The bottle of wine in all its forms



From the antique amphora to the capsule wine bottle, wine has always needed a container after it has been aged. Of all the forms, of different materials, its diversity is also expressed according to its origin. Do you know all the bottle formats and their names? It can be difficult to find your way around, so let’s do a review of the workforce among two French regions, Burgundy and Gironde.


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Let’s start with the smallest format, the half-bottle, with a capacity of 0.375 l. As its name suggests, it represents half a bottle (0.75 l), the most common wine bottle format. Finally, a magnum corresponds to two bottles of wine, i.e. 1.5 l.

Now things get tough… A 3 liter bottle is called a double magnum in Bordeaux, while it is called a jeroboam in Burgundy. This same jeroboam is equivalent to 4.5 l in Gironde, while a bottle of this capacity is called rehoboam in Burgundy. The imperial Bordeaux, proud of its 6 l, is found under the name of mathusalem in Burgundy.

There are other even larger volumes. The 12 l and 15 l formats seem to be unanimous between Bordeaux and Burgundians, the name not to change for these bottles: respectively balthazar and nabuchodonosaur. But the discord resumes at 18 l, the Bordelais melchior becomes a Solomon.

The Intricacies of Wine Bottle Sizes

Wine bottle sizes are more than just a matter of capacity; they are deeply rooted in tradition, regional practices, and even historical figures. Each bottle size has its own name and often a story behind it, reflecting the rich cultural heritage of wine-making regions. In Burgundy and Bordeaux, for instance, the names of larger bottles are derived from biblical kings, adding a touch of grandeur to the wine they contain.

Understanding these sizes is crucial for wine enthusiasts and collectors. The half-bottle, at 0.375 liters, is perfect for those who wish to sample a wine without committing to a full bottle. The standard 0.75-liter bottle is ubiquitous and ideal for most occasions. Moving up, the magnum (1.5 liters) is favored for its impressive presentation and ability to age wine better due to its larger volume-to-surface area ratio, which allows the wine to develop more slowly and harmoniously.

The Aging Benefits of Large Formats

Larger formats like the double magnum (3 liters), jeroboam (4.5 liters in Bordeaux, but 3 liters in Burgundy), rehoboam (4.5 liters in Burgundy), and imperial (6 liters in Bordeaux) are not just about making a statement at a dinner party. They offer significant benefits in terms of wine aging. The reduced oxygen-to-wine ratio in these large bottles means that the wine oxidizes more slowly, preserving its flavors and allowing it to age gracefully over many years. This slower aging process can lead to more complex and refined wines.

For true aficionados and collectors, even larger sizes such as the methuselah (6 liters in Burgundy), balthazar (12 liters), nabuchodonosaur (15 liters), and solomon (18 liters in Burgundy) represent the pinnacle of wine storage. These colossal bottles are often reserved for special vintages or celebrations, where the ceremonial aspect of opening such a large bottle adds to the occasion’s significance.

Modern Solutions for Wine Preservation

In the modern era, preserving the quality of wine after opening has become a key concern for enthusiasts and restaurateurs alike. This is where innovative solutions like Wikeeps come into play. Wikeeps offers advanced wine serving and preservation systems that use a mix of argon and CO2 to keep wine fresh for up to 20 days after opening. This technology is particularly beneficial for large-format bottles, where consuming the entire bottle in one sitting might not be feasible.

By using a preservation system like Wikeeps, you can enjoy the benefits of large-format bottles—such as superior aging and enhanced flavors—without the worry of wastage. This makes it easier to savor high-quality wines over a longer period, ensuring that every glass you pour is as delightful as the first. Whether you are serving wine in a restaurant or enjoying a special bottle at home, Wikeeps ensures that your wine remains in peak condition, allowing you to fully appreciate its complexity and depth.

The Heritage and Craftsmanship Behind Bottle Sizes

The heritage and craftsmanship behind these bottle sizes are deeply intertwined with the winemaking process itself. Each bottle size is designed not only for practical purposes but also to honor the history and traditions of winemaking. For instance, the names of these bottles, often rooted in biblical and historical references, add a layer of reverence and storytelling to the wine experience. This historical connection enhances the cultural appreciation of wine, making each bottle not just a vessel but a piece of the larger narrative of wine history.

Additionally, the craftsmanship involved in creating these larger bottles is significant. Producing large-format bottles requires a high level of skill and precision, both in glassmaking and winemaking. The bottles must be crafted to withstand the pressure of the wine and the cork must be of high quality to ensure a perfect seal over many years. This attention to detail ensures that the wine inside can mature gracefully, providing an exceptional drinking experience when the bottle is finally opened.

Enhancing Wine Appreciation with Knowledge and Technology

For wine enthusiasts, understanding the different bottle sizes and their unique benefits can greatly enhance their wine appreciation and collection strategy. Collectors often seek out large-format bottles for their superior aging potential and the prestige they bring to a collection. These bottles are often seen as prized possessions, suitable for aging the finest wines from the best vintages.

Furthermore, the integration of modern preservation technology, such as that offered by Wikeeps, into the wine experience represents a fusion of tradition and innovation. By using argon and CO2 to protect the wine from oxidation, Wikeeps allows wine lovers to enjoy their collections without the fear of wasting precious wine. This technology also supports the trend of enjoying wine by the glass in fine dining settings, where maintaining the integrity of each pour is essential.

In conclusion, the world of wine bottle sizes is rich with tradition and innovation, offering wine lovers a deeper connection to the history and craftsmanship of winemaking. With tools like Wikeeps, the experience of savoring fine wines is elevated, ensuring that every bottle, whether small or large, can be enjoyed to its fullest potential. For those looking to delve deeper into the art of wine, understanding bottle sizes and utilizing preservation technologies are key steps in enhancing their overall wine journey.



The world of wine bottle sizes is vast and fascinating, reflecting the traditions and craftsmanship of winemaking regions like Burgundy and Bordeaux. Understanding these sizes and their benefits can enhance your appreciation of wine, whether you’re a casual drinker or a serious collector. With modern preservation solutions like Wikeeps, you can extend the enjoyment of your favorite wines, ensuring they remain fresh and flavorful long after opening. For more insights and updates on our products, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Embrace the full spectrum of wine enjoyment with Wikeeps, and toast to every memorable occasion with confidence.

Beyond the simple pleasure of sharing that such bottles can represent, the interest of large formats also lies in their keeping capacity.

To take full advantage of your bottles, Wikeeps offers wine serving and preservation systems that adapt to many bottle formats. From the bottle in the classic format to the imperial (proudly represented at Vinexpo 2015), Wikeeps allows you to serve and store your open bottles for 20 days.
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