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Everyone likes wine, right? At least the largest population likes drinking wine on various occasions. However, while it is believed that you can never get the second chance to make your first impression, the case may be the same in the wine industry too. This is because winemakers also struggle to package their wine uniquely, trying to create an unforgettable first impression to their buyers. This has tried to answer the question of why there are different types and sizes of wine bottles. Therefore, this guide will help many consumers solve the riddle for the packaging of wine in bottles of different sizes, shapes, and colors.

Types of Wine Bottles

Wines can be easily differentiated according to the shape and color of the bottles they come in. A quick example is the Portuguese Mateus Rose bottle which was made of green glass with a squat rounded base. The Italian Chianti was also packaged in a beautiful distinctive bottle and sat in a raffia basket. In the 1970s and 80s, these two wines were easily identified from other types and were appealing to many drinkers.

Today, however, there are many bottle shapes and colors used to store wine and prevent it from spoiling. For example, red wines are mostly stored in Antique green bottles that are thicker and more brownish to minimize oxidation. They are also stored in cool and dark places such as wine cellars to preserve their tastes. On the other hand, white wines are packaged in clear bottles that show their color and clarity because they are less affected by oxidation, and are stored in a cooler environment.

With this advancement in the wine industry, it is now clear that different types of wine bottles are not only inspired by the stiff competition but also the safety of the wine. Here are the main types of wine bottles used;

The Burgundy Bottles

The Burgundy bottles came into existence in the 19th century in the Burgundy region, France, and have gentle curves at the neck. It is said that the shape of the Burgundy bottle was due to fact that most glassblowers found them easier to make. Moreover, the bottles were used to store red and white wines made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.

The global widespread of these grapes varieties was also accompanied by the traveling of the Burgundy bottles. For instance, the packaging of white wine in a Burgundy bottle meant that there was a presence of oak-aged white grapes in its production and pre-bottling phase.

The Burgundy standard volume was limited to 750ml, which is also the average exhalation volume of the human lungs. This remains one of the common wine bottle sizes today, which was first made by hand and mouth but survived through the technical era. Today, wines made from grapes with similar characteristics to the two iconic grapes, including light fruity reds and oak whites are also packaged in Burgundy bottles.

The Bordeaux Bottles

The Bordeaux bottles were created after the Burgundy bottles and featured larger shoulders. Since Bordeaux and Burgundy were the two stiff competitors in France, each bottle had to be crafted differently for marketing strategies. However, the Bordeaux bottles have become very popular, spreading so fast around the globe.

The Bordeaux bottles came with straight sides and high shoulders and were made in different colors. They were mostly used to house Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Merlot varieties. While the bottles became popular globally following the spread of the grape varieties, the inspiration behind their shapes is not yet known. However, some winemakers believe that the high shoulders helped to trap the sediments present in the Bordeaux as the wine was transferred into another vessel.

The Alsace or Mosel bottles

The Alsace or Mosel bottles were designed with thinner and sleeker bodies than the Bordeaux and Burgundy bottles. They were used to package both dry and sweet Riesling. However, they are currently used to store Gewurztraminer, aromatic, off-dry white wine from Alsace grapes.

The shape of these bottles is due to how they are transported, compared to Bordeaux and Burgundy bottles. For instance, in the 19th century, Bordeaux and Burgundy bottles were shipped to Britain via the English Channel, so they needed to be sturdy to avoid breaking. Contrary, the Alsace bottles were only transported through the mellow Rhine River and did not face the rough voyage, hence they didn’t have to be sturdy.

The sleek design of the Alsace bottles made them be easily accommodated by the river boats compared to the fatter versions. The bottles were also produced in different shapes and sizes to house other wines like Champagne, Sparkling wine, specialty dessert wines, and iced wines.

Post Bottles

Post bottles closely resembled Bordeaux bottles, but have bulbs at the neck that trap sediment. They also have long, elegant necks and are commonly used to house sweet wines and Rieslings. Different varieties of Post bottles are also used to house Champagne, sparkling wine, iced wine, and a specialty dessert.

Bottle Sizes

The table below shows the commonly used bottles sizes, their names, and their descriptions;

Name Size Description
Standard 750ml The bottle holds one standard size of 750ml or 5 glasses of wine
Liter 1000ml The bottle holds one and a third standard bottles or 7 glasses of wine. This size has become popular in recent years, particularly with European valuable wines.
Half-liter or Jennie 500ml The bottle holds two-thirds of a standard bottle or 3 glasses of wine. The size is commonly used for Tokaj, Sauternes, and other sweet wines.
Half or Demi 375ml It holds half of a standard bottle or 2.5 glasses of wine. The size can be shared among two people for a healthy taste.
Split or Piccolo 187.5ml It holds a quarter of a standard bottle or one glass of wine. It is also a single-serve size used exclusively for sparkling wines.

Bottom Line

Although the article has touched briefly on the types and sizes of wine bottles, it should be noted that these are not the only types and sizes available. There are other numerous types such as the Sparkling, Ice of Dessert, cotes de Provence, and Bocksbeutel classified depending on their distinctive shapes. Other sizes like Salmanazar, Nebuchadnezzar, Methuselah, Solomon, and Jeroboam are also named after biblical figures to hold larger quantities of wine. Summarily, while the types and sizes of bottle wines sound confusing and new to many drinkers, at least there is a story behind each vessel.

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