This is a list of the most frequently used wine bottle sizes and an explanation of each size and shape:
It’s not only large format wine bottles that vary in size, there are smaller wine bottles that come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes as well. Some of the other more obscure wine bottle sizes and shapes that are not commonly seen or used:
Cylinder: 100ml: Used mostly for single, test tube bottles with 3.3 ounce servings of Sauternes, this size is also used from some bottles of Essencia from the Tokaji region in Hungary.
Chopine: 250ml – 1/3 bottle 250ml (1 ¼ glass) Used more often in France.
Clavelin half: 310ml Used for Vin Juane, the yellow wine of the Jura region of France.
Jennie: 500ml – This uncommon wine bottle size is used most often for sweet, dessert styled wines from Tokaji, Sauternes and its surrounding areas or Jerez.
Clavelin Full: 620ml This seldom seen wine bottle size is used for Vin Juane, the yellow wine of the Jura region of France.
Liter 1000ml This little wine bottle size holds the middle ground between a full bottle and magnum. It is popularized in California by Grace Family Vineyards.
Marie Jeanne: 2.25 Liters This is equal to 3 standard bottles, or one magnum and one bottle. Port producers often refer to this unique bottle as a Tregnum or Tappit Hen bottle.
It’s not just wine bottle sizes that vary widely. There are numerous different shapes that wine is often bottled in as well. When wine was first bottled, bottles were not standard in shape or size. The reason for this is, at the time, all wine bottles were manufactured one bottle at a time by glass blowers. If you think today’s bottles look odd, check out the first glass bottles that were called onion shaped bottles, due to their round shape. These were not easy to stack or cellar!
Today, while there are a myriad of variances in bottle shapes, the three most widely used bottles are based on the following: The Bordeaux bottle with its tall shoulders, deep punt and straight sides. The sloped shoulders helps trap the sediment while the punt adds strength to the construction of the bottle. Bordeaux shaped bottles allow for ease in stacking and cellaring. The Burgundy bottle is wider than the Bordeaux bottle and has sloping shoulders with a deep punt. The wines of Germany and Alsace prominently feature bottles with long necks.
The most popular wine bottle size and shape today is the standard bottle used for most wines. The standard bottle mirrors the common 750ml Bordeaux bottle. However there are slight variances that take place in the Bordeaux region as well. Chateau Haut Brion has its own, unique antique shaped bottle with its trade marked sloping shoulders. A diferent antique shaped bottle is used for Chateau Pavie. From time to time, some chateaux use thicker, slightly larger bottles, for example Pontet Canet in Pauillac. A few wine makers package their wine in taller bottles with longer necks like Magrez Frombauge in Saint Emilion. While most of the smaller Bordeaux bottles holding 375ml are the same shape, some producers of sweet, white Bordeaux wine package their product in longer shaped, half bottles.
Bordeaux is not the only French appellation that markets wine in bottles with shaped variances. In the Southern Rhone Valley, some Chateauneuf du Pape producers use short, squat shaped bottles, for example Gardine uses a unique short, squat shaped bottle.
It’s not just European producers that use unique packaging. The top estates in the Napa Valley often use a wide variety of shapes and sizes to showcase their wine. Some bottles are massive in weight and size for Cabernet Sauvignon. Others use extremely long necks. A few producers prefer shorter, wide bottles. Sine Qua Non, the top producer of Rhone varietals in North America uses a different bottle in shape and size for every vintage! A small amount of California wine makers have even taken to packaging their wine in square shaped bottles, making them quite easy to stack and store.
In Burgundy, the shape most commonly used is a bottle with sloped shoulders and a small punt, which is now almost always referred to as a Burgundy shaped bottle.
German and Alsatian wine producers favor extremely tall bottles with long necks and tiny or non-existent punts.
Italian producers utilize a myriad of wine bottle sizes and shapes for their wines, especially for lower priced bottles that are marked by their round, shape and are from time to time wrapped in straw.