All Shapes and Sizes
There is nothing quite like settling in after a hard day with your favorite television show and a bottle of wine. There might be some days in which you may be surprised to have finished a whole bottle of wine. Or when the size of the bottle may shock you with how massive it may appear to you in comparison to “normal” bottles.
After you have noticed that wine bottles come in different shapes and colors, you may want to know, why? The answer is on early discoveries made about corks and aging along with the region in which it comes from.
A Little Bit of History
Changes in wine bottles sizes and shapes began in the mid 1700’s when it was discovered that corks could act as a seal, which prevented spoiling. That is when winemakers and drinkers realized that wine could age. Not only did bigger wine bottles look better but actually enabled the wine to age and develop over longer periods of time in comparison to their standard glass bottles.
It has become common knowledge that the larger the format wine bottles age more slowly, which leads to complex and nuanced wine than smaller wine bottles. For wines that are suited to longer periods of aging, such as Bordeaux, a larger bottle is recommended.
Wine Bottle Sizes
While you may have noticed that wine bottles vary in size, you may not know that they have their own names. One fun fact about the names of these wine bottles is that some come from Biblical characters. Here is the breakdown of each bottle from big to little (liters they hold).
- Melchizedek or Midas- 30 liters
- Primat or Goliath- 27 liters
- Sovereign- 26.25 liters
- Solomon- 18 liters
- Melchior- 18 liters
- Nebuchadnezzar- 15 liters
- Balthazar or Belshazzar- 12 liters
- Salmanazar- 9 liters
- Methuselah- 6 liters
- Jeroboam- 6 liters
- Marie Jeanne- 4.5 liters
- Magnum- 1.5 liters
- Litre- 1 liter
- Fifth- 0.757 liters
- Standard- 0.750 liter
- Clavelin- 0.620 liters
- Jennie- 0.5 liters
- Tenth- 0.378 liters
- Demi- 0.375 liters
- Chopine- 0.25 liters
- Quarter- 0.2 liters
- Piccolo- 0.1875
Wine Bottle Shapes
As stated before, the bottle shaped chosen depends on the region. Wine producers will follow tradition of their local areas in choosing the shape of bottle most appropriate for their wine.
- Port, sherry, and Bordeaux’s varieties will comes in a straight-sided and high-shouldered bottle with a pronounced punt.
- Burgundies and Rhone varieties will come in tall bottles with sloping shoulders and a smaller punt.
- Schlegel, which are commonly found in Germany come in more slender and elongated bottles.
- Rhine, Mosel, and Alsace are found in narrow, tall bottles with no punt.
- Champagne and other sparkling wines have thick-walled and wide with a pronounced punt with sloping shoulders.
- Chianti and other Italian wines come in a round-bottomed flask encased in a straw basket. This is common for everyday table wine in Italy. Now, you will also find them in Bordeaux type bottles.
The most popular bottle types of these are the Bordeaux and Burgundy. The reason these particular bottles are so popular is because the sloped shoulders help trap sediment while punt adds strength to the construction of the bottle. Plus they are easier to stack than other bottles.
For those who need clarification, the punt is the dimple at the bottom of the wine bottle. There hasn’t been a consensus for its purpose, but many people feel it is a remnant from when bottles were free blown. Or that it made bottles easier to be stacked end to end. We may never truly know its purpose.
Most wine bottles may appear black, this is because the color of the wine and bottle itself create this illusion. Wine bottles are usually made from green glass, the darker greens reserved for reds or dark wines. Light green are normally reserved for whites and colorless for sweet whites or Rose champagnes.
While clear bottles have become popular recently, dark-colored remain the most commonly used for red wines. This is because sun exposure can break down the antioxidants such as vitamin c and the tannins in wine. Dark glass prevents this and oxidation from occurring and increase storage life.
Wine Bottle Coolers
Due to the various shapes and sizes it is difficult to find coolers that can accommodate them. It's always a topic for manufacturer to consider how to get this problem fixed. At KingsBottle, we keep improving our products and we will come out a better solution soon. keep an eye on this and check our products update. Cheers!