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Why is the Schoppen in Rheinhessen only 0.4 liters?

Again and again we are asked the puzzled question, why is the Schoppen in Rheinhessen only 0.4 liters in size, but in most other regions 0.5 liters. Reason enough for us to get to the bottom of it.

"Schoppen" comes first of "scoop" is and is originally a vessel for liquids, later a hollow or volume measure for drinks. In German-speaking countries, there was a great deal of confusion in the 19th century concerning the contents of the vessel: in Baden, 0.375 l, in Württemberg 0.459 l, and in the Palatinate, 0.35-0.4 l. When the non-metric measures in southern Germany in 1872 were replaced by the metric, was until 1884 the Schoppen as official name for 0.5 l. In the Palatinate and in the Alemannic language area "Schoppen" today usually means half a liter. In Rheinhessen - again quite different - but stubbornly holds the size of 0.4 liters.

To understand that, you have to go deeper into the story. With the French Revolution, the locally different dimensions were rearranged. In 1793, the liter was introduced as a "republican unit of measurement" and integrated into the decimal system: 1 l = 1 dm3 = 10 dl = 100 cl = 1000 ml. The left bank territories, which were French until 1814, including the Palatinate and Rhine Hesse, took over this system, but apparently only gradually and not in all areas. The measure, which included four Schoppen - after the "French" rearrangement included a measure two liters and a pint of 0.5 liters - originally differed from place to place. In Rheinhessen, the Mainz and the Worms masses dominated over the centuries. Both were also adopted in adjacent areas. In both dimensions, there were such large and small Schoppenmaße. Thus, the Mainz Jungmaßschoppen included 0.4236 liters, the Altmaßschoppen 0.4714 liters, in Worms it was 0.4166 liters and 0.5 liters (according to Frank Wagner "The Mainzer Weinmaß", Yearbook for West German history 36, 2010, p. 95-130). It was probably given away after the little Schoppen. It therefore makes sense to attribute the 0.4-liter Schoppen in Rheinhessen on the old "little Schoppen" of the region, the 0.5-liter Schoppen in the Palatinate on the "French" metric.

For a long time there was then in the inns the wine only in Schoppengläsern, until then increasingly also the "half" was offered. Half a pint includes 0.2 liters in Rheinhessen, or 0.25 liters in the Palatinate. The already quoted above Frank Wagner suspects a pragmatic rather than a historical explanation and says that the half-poppers to 0.2 or 0.25 liters had emerged only in the 1970s, in order to achieve more profit in the catering trade with the smaller measure. And then there came sometime the "Piffche", which represents half the "half" with 0.1 liter content. Today, in the spirit of " Wine in Moderation ", it is certainly a welcome development to enjoy one or two glasses of wine without any worries ...

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