Wine glasses are getting smaller. But will anything actually make us drink less?

·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Klaus Vedfelt/Getty Images

The deterrent of more trips to the fridge is no match for a powerful thirst. Perhaps it’s time to take a leaf out of Liz Hurley’s book

For years, wine glasses got larger and larger; the hospitality protocol was to fill them to the widest point of the glass, which was about a third of the way up, typically 250ml. The home drinker might fill them halfway, which was more like half a bottle. Everybody knew they weren’t very practical, but there was a double jeopardy in that, if you’d just necked half a bottle of wine in a single glass, you would forget they didn’t fit in the dishwasher and break them trying. Then you’d have to buy more, and the next generation of glasses would be even larger.

Post-lockdown, according to John Lewis, there has been a surge in demand for smaller glasses. Instinctively, I wouldn’t call the John Lewis glassware shopper the barometer of the national mood; like the Marks & Spencer underwear-shopper, these are people who have looked ahead to a time when they might need a glass, or some pants, and carefully balanced quality against value for money. Regular people wait until they have run out of these things, then buy them on an emergency footing, in a garage. And yet, John Lewis was the first retailer to report a run on ironing boards in 2020, and it was only much later that it was discovered that young people were using them as a desk.

It won’t, on its own, make you drink any less; the deterrent of more trips to the fridge is no match for a powerful thirst. But if it signals an intention to drink less, that foundation alone might change habits.

The only person on record who has successfully fooled their brain with a trick like this is Liz Hurley, who said she kept her weight down by eating with children’s cutlery. It was never clear to a fascinated public whether that was because the small cutlery made the food look bigger, or the infantile mood sapped the adult pleasure of overeating. If you’re trying any of this at home – you’ve bought your bistro mini-glasses and are still powering through gallons of wine a night – maybe swap to a sippy cup.

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