Wine Bottles 101

On this journey of sharing all of our artisan expertise about wine bottles, we have decided to share with you a complete guide for wine bottles, considering that depending on the type of wine, there are different shapes and sizes for different purposes, allowing you to know which kind of wine is there the grape variety it was made with (even the region from which the wine is from) As you probably know, wine bottles are typically made of glass and they are not just containers, but they carry many details about the wine. All wine bottles have a very specific and unique structure according to the wine they carry and of course, the parts of a wine bottle have a specific meaning. Are you ready to learn them all? Parts of the bottles: Closure: these are used to seal your wine bottles. There are several types of these closures such as Cork closures and Screw Cap and as we have learned before, there is even a special kind of wine cork that guarantees the best preserving process and flavour. Cork Closures: as we have discussed before, these closures allow the wine to be exposed to a very small amount of oxygen. If you want to deep dive on this aspect, visit our blog about agglomerated or natural corks: Screw Caps: a screw cap is a budget-appropriate alternative for wine making. However, this does not mean that wines under screw caps are always cheap, because some of these types of caps allow wine to breathe while maturing. Unlike cork closures, the wine under screwcap will not be affected by cork-taint. Capsule: it is a metal paper wrapping around the closure that holds the cork tightly to prevent the wine from drying up or evaporating faster than expected. Neck: it is a delicate part of the bottle bellow the closure that is used grip to hold it and to make it easy for you to user your hand for uncorking. In terms of filling up a wine bottle, the perfect level is when it reaches to the neck, and if the wine-level is lower than that neck, it is probably because the wine has leaked out or evaporated through the cork during the maturing period. Shoulder: is the slopping part after the bottleneck. Not all shoulders are same in all bottles and some are high, mid or low shoulder level. We have even seen some wine bottles that do not have clear shoulders while some of them have shoulders that are more conspicuous. Body: is the main part of the bottle and it is usually cylindrical, but its diameter can vary. Label: it is a sticker on the body where you can find information about the volume of the liquid, alcohol content by volume, vintage, origin, varietal, etc. Punt: is an indentation on the underside of the bottle that is usually given to during the moulding process. It helps strengthening the structure of the bottle and ensures its stability. Heel: is the bottom part of the bottle and it helps the bottle to stand straight. Nevertheless, now that we learned the main parts that compose the anatomy of a wine bottle, it is also important to understand that their shape varies from one another, based on the type of wine it contains. With that being said, there are 12 types of wine bottles with different shapes and today, you will discover them all with The Artisan’s Bottega: Shapes of wine bottles: Bordeaux: these have a tall and straight structure with high shoulders. A dark green coloured glass will be used if it is intended for red wine, and if it is for white wine, a light green coloured glass will be used. The Bordeaux bottle is used for a variety of grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Bordeaux blends.

Burgundy: its main characteristics are a gently sloping shoulders and a little wider body, giving it a classic and elegant look. A green coloured glass is used for both red and white wines and this bottle is generally used for Pinot Noir, Aligote and Chardonnay. Because it is a very popular wine, you might come across some variations and styles and bottle makers often fabricate them with thicker glass.

Rhone: is a very similar to Burgundy in regards of its look, but it is a bit thinner and taller. A green coloured glass is used for red wines, while white and rose wines use clear glass. This bottle has a longer neck, often embossed with a coat of arms, and more angular sloping shoulders and this kind of bottle is generally used for Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah.

Champagne: this olive-green bottle is often spotted at parties and celebrations and despite its sturdy design, it is still considered very graceful. It has thick glass for holding up to 80 to 90 PSI on the pressure inside the bottle and it counts with a gentle sloping shoulders and deep punt. Back in the day, these bottles used to explode during transportation. Therefore, they are designed baring technical necessities in mind.

Cotes de Provence: this clear glass bottle is often used for rose and red wines. There are still some remains of traditional winemaking in Cotes de Provence and some producers still use regional wine bottles. This bottle is also called ‘corset’ by the locals and it has been used for decades, with no chances of it going away anytime soon.

Mosel and Alsace: is tall and slim bottle with a long neck. Typically, wines from Mosel (Germany) and Alsace (France) use this bottle and wineries that use grape varieties such as Riesling and Muller Thurgau use it. The New World winemakers use this bottle for sweet wines.

Rhine: it is also a tall and slim bottle with a long neck, with quite a little punt. A dark brown coloured glass is used for this bottle which sets it apart from other bottles and from it’s often intended for grape varieties like Riesling, Muller-Thurgau and Bacchus.

Chianti: it has round body and bulged bottom covered with a straw basket. This bottle is also known as the fiasco and the basket around the bottom provides a flat base for the glass and extra protection during transportation and handling. The use of this bottle has been decreased over years and nowadays, most Chianti wine is now bottled in more standard bottles like Bordeaux.

Bocksbeutel: translates to “beer bag” but it is used for wine. It comes in the form of a flattened ellipsoid and contains the same volume of wine as other bottles (0.75 Liters). It has a short neck which often features an embossed badge on the left shoulder. This badge usually represents the name of its domain. This bottle is manufactured with a flattened shape for a purpose – to carry it around easily and keep it from rolling away on the uneven ground.

Jura: this shape of wine bottle has short recognition and popularity, and it is made from light green coloured glass. The top half has inside curved shoulders while the bottom half is a little flared. The shoulders gently blend into its long neck. Grape varieties including Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay use this bottle.

Vin Jaune: has a highly unconventional shape. It is a short, stocky and heavy built bottle, legally authorized for Vin Jaune wine only.

Fortified Wine: it is slightly similar to Bordeaux bottle thanks to its straight body with high, rounded shoulders. The neck has bulges, which prevent debris from being poured into the glass. Its dark black glass protects wine from light. This bottle is used for Fortified wines such as Vermouth, Port, Marsala and Madeira.

Apart from these last 12 bottles, some other types and shapes are also used by winemakers to attract and boost sales. Only Burgundy, Germanic and Bordeaux bottles are most commonly used around the world. And now that we’ve learned about their shapes, let’s go over some bottle kinds according to their size (yes, there are wine bottles that are bigger than the average 750.00 ml that are usually carried in most)
Name Size Additional
Split 187 ml Quarter of a standard size bottle
Half-bottle 375 ml Released for higher priced wines
Standard Size 750 ml Recognized throughout the world
Magnum 1.5 L Equal to two standard-sized bottles
Double Magnum 3 L Equal to two Magnum bottles
Jeroboam 4.5 L Equal to six standard-sized bottles
Imperial Magnum 6 L Equal to eight standard-sized bottles, holds 6000 ml.
Salmanazar 9 L Equal to twelve standard-sized bottles, holds 9000 ml.
Balthazar 12 L Equal to sixteen standard-sized bottles, holds 12000 ml.
Nebuchadnezzar 15 L Equal to twenty standard-sized bottles, holds 15000 ml.
But you might be wondering, why are there so many large-format bottles? The answer is very simple! Some large commercial brands of inexpensive wines use Magnum or other large-formats in an attempt to boost sales. Thank you for reading our articles and allowing us to share our artisan expertise with you. If you happen to follow our tutorials for wine making or if you share this information with your friends and family, do not forget to tag us on our socials @artisans.bottega sharing your pictures! We love checking up on our Artisans Family.

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