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 wines ageing process and flavour.
Large bottles look impressive at a party and allow the wine to age better. This is due to the ullage - air space between the wines 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.