Wine bottle shapes, colors and sizes can say a lot about the type of wine in the bottle. In fact, the bottle in which the wine is encased reveals the location where the wine was made, the specific type of wine within and possibly more based on the shape and design of the bottle.
For example, mini wine bottles sometimes indicate that the wine is fortified. Because fortified wine has a higher alcohol content and tastes sweeter than most wine, it is usually drunk more slowly than regular wine.
Wine Bottle Shapes
Wine bottle shapes can reveal a lot about a wine:
- Narrow and tall: Rhine (also known as hock or hoch), Mosel and Alsace wines are encased in this type of bottle. These types of wine bottles have little or no punt, the dimple at the bottom of the wine bottle.
- Straight-sided and high-shouldered: Generally used for port, sherry and Bordeaux varieties of wine, this type of wine bottle has a pronounced punt. Port and sherry bottles also often have more bulbous necks on them to collect any leftover residue. Red wines bottled in straight-sided, high-shouldered bottles include cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec. White wines in these bottles include sauvignon blanc and Semillon.
- Tall with sloping shoulders: Burgundies and Rhone varieties of wine have this bottle design with smaller punts. Pinot noir and chardonnay are the most common wines found in these bottles, which typically have thicker glass to accommodate the naturally higher pressures of these wines.
- Thick-walled with sloping shoulders: Champagne and other sparkling wines are bottled in this shaped bottle, complete with a wide and pronounced punt. These bottles also have thicker glass walls to contain the higher pressure caused by the carbon dioxide bubbles it holds.
While many vineyards in both the US and Europe use the above rules of bottling their wines, other wineries around the world often simply choose whichever wine bottle shape they feel best represents their wine.
Wine Bottle Colors
The color of wine bottles can also tell you a great deal about the wine inside:
- Brown: Although brown is not a common wine bottle color, wines produced in Rhine or Alsace often come in brown bottles.
- Clear: These bottles are traditionally used for sweet white wines. However, because clear bottles have grown in popularity over the years, they are now often used for white wines in general.
- Dark Green: These bottles generally contain red wines, as darker bottles can help preserve the wine by protecting it from light.
- Light Green: These bottles are traditionally used for dry white wines.
- Other Colors: Some wineries choose non-traditional colors for their bottles to individualize their wines. The most common non-traditional wine bottle color is blue.
Wine Bottle Sizes
Along with shape and color, a wine bottle”s size can also vary. The standard size of a wine bottle is 750 mL. However, wine bottle sizes can vary greatly. Here is an outline of the various sizes of wine bottles from smallest to largest:
- Miniature: 100 mL
- Small (split): 187 mL
- Medium (tenth): 375 mL
- Regular (fifth): 750 mL
- Large (quart): 1 liter
- Magnum: 1.5 liter
- Extra large (jeroboam): 3 liter.
Wine Bottle Collecting
In addition to the many sizes, colors and shapes of wine bottles that wine collectors have to choose from, some vineyards and manufactures make:
- antique wine bottles
- personalized wine bottles
- vintage wine bottles.
Because wine and wine bottles are so varied, this sophisticated beverage has become a fascination for many collectors. In fact, wine collecting is just as popular and varied as the world of sport memorabilia collecting, car collecting and many other types of collecting.
While wine collectors may choose to keep full bottles of wine, others enjoy the wine and collect empty wine bottles. Other factors that define wine connoisseurs” collections include:
- type of wine
- vineyard in which the wine is produced
- year of production.