Wine bottle sizes: the complete guide!

"Beer is made by men, wine by God" (Martin Luther) – perhaps this explains why the nomenclature of wine bottle sizes was often based on biblical kings! This heavenly drink comes in all shapes and sizes. Read on for your complete guide…

all wine bottle sizes explained to you

Wine bottle sizes: a brief history…


The main changes in wine bottle sizes started in the 1700s. Why? There were important discoveries made, showing that cork could act as a sealing agent, which helped wine to age and not spoil. Wine bottle shapes tend to reflect the history and tradition of where the bottle was made, whereas wine bottle sizes can impact on the wine’s ageing process and flavour.

wine cork

Small and large bottles, size does matter…


Large bottles look impressive at a party and allow the wine to age better. This is due to the ullage - air space between the wine’s surface and the cork. Not only will a larger bottle help wine develop faster with more complexity, the larger volume will make the temperature more stable, helping the wine age more evenly. Larger bottles are suited to wines with longer ageing periods, such as Bordeaux.

from piccolo to magnum and jeroboam, all wine bottle sizes

Know your piccolo from your Jeroboam!


Wish to be a true wine connoisseur? You need to know the names of wine bottle sizes, of which there are several. From small bottles such as the piccolo (187ml), the demi/split (375ml) to the standard bottle size of 750ml, there is a whole variety! For parties, a Magnum is the equivalent of 2 standard bottles and a Jeroboam is the equivalent of 4. Unlike biblically named bottle sizes, the Winston Churchill holds 20 ounces of wine, the amount of champagne he considered perfect for a morning tipple! As for the KING of all wine bottles, the Melchizedek holds the equivalent of 40 wine bottles, stands up to 4 feet tall and can cost in excess of 4,000 pounds!