. munchow says:

    I have never understood the point with quarter bottles. But I guess it sort of makes sense for the airline companies.

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