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The Wine Bottle for the great Wine

As with many parts of wine aesthetics, the naming format for wine bottles reconnects every wine enthusiast to the wine culture.

Wine has been around us for many centuries and forms an essential part of our day to day living. So, unsurprisingly the wine bottle nomenclature is connected to an old documentation.

And to be fair enough, nobody can trace the origin of the wine bottle naming convention.

As you know, people like to be enlightened about the mostly unknown facts, and so we could conduct a bit of digging and see where the answer can found.

And you bet that there’s definitely something out there.

Wine grape varieties

Wine bottle shapes

Whatever you can come up with from your digging, the shape of the bottle won’t make any difference in impacting the flavour of the wine.

But the bottles used is often a representation of good history which reflects back to the origin of that particular wine.

Even though there are many different shapes of wine bottles, most of the winemakers often choose one out these three common; Bordeaux, Alsace and Burgundy.

Let’s have a review on each of these bottles.

The burgundy

Burgundy was the first out of the three to be ubiquitous. It was invented sometime back in the 19th centuries and the curved sides of the bottle exist due to the fact that it was the easiest design which glassmakers of that time could create.

Right after the creation of the bottle, producers of Burgundy started using these vessels in bottling their white and red burgundies.

Producers of burgundy are believed to be the first to make wine out of Pinot Noir and chardonnay.

In a period of few decades from its discovery, the bottle became very popular as it was used bottle good Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wine.

As these two most popular wine grapes began to spread across the globe, so did the bottle used to house them.

Nowadays, we can witness most of the red wines with a Pinot Noir flavour, such as Gamay, Etna Rosso and Nebbiolo being bottled in Burgundy styled bottles.

If you happen to come across a white wine in a Burgundy bottle, in the wine tradition it was a good sign that wine probably encountered some oak during its aging process.

However, unoaked Chardonnay has become so common hence that is not always the case.

The Bordeaux

Bordeaux followed the creation of Burgundy immediately.

This bottle is known for housing the most popular red wines globally, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

This particularly made it the most commonly used among the winemakers all over the world.

If you aren’t keen enough to observe, you may mistake this bottle for Burgundy. However, Bordeaux is slightly different from its predecessor in that it has distinctive shoulders.

Many wine enthusiasts around the world believe that the distinctive shoulders of Bordeaux were created so as to attract the sediment which could accumulate often in the old Bordeaux while it was being decanted.

This is however a speculation and no confirmation has been put towards this reason.

Other people also believe that the design of Bordeaux could be a course to differentiating the bottle from its close cousin, Burgundy.

The Alsace/ Mosel

Finally, Alsace came around shortly after the wide spread of Bordeaux. Alsatian bottle was initially meant for storing Riesling, both dry and sweet.

Today, the bottle can be seen housing other similar wines like Gewurztraminer wine. Alsace bottles are more delicate as compared to its counterparts, Bordeaux and Burgundy.

This is thought to be the case because it is believed that the major transportation route for Alsace wines was on Rhine River, which meant that only smaller ships could pass through, hence the bottles needed to be as much slender as possible so as to fit many bottles as possible in the hull.

Since the transportation was happening on a river, it is thought that the bottles could be much more delicate since the voyage was gentler than on high seas where Bordeaux and Burgundy could float their way to Great Britain.

Such a nice history about the three main wine bottles, isn’t it?

Regardless of the bottle shape that your wine comes in, the most beneficial and important aspect of all the three wine bottle designs is that it makes it possible for the bottle to be easily stored on their side, bringing the wine into contact with the cork to give a perfect seal from oxygen.

Now that you know of the three major wine bottle shapes, what about knowing the different sizes?

Wine bottle sizes

The naming of bottle wine sizes is thought to trace its origin from the names of kings in the Bible. The wine bottle sizes naming convention however has no precise origin, but relation of the names to the biblical kings gives us some clue.

Here’s a list of the wine bottles sizes and how they are known:

  • 187.5ml Split or Piccolo -It is normally used to give a single champagne serving.
  • 375ml Half or Demi – this typically holds a single half of 750ml standard size.
  • 750ml Standard – this is the most commonly used for distributing wine.
  • 1.5L Magnum –this is equivalent to the two 750ml standard wine bottles.
  • 3.0L Double Magnum – it is an equivalence of two Magnums or four of the 750ml standard bottles.
  • 4.5l Jeroboam – also referred to as still wine and is an equivalence of the six 750ml standard bottles.
  • 6.0L Imperial – its equivalent to eight 750ml standard bottles, or two of the Double Magnums.
  • 9.0L Salmanazar– it’s an equivalence of twelve 750ml standard bottles or full wine case.
  • 12.0L Nebuchadnezzar– an equivalence of twenty 750ml standard wine bottles.

As you can see, you can buy your wine in different bottle shapes and sizes.

But you know well that buying wine can be a formidable task. Leave alone the jargons used by wine lovers which can take you years to understand, and the mind numbing choices available in stores.

The longer the aging process of wine, the finer it is. The same applies to the wine selection skill, it develops with time and is cannot be attained in a few days or weeks.

It is only after the flavour of different wines trickle from your taste buds to your brain that you’ll be able to judge the originality and quality of your wine.

Therefore, buying wine wasn’t a child’s play and required lots of effort to ensure that you are not tricked while purchasing.

However, those were the long gone days when we still didn’t have the internet with us.

Today, the internet has simplified our lives in virtually everything.

Today, purchasing wine online is the best way of making a sure-fire purchase of good quality wine. In fact, it’s the only way.

Let’s see the benefits of buying your wine from online stores.


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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