There are more than just a few kinds of wine bottles out there. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of shape and the same amount of liquid. Other times, it’s a broad spectrum of volume sizes, from the petite and personal split to the ridiculously large Nebuchadnezzar, which holds roughly twenty regular bottles.
Below, check out the names for the various bottle sizes as well as an explanation for why some look the way they do.
The split is the smallest of the bunch, checking in at 187.5 ml or about a single serving of wine. The small bottles are not only adorable, but great for experiencing a glass of something really nice without completely cashing out. Also called a Piccolo, this format tends to be used for sparkling wines.
The demi is a traditional bottle of wine cut in half. There’s a pretty good selection of wines within the format, ranging from whites to rosés to reds. Most wine-centric restaurants have a healthy list of demis to pull from. And it’s a great way to avoid the hangover that can shadow larger vessels.
A popular option for sweet wines like Tokaji from Hungary, the Jennie holds around three glasses of wine. Simply put, it’s a fun size to carry around and is still small enough that you don’t usually have to worry about properly preserving any leftovers.
The standard-bearer in wine, checking in at 750 ml or a little more than 25 ounces. It is far and away the most popular format and has its own diverse range of shapes for specific wines within the category.
More and more value wines, especially from abroad, are taking on this format, which contains about seven glasses of wine. The liter mark is about where the formats switch from personal enjoyment and dinner wines with your significant other to parties and thirstier social gatherings.
The magnum is fun to pour and still of a neck and cork size that you don’t need special equipment to open it. It holds 1.5 liters and has been a preferred format for laying wines down for many years. With a greater wine-to-air ratio, the magnum is believed to offer a better climate within the bottle for a wine to age.
Also referred to as a Jeroboam (the first of the Biblical King-named wine bottle sizes), the double magnum holds three liters. The cork is bigger and while you can remove it with a good double-hinged wine key, a butler’s friend will make things all the easier. These bottles are a blast at dinner parties, but do use both arms when pouring.
A 4.5 Liter bottle primarily used for bubbly.
This one holds 6 liters and likely originated in Bordeaux, also going by the name Imperial.
At 9 liters in volume, this bottle is home to an entire case of wine.
More than sounding like a Pokémon name, Balthazar also refers to a massive bottle that holds well over three gallons.
A Kanye opera as well as a 15-liter wine bottle.
A full two cases of wine fit in this towering piece of glass.
The Solomon contains a whopping 18 liters of fermented juice.
Here comes a hangover: The Sovereign holds 26 liters.
Besting the Sovereign by a single liter, Goliath is the second largest format out there.
There are many biblical-named formats that fall between the double magnum and the Midas, but you’re unlikely to run across any (outside of a decorative one or two at a restaurant). The Midas is the largest on the planet, with room for 40 bottles (more than three cases). It’s absurd that it exists.
Within the 750 ml genre, there are a number of varying styles. Here are the most popular:
Probably the most common out there, with high-set shoulders and a shape that appeals to not just Bordeaux, but domestic reds and blends abound. When you close your eyes and imagine a bottle of wine, a silhouette of this probably appears.
Arguably the sexiest bottle shape, the Burgundy bottle touts pretty contours and is beloved by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay producers. But it’s a popular shape for many more varieties, especially whites and lighter reds.
The bottle with the most frills, the traditional chianti vessel wears a raffia basket at the bottom. It looks cool and has become synonymous with the Italian red, but the glass of a typical chianti bottle has a rounded base, giving it very little balance on your dinner table.
A tall glass of water, the Alsace bottle is relatively slim and towering. Also called a Mosel bottle, it’s popular for the complex European white varieties it’s named after, along with Riesling and a few others. It’s quite elegant to pour.
Burly to deal with the pressure of carbonation, the Champagne bottle is large and in charge. In addition to added thickness, it also tends to wear a larger capsule, a different shaped cork, and a cage to keep everything in check.
The port bottle is mostly a regular Bordeaux bottle accept that it usually has a little nob in the neck to collect sediment.
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