You may have noticed that not all bottles of wine have the same shape? My Wine Box Vietnam explains to you why and gives you a few points of reference to be able to declare at a glance: “This one, only in its shape, I can tell you that it is a Burgundian!“
The bottle is an innovation that spread widely from the 18th century onwards. Its use became standardized when it was realized that the wine kept better in the bottle than in the barrel! On the other hand, the shape of the bottle varies.
The Burgundy Bottle
The first bottle of the big three to become ubiquitous was the Burgundy Bottle. Invented sometime in the nineteenth century, it is thought that the bottle’s curved sides exist simply because this design was easier for glassmakers to create. Following the bottle’s creation, Burgundy producers – the people responsible for making the first wines out of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir – began using the vessels to bottle their red and white Burgundies. Within a few decades, the bottle became ubiquitous as the bottle used to house good Pinot and Chardonnay, and as these two very popular grapes spread across the world, so did the Burgundy bottle. Nowadays, most red wines with a flavor profile similar to Pinot Noir – light, bright, and complex – such as Nebbiolo, Gamay and Etna Rosso can be also be found in this style bottle. If you find a white wine inside a Burgundian bottle, traditionally it was a good indication that the white probably saw a bit of oak during the aging process, but with unoaked Chardonnay now becoming a thing, that’s not always the case.
The Bordeaux Bottle
Not to be outdone, almost immediately following the creation of the Burgundy bottle came the famous Bordeaux variety. Housing the two most popular red wines in the world, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this bottle immediately became the most used among winemakers the world over. What sets the Bordeaux bottle apart from the Burgundy bottle is the bottle’s distinctive shoulders. Most believe these shoulders were created in order to catch the sediment that could often accumulate in old Bordeaux while the bottle was being decanted. However, it hasn’t been confirmed that this is the actual reason the Bordeaux bottle has its distinctive shoulders; many also believe the design could have been simply to set the bottle apart from it’s Burgundian cousin.
The Alsatian/Mosel Bottle
Finally the Alsatian/Mosel bottle came into existence shortly after Bordeaux. Originally created for storing Riesling – both dry and sweet – the bottle can now be seen housing similar
wines such as Gewurztraminer. These bottles are much more delicate than their Burgundy and Bordeaux counterparts and it’s thought this is the case because the main transportation route for these wines was the Rhine river, which meant smaller river ships meaning the bottles needed to be slender in order to fit as many as possible inside the hull. And given that transportation was occurring on a river, the bottles could be more delicate as it was a much gentler voyage than on
the high seas where Burgundy and Bordeaux wines often found themselves floating off to Great Britain.
Bottles whose shape has been exported throughout France and in the world!
Wine Bottle Sizes Chart
Curiously, the historic convention for naming wine bottle sizes is based on the names of biblical kings.
187.5 ml Piccolo or Split: Typically used for a single serving of Champagne.
375 ml Demi or Half: Holds one-half of the standard 750 ml size.
750 ml Standard: Common bottle size for most distributed wine.
1.5 L Magnum: Equivalent to two standard 750 ml bottles.
3.0 L Double Magnum: Equivalent to two Magnums or four standard 750 ml bottles.
4.5 L Jeroboam (still wine): Equivalent to six standard 750 ml bottles.
6.0 L Imperial: Equivalent to eight standard 750 ml bottles or two Double Magnums.
9.0 L Salmanazar: Equivalent to twelve standard 750 ml bottles or a full case of wine!
12.0 L Balthazar: Equivalent to sixteen standard 750 ml bottles or two Imperials.
15.0 L Nebuchadnezzar: Equivalent to twenty standard 750 ml bottles.