Wine bottles are produced in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. While there are a few basic shapes and a standard bottle size exists, it’s important to have overall knowledge about wine bottles if you’re planning to collect wine, or if you’re about to host a dinner party or a large get-together with friends. Without further adieu, here is everything you need to know about wine bottle sizes.
How Tall is a Wine Bottle?
The standard height of a wine bottle is 12″, which also happens to be the standard size bottle of 750mL. This standard bottle size contains 5 glasses of wine at 5 ounces each, which is known as the standard pour.
While this is the standard bottle, there are many kinds of shapes, colors, and sizes depending on the winemaker, the type of wine they contain, as well as where they come from.
Wine Bottle Names
There are 16 different sizes for wine bottles, ranging from 187.5mL in size to a whopping 30L bottle that provides 200 glasses of wine. Some of the wine bottle sizes are named after their very volume, while the bigger bottles are named after Biblical kings or historical figures.
Let’s begin our list:
1. Piccolo or Split
This is the smallest bottle size and its volume is 187.5 mL and known for holding Champagne. It’s the most ideal bottle size for a single-serve of Champagne or for having the first taste of a particular kind of wine.
2. Demi or Half
This bottle features a volume of half of the standard bottle, which is at 375 mL. Each Half bottle can give 2.5 glasses of wine, and gives you just the right amount to serve each guest for a small dinner party.
The standard bottle, as mentioned earlier, has 750 mL of wine, which provides 5 standard pours of 5 ounces each. It is the most common bottle size in the world. There’s a reason why the standard bottle size is at this volume.
When wine bottles were first made, they were produced by hand and mouth, Yes, that’s right, by mouth through the art of manual glassblowing. It has been known that 750mL is the average exhalation volume of the human lungs. Any more than that and bottles cannot be made simply by glassblowing.
While there are more modern methods of making wine bottles today, the standard size has remained to be the basis for which all wine bottles are created.
4. 1 Liter
As its name suggests, the 1 Liter bottle contains 1 liter of wine. This bottle can provide 7 standard glasses of wine.
Magnum contains 1.5L of wine, or two standard bottle sizes, which provides 10 standard pours or glasses.
6. Double Magnum or Jeroboam
The Double Magnum contains 3L of wine or 4 standard bottle sizes. It can provide 20 glasses of wine.
The Rehoboam contains 4.5L of wine, which is equivalent to 6 standard size bottles, and 30 glasses of wine. It is named after the son of Solomon in the Bible, who also happens to be the grandson of David. The bottle size is used primarily by Champagne houses for large volumes of sparkling wine.
This bottle contains 6 liters of wine or 40 glasses.
The Salmanazar was named after an Assyrian King and contains 12 standard bottles of wine, which contains 9 liters or 60 glasses of wine.
This bottle was named after Balthazar, who was one of the Three Wise Men in the Bible. It contains 12 liters of wine, which is equivalent to 16 standard bottles, or 2 Imperial bottles. It provides 80 glasses of wine.
Named after Babylon’s longest-running king, it contains 15 liters of wine, or 100 glasses, or 20 standard bottles.
The Melchior contains 18 liters of wine, which is equivalent to 120 glasses of 2 full cases of wine.
At 20 liters, this bottle was named after the son of King David. It was rumored that Solomon would only enjoy Cabernet if the bottle held 20 liters of the alcohol.
This bottle can serve 130 glasses or the equivalent of 26 standard bottles.
At 26 liters in volume, Sovereign provides 175 glasses of wine or the equivalent of 35 standard bottles. Taittinger, a wine producer known for their exquisite Champagne, named the bottle after the world’s largest cruise liner in 1988, which was the Sovereign of the Seas.
Named after Goliath in the David and Goliath story, this bottle contains 27 liters of wine, or the equivalent of 36 standard bottles, which provides 180 glasses of wine.
The largest wine bottle to date, this behemoth of a bottle contains 30 liters of wine or the equivalent of 40 bottles, and able to provide 200 glasses of wine. It was named after a king for whom enough was never enough.
Wine Bottle Shapes
There are many bottle shapes in the world but the 6 most basic are the most used and most well-known. A bottle shape will give you a big clue on the type of wine it holds. Here is a list of the 6 most basic bottle shapes:
With its origins in the Bordeaux region of France, it is the most popular bottle shape and usually holds Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Sauvignon Blanc. It is characterized by having straight sides and high shoulders.
The Burgundy bottle shape has its origins in the Burgundy region of France. It is defined by its graceful and sloping shoulders. It remains the bottle of choice for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Alsace is a tall and slender bottle with gently sloping shoulders. It is more delicate than Bordeaux and Burgundy and features a long, flute shape.
While the Alsace is delicate in shape, the Sparkling bottle is thicker and heavier. This is because sparkling wine needs to withstand high pressure and tame bubbles inside. It features gently sloping shoulders and a punt or deep dimple in the bottom, which helps to improve the bottle’s strength.
The Port bottle is similar to the Bordeaux shape but with a slight difference, there is a bulb in the neck to catch sediment [as a result of aging] when pouring the wine.
6. Ice or Dessert
This bottle shape is defined by its slim shape, characterized by being tall and thin and containing only half the standard bottle volume. It is mostly used in dessert wine, where smaller glasses are used.
While different colors of bottles may appear to be for aesthetic purposes only, there are actually reasons for the use of colored or colorless glass in holding different types of wine. Let’s talk about the different bottle colors:
Dark-colored glasses are mostly used for red wines but many white wines also come in dark green bottles. The main reason for using colored or tinted glass is for the purpose of preventing natural sunlight from breaking down antioxidants in the wine, such as tannins and vitamin C. Wines must not be exposed to direct sunlight, and although collectors store them in cellars and away from direct sunlight, there may be instances when they are exposed, such as in the process of transporting them from one place to another.
Dark-colored glasses can also prevent oxidation and increase storage life.
Clear-colored glasses, on the other hand, are used for wine that is ready to drink and does not need to be aged. This is mostly used for most white wines with a short lifespan.
Whether you’re holding an intimate party for 4, or a large celebration with 200 guests, knowing the bottle names, shapes, and wine bottle sizes will give you an upper hand when it comes to purchasing the bottle that suits your needs.