Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Empty Champagne Bottles.

 Empty as Air.Empty Chance. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Empty Champagne Bottles.
Fellow-commoners at Cambridge used to be so called, their academical dress being a gaudy purple and silver gown, resembling the silver foil round the neck of a champagne bottle. Very few of these wealthy magnates took honours.   1
The nobleman’s gown was silk.

 Empty as Air.Empty Chance. 

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