What are the sizes of liquor bottles

Wine bottles: a question of shape and size

Glass bottles offer two major advantages when it comes to storing wine: They are completely tasteless and allow a controlled view of the contents. And even if the Romans were already using hand-blown glass, it was not until the industrialization of glass production in the early 19th century that wines were bottled on a large scale. In the meantime, wine bottles made of glass have become a matter of course, but some of them differ significantly in their shape and size. So our wine friend Sven Reinbold reaches for the bottle for very sober educational work.

Before I go into the different sizes of wine bottles, I would first like to dedicate myself to the bottle shapes. There are four common forms that are probably familiar to wine lovers all over the world. But I would like to go into a fifth form below, as it is particularly relevant in Germany.

The burgundy bottle

The Burgundy bottle has existed since the 19th century and its bulbous shape with the simply curved sides came about because it was simply very easy to make with the glassblower. Since this bottle shape was the first to be used by winemakers in Burgundy, it soon received the identification mark for wines made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. When these two grape varieties were also successfully grown elsewhere, the tradition of bottling the wines in Burgundy bottles was adopted - this is also the case with most of the Spätburgunders from Germany.

Nowadays, however, the use of bottles is no longer limited to these two grape varieties. The Italian Barbaresco and Barolo made from the Nebbiolo grape are also filled in Burgundy bottles. And practically all wines from the south of France can be found in the bulbous type of bottle. In addition, many winemakers make it a principle to fill wines that stylistically more closely resemble a Pinot Noir in a Burgundy bottle.

A classic example of a Burgundy bottle can be found in our shop, for example here:

Organic or Bust Pinot Noir Hothum dry from Rheinhessen

The Bordeaux bottle

With the spread of the first Burgundy bottles, it became extremely important for the winemakers of the competing Bordeaux to establish a bottle shape that at first glance differs from the bottles from Burgundy. The biggest visual difference is the “shoulders” of the bottle directly below the bottle neck. Experts argue about whether these bulges were originally conceived to collect sediments in the wine so that they can be better retained when decanting. Personally, I think this is just a coincidental side effect, and it was actually just about the clear differentiation from Burgundy. It is not surprising that practically all wines made from Bordeaux grape varieties such as Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are bottled in this bottle shape. But wines of other grape varieties are also most commonly sold in Bordeaux bottles around the world.

With this bottle, however, I remain true to my recommendation of the home region:

Château Réaut Côtes de Bordeaux 2014

The flail bottle

The origin of this slim bottle shape lies in Germany and it was used for the first time in Riesling wines from Alsace and the Moselle. Today practically all wines from Alsace are bottled in Schlegel bottles - regardless of whether they are red or white. In Germany, Austria and Switzerland, this bottle is by far the most commonly used form for white wines.

From a historical point of view, the tall, slim shape came about because the main transport route was the Rhine and the aim was to use the available space on the comparatively small river boats as effectively as possible. The somewhat more fragile shape was not a problem, because you didn't have to reckon with the waves that you had to expect when transporting Bordeaux by sea.

By the way: A somewhat forgotten tradition made it possible to distinguish between them, at least within Germany, despite the same bottle shape. Riesling wines from the Rhine can be recognized by the brown bottle color and the counterpart from the Moselle can be identified by the green glass.

Hardly any vintner in these regions still adheres to it, but I have picked out two valid examples from the shop:

Riesling semi-dry Geisenheimer Mönchspfad from the Rheingau

Riesling Spätlese Thörnicher Ritsch from the Moselle

The champagne bottle

Strictly speaking, a champagne bottle is a special form of the Burgundy bottle, but on closer inspection there are some differences: It is usually thicker-walled than the normal Burgundy bottle. The reason for this are the higher pressure conditions that prevail in a sparkling wine bottle. Keyword bottle fermentation. The typical, inwardly curved base serves only as a secondary place to rest the thumb when pouring it appropriately. It was originally created by blowing glass on a twisted rod. And the curvature has another advantage for a sparkling wine bottle: The pressure is distributed more evenly on the side walls of the bottle. This reduces the risk of overpressure.

Nowadays, champagne bottles are used for the majority of all sparkling wines.


The Bocksbeutel

A traditional German bottle shape should of course not be missing in this article. The Bocksbeutel is a typical bottle shape and design in the Franconian wine region. As early as 1726, it was decided to mark the best wines of the Würzburg Bürgerspital with a special bottle shape in order to be able to fight against the widespread wine adulteration. The Bocksbeutel was born! Since then, the bottle shape has been synonymous with the Franconian wine region and is now used in particular for wines from Silvaner. Incidentally, the Bocksbeutel was slightly modernized for the first time at the end of 2015 by making the edges of the bottle a little more angular.

Question of the format: What bottle sizes are there?

One or the other wine lover knows half and magnum bottles as a special format of the wine bottle. The small one is often used with sweet wines and a magnum with sparkling wine may have already been opened on New Year's Eve.

But there are many other formats as well. And keeping track of things here is not that easy. Example: A 3 liter bottle is called double magnum in Bordeaux, but jéroboam in Champagne and Burgundy. In Bordeaux, however, there is also a bottle format called Jéroboam. However, this holds 5 liters. And to further complicate it, a 6 liter bottle is called Methuselah in Champagne and Burgundy, but Impériale in Bordeaux. Roger that? Exactly, not that easy at all! Therefore, for a better overview, please consult the table below with the most common bottle sizes.

Size buys time: slower maturity included

Let's be honest: A large-format wine bottle looks great - especially when guests are visiting. But a magnum is also practical. In social gatherings with other wine lovers, a normal bottle is usually not enough, so why not open a larger bottle right away? And if you take the label very seriously: A magnum ensures that all guests get the same wine in their glass and not the same wine from two different bottles.

But it's not just these aspects that make large-format bottles interesting. Due to the higher ratio between liquid and the oxygen trapped by the cork, wines mature more slowly in larger bottles. Many wine connoisseurs even claim they ripen better.

By the way: In the Weinfreunde Shop there are not only normal bottles, but also wines in magnum format.

Now you know everything if you want to play with the "big guys".


What did you think of the article?
4.67 stars | 15 ratings