The use of wine bottles as we know them today, is a practice that has only been around for about 300 years. Prior to that, various jugs, bladders, barrels, and vats were used to store wines.
At present, there are primarily thirteen different shapes and sizes of bottles used for wines:
- 375mL – A “Half Bottle”, “Split”, or “Tenth”, equivalent to about 1.5 glasses of wine.
- 750mL – A “Normal” or “Standard” bottle size.
- 1.5L – A “Magnum”, twice the site of a standard.
- 2.25L – A “Marie-Jeane”, equal to three regular bottles.
- 3.0L – A “Double Magnum”, equal to four regular bottles.
- 3.0L – A “Jeroboam”, equal to four regular bottles, and used for sparkling wine.
- 4.5L – A Jeroboam, equal to six regular bottles, and used for storing red wine. In Bordeaux, red wine Jeroboams can hold 5.0L.
- 4.5L – A “Rehoboam”, equal to six regular bottles, and used for storing red wine.
- 6.0L – A “Methuselah”, Burgundy-shaped, equal to eight regular bottles.
- 6.0L – An “Imperial”, Bordeaux-shaped, equal to eight regular bottles.
- 9.0L – A “Salmanazar”, equal to 12 regular bottles (or one case).
- 12.0L – A “Balthazar”, equal to 16 bottles, usually used for sparkling wines.
- 15.0L – A “Nebuchadnezzar”, equal to 20 regular bottles (or 100 glasses of wine), usually used for sparkling wines.
Pictured at right is a 6-liter, Burgundy-shaped Methuselah bottle. Note the standard 750mL bottle behind it.