Among the greatest wine producers in Europe, Italy is most definitely at the first place both for local production and export.
The wine cellars and the connoisseurs of this product know really well the sizes of wine bottles, as they can be many and have a very specific purpose for consumption, sale and, most importantly, to define the wine’s character.
In terms of capacity, the European standard format and the most common one is 0.75 l.
The regulation does indeed stipulate that this is the selling size, although only Switzerland, geographically in Europe, also sells 0.7 l bottles. On the other hand, the height, the weight, and the diameter of the bottle are not standardized. Consequently, the weight can fluctuate depending on the thickness of the glass and the stretch-out, slim, or rounded shape, so to confer added value on full-bodied or lighter wines.
Let’s have a closer look at the various shapes and sizes of wine bottles.
Types of wine bottles: which ones?
Over the course of time, the types of wine bottles have changed, yet managed to establish themselves as true standards of popular shapes.
The Bordeaux bottle: Originally from Bordeaux, it is probably the most well-known bottle shape. Tall, slim, visible shoulders and short neck typical of still wines. Colourless for whites, red for reds.
The burgunder bottle: Native to Bourgogne, it is more narrow-shouldered and lighter, with a longer neck and a fuller appearance at a three-quarter height. It is the bottle mainly used for whites, though it is also used for reds.
The Rhone bottle: Originating in the Rhineland, slim and slender with absent shoulders is light and tapered, mainly used for white wines without sediments on the bottom.
The champagne bottle: Used for sparkling wine and champagne, it is more rounded than its burgundy cousin and has a much longer neck.
Wine bottles: how to choose the right shapes and sizes
Let’s have a look at how to choose the right size for wine bottles and formats.
Capacity is the standard parameter that defines wines marketed in Europe and exported from there. In fact, the default standard is 0.75 l.
There is certainly no shortage of lesser known and marketed capacities such as the small, 0.25 l, the magnum or double magnum of 1.5 and 3 l respectively used for sparkling wines and champagne. Formats such as Réhoboam (4.5 l), Balthazar (12 l) and Melchior (18 l) are more often used for marketing purposes or special occasions.
The shape of the bottle, on the other hand, determines the character of the wine contained. With the same standard capacity, full-bodied wines weigh more because they are made of thicker and more rounded glass, while lighter wines with a slimmer and more stretched shape are made of thinner glass. Hence, the weight of 0.75 l bottles can range from 400 to 750 g.
The diameter goes hand in hand with the height for the same standard capacity. The Rhenish slim has a diameter of about 60-82 mm and the highest height of all with a maximum of about 375 mm. The Bordeaux and Burgundy bottles have a diameter of between 78 and 90 mm and lower heights of around 300 to 320 mm.
All the wine bottle names
Besides the standard 0.75 l format, the largest and highest quality bottles are also the rarest and most expensive, and tend to be used to store fine wines such as champagnes. In fact, the names of the Biblical Kings are dedicated to them. Below there is an overview of the most famous ones, without forgetting niche wines such as Marsala or Port, which instead have very special sizes and shapes.
|Jeroboam (or Double Magnum)
|Mathusalem or Imperial