The Dimensions of a Wine Bottle


If you are considering transforming your basement into a home wine cellar, you are not alone. The installation of home wine cellars is a booming business, especially in the luxury home market. When mapping out your wine cellar, you might want to know the size of a standard wine bottle. Ninety percent of your home wine collection will probably consist of standard-sized bottles.

The first dimension to consider is the height of a standard wine bottle. Some racking companies make their racks only ten inches deep, which does not protect the full 11½-inch height of a standard bottle. Be sure to accommodate the full height of a standard wine bottle, because you don’t want your precious wine bottles sticking their necks out.

The Other Dimensions of a Wine Bottle

A standard wine bottle holds 750 milliliters of wine and stands approximately 11.5 inches tall. At the base, its diameter is 27/8 to 3 inches. From the bottom up, its sides are straight, but near the top, at about three-quarters of the height, it has a rounded shoulder.. This is often called a Bordeaux bottle because it is the usual size and shape for a bottle of red wine from that region of France.

The contents of a standard bottle equal approximately 25 ounces, so if you are pouring five-ounce servings, one bottle will yield about five glasses of wine. The size of one serving is arbitrary, but according to The American Medical Association, “… A standard drink is any drink that contains about half an ounce (13.7 grams or 1.2 tablespoons) of pure alcohol. Generally, this amount of pure alcohol is found in five ounces of wine.”

Non-Standard Wine Bottle Sizes

Splits and Halfs: Some bottlers and vineyards offer smaller sizes equivalent to half of a bottle or even a quarter of a bottle. A “split” is a quarter of a standard bottle, holding about six ounces of wine–a little more than one serving. Splits are 7 inches tall and 2 inches in diameter. A half, as you might guess, is half the volume of a standard bottle, holding 13 ounces of wine. It stands 9½ inches tall with a diameter at the base of 2¼”.

Magnum: A magnum of wine is equivalent to two bottles, or about 50 ounces. The magnum stands 13½ inches tall and requires a special rack in your wine cellar. The base of the magnum is 4 inches in diameter.

Jeroboam: If you are entertaining lots of friends, you might want to open a Jeroboam. This is the big brother of the magnum. A Jeroboam bottle holds three liters of wine, equal to four standard bottles, or 20 glasses.

The Shapes of Wine Bottles

The abrupt “shoulder” of the Bordeaux bottle may have evolved to help catch sediment on aged wines. Although this may be true, the shapes of wine bottles has more to do with their region of origin than with a functional characteristic. Different wine growing regions gradually developed their own bottle shapes, and there is no requirement for a certain type of wine to occupy a certain shape of bottle. To avoid consumer confusion, most bottlers stick to the conventions.

Besides the Bordeaux bottle, one other shape commonly used for red wine is the Burgundy bottle. It has more sloping shoulders and a slightly wider base. It is also 11½ inches tall, but has a diameter of 3½ inches at the base. Since Chardonnay is also made in Burgundy, you will find this varietal in a Burgundy-shaped bottle. The same is true for Pinot Noir.

A taller, more slender bottle is used by German wine makers. These long-necked bottles might hold the sweet dessert wines of that region, including Riesling and Gewürztraminer. The fourth type of bottle is used in the Champagne region and is a heavier, wider-based bottle which has to be able to stand the pressure of the bubbles within.

Bonus Question: What’s a Punt?

There is an indentation in the bottom of some wine and champagne bottles, and it’s not designed to fool the consumer about the amount of liquid in the bottle. This hollow area is called the punt, and there are several theories about why it is there. Some say it helped in the shipping of bottles in crates because they could be lined up with the top of one bottle nestled in the punt of another. A more likely theory is that when bottles were blown by hand, imperfections in the bottom could cause a bottle to be unsteady. To minimize the chances of a rocky bottle, the glass maker would indent the bottom. The word probably comes from punty or pontil, a glass-blowing tool.


Source by Kay D Harrison