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Wine Bottle Shapes And Sizes

Wine Bottle Shapes And Sizes

Welcome to the most comprehensive wine bottle shapes article on the internet. All wine bottles are not created equal! Their physical shape differs greatly from one another based on the type of wine they carry. Some wine bottle shapes are long and thin, others are short and fat… but don’t worry, I will not hurt their feelings by comparing their looks, because they know beauty comes from within… and it does!

Wine Bottle Shapes And Sizes

There are 12 major types of wine bottle shapes, 13 if you count those goofy bottles that winemakers come up with to attract and boost sales. Today, we will focus on the first 12 wine bottle shapes, and start with the Bordeaux bottle.

Wine Bottle Shapes

1. Bordeaux
Straight and tall stature with high shoulders, this bottle is widely used for the wine we all conveniently reference to as Bordeaux. The glass is dark green for reds, and light green or clear for whites. The Bordeaux bottle is often used as a broad term for a wide variety of grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon , Merlot, Malbec, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Semillon, Sauternes and most Meritage or Bordeaux blends. However, it isn’t always “Bordeaux”. Take Zinfandel for instance. It originated in Croatia and Italy (under different names), and migrated to the United States in the mid-19th century. Zinfandel has nothing to do the so-called Southwest region of France… at least not yet.

2. Burgundy
Classic, yet elegant, the Burgundy (Bourgogne) bottle features gently sloping shoulders and a slightly wider body than the rest. Both reds and whites use a dark green colored glass. This bottle is primarily used for Pinot Noir, Aligoté and Chardonnay. Just like Bordeaux, the Burgundy bottle is also used for wines produced in other regions of France, notably the Loire Valley. Due to its popularity, the Burgundy bottle is often stylized. Bottle designers make a bottle with a thicker glass and a fatter girth, frequently used to bottle Pinot Noir in the United States.

3. Rhône
This bottle looks a lot like the Burgundy bottle, perhaps just a little thinner and taller. The neck is marginally longer, with more angular sloping shoulders. Rhône bottles are often embossed with a coat of arms below the neck. This style is used for Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, and other grape varieties. Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes-du-Rhône, two of the most popular wines of the Rhône region, proudly use this bottle, as well as “New World” Shiraz wines produced in other countries (Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States). Generally green colored glass, this shape is primarily used for reds, while whites and roses use clear glass.

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Champagne Wine Bottle4. Champagne
Such a party animal! This olive-green bottle represents joy and happiness, and gets invited to many parties and weddings around the world. Sturdy, yet graceful, this bottle’s design is originally based on technical necessities as opposed to style. Its thick glass, gentle sloping shoulders and deep punt are quite essential to avoid a big mess! Champagne is a carbonated or “sparkling” wine, and the pressure can get as high as 80 to 90 psi (3 times the pressure inside a typical tire). Back in the early days of making Champagne, bottles used to explode during transportation. Never mind the perilous aspect of the job, it was such a waste! Keeping all that pressure inside the bottle also requires a larger and reversed tapered cork. A third of the cork will remain outside of the bottle allowing for an easy grip while opening the bottle – unless you know how to saber Champagne bottles ;) In addition to being a technical necessity, the punt is also used by the sommelier to help pour the wine, providing a grip for the thumb at the bottom of the bottle.

5. Côtes de Provence
Though mostly used for rosé, this clear glass bottle is also used for red wine. There are still remnants of traditional winemaking in the Côtes de Provence and some producers still use the regional wine bottle which has a distinctive form that is between an amphora vessel and a bowling pin. Also called a “corset” by the locals for obvious reasons, this bottle shape has been used for decades and it is not going away anytime soon.

Mosel And Alsace Wine Bottle6. Mosel & Alsace
These elegant bottles are tall and slim with a long neck, and generally made of a light green glass. Traditionally, wines from the Mosel (Germany) and Alsace (France) regions use it. It is used by wineries for several grape varieties including Riesling and Müller-Thurgau. Their wines can vary from dry to sweet (even sparkling), while “New World” winemakers tend to use this bottle for sweet wines only. In either case, label knowledge is always advised.

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The Punt Of Wine Bottles

Rhine Or Hock Wine Bottle7. Rhine
Slightly thiner than its Mosel counterpart, this German bottle (once traditionally referred to as ‘hock’) features similar characteristics: tall, slim, a long neck and very little punt. The only obvious difference is the dark brown color of the glass, which sets them apart. It is used for similar grape varieties like Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Bacchus, as well as the notorious and legendary Gewürztraminer. Riesling has a very strong presence amongst other wine wines, and it is often included in the “top three” white wine varieties together with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Chianti Wine Bottle8. Chianti
Round body, bulged bottom, and partially covered with a close-fitting straw basket. Yes, I am talking about the one-of-a-kind Chianti bottle, also called a fiasco. Chianti is a red Italian wine produced in Tuscany. Most Chianti is now bottled in more standard shaped wine bottles (Bordeaux shape), though it is not unusual to see them on the shelves of your favorite wine store. The basket is typically made of a swamp weed (or raffia), sun-dried and blanched with sulfur. The glass bottle can have a round bottom, which is much simpler to make by glass blowing. The basket provides a flat base for the glass, as well as extra protection during transportation and handling. Fiaschi can be efficiently packed for transport, with the necks of upturned bottles safely tucked into the spaces between the baskets of upright ones. The use of this iconic Chianti bottle has decreased over the years, which is a real shame, given how popular they once used to be. So grab one of those before they are completely gone, and turn it into a candleholder! You won’t be the first one ;)

Bocksbeutel Wine Bottle9. Bocksbeutel
Though its name translates to “beer bag”, this bottle is used for wine. Also known as Trollinger, the Bocksbeutel is a type of wine bottle with the form of a flattened ellipsoid, which contains exactly the same volume of wine as more traditional bottles (0.75 Liters). The short neck bottle often features an engraved emblem on the left shoulder, representing the name of the domain. This bottle is similar in shape to the field bottle (canteen), and are manufactured with a flattened shape for practical purposes; it is easier to carry around and it keeps the bottle from rolling away on uneven ground. It is commonly used for wines from the Franconia region in Germany at least since the early 18th century, but is also used for some Portuguese wines, in particular rosés, where the bottle is called cantil. The Bocksbeutel is a protected bottle shape under the European Union.

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Fun And Creative Wine Glasses

Jura Wine Bottle10. Jura
In spite of this bottle’s little recognition and popularity, I decided to give it my utmost respect by listing it amongst the rest. Featuring a light green color, the bottom half of the bottle is slightly flared, while the top half features inside curved shoulders that gently blend into the long neck. Located between Burgundy and Switzerland, Jura is a little gemstone in a sack of tiny rocks, where each sparkle is a drop of wine. Well known in the wine community, this northeast region of France produces wines from a wide range of grapes, including Savagnin, Poulsard, Trousseau, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay; all of which use this inspiring bottle shape. If you see this bottle in a store, give it a chance, and let me know what you think.

Vin Jaune Wine Bottle11. Vin Jaune
For those of you who have tried Vin Jaune before,  you’ll understand the highly unconventional shape of its bottle. Made in the Jura region of France with Savagnin grapes, Vin Jaune wine is unique and incomparable to any other wines worldwide, and so is the bottle: short, stocky and heavily built. Also called “clavelin”, this bottle is the only bottle legally authorized for Vin Jaune. It only contains 62 cl (22 oz) which is approximately what’s left of 1 liter of wine before the maturation process starts. Vin Jaune needs to mature 6 years in a barrel under a film of yeast, known as the “voile”, before being bottled. This long and lonely journey makes it one of the most valued and respected wines in the world.

Fortified Wine Bottle12. Fortified Wine
Similarly to the Bordeaux, this bottle features a straight body with high, rounded shoulders. Its most prominent attribute remains the bulged section of the neck, which prevents the sediments from being poured into the glass. By the same token, some of these bottles have a punt which is used to collect and retain those sediments towards the bottom. It is recommended to keep the bottle still while pouring, to keep their sediments undisturbed. The other distinctive aspect of this bottle is the use of a cork stopper, as opposed to the typical long cork. The extremely dark glass protects the wine from the light, and promotes better conservation. This bottle is used for fortified wines, such as Madeira, Marsala, Vermouth, and of course, Port.

Wait a minute… did we miss one?! We sure did. Let’s not forget the one-of-a-kind wine box. Fortunately, this isn’t technically a bottle, so I don’t have to talk about it on this post. Let’s move on, shall we?!

Wine Bottle Sizes

As you well know, size does NOT matter, unless you talk about wine bottles! In which case size does matter. Wine matures more slowly in larger bottles. Some of those bottles tend to have the same neck size as smaller bottles do. Therefore, the amount of air entering the bottle is the same whether the bottle is 75CL or 18L. The oxygen that gets in contact with the wine in a Melchior (18L) is 24 times smaller than that of a regular size 75CL bottle. As a result, the maturing process is much slower, giving the wine enough time to evolve and develop to a certain level of “perfection” before becoming old.

Aside from the overly scientific fact mentioned above, it is the undeniable joy and conviviality of a group of friends sharing the same experience, from the same bottle of wine.

Those are some of the reasons why there are a number of giant-sized bottles. Many of these imperial sizes are named after biblical rulers. Here is a quick chart to remind you that if you ever open a “Melchizedek”, you will need a LOT of friends ;)

Piccolo – 0.2 liter
Chopine – 0.25 liter
Fillette – 0.375 liter
Bouteille – 0.75 liter
Litre – 1 liter
Magnum – 1.5 liters
Jeroboam – 3 liters
Rehoboam – 4.5 liters
Methuselah – 6 liters
Shalmaneser – 9 liters
Balthazar – 12 liters
Nebuchadnezzar – 15 liters
Melchior – 18 liters
Solomon – 20 liters
Sovereign – 25 liters
Primat – 27 liters
Melchizedek – 30 liters

The above list is based on Burgundy and Rhône bottles. Keep in mind those sizes will vary based on the shape of the bottle. Bordeaux and Champagne bottles use a slightly different scale.

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Drappier Champagne – 30 Liter BottleRELATED ARTICLES: Sizes of wine bottles matter and that’s a known fact. Learn more from this article from Steve: Large Format Bottles.

Fun Wine LabelsBottle shapes and sizes play an important role in first impression, and so do the labels. Check out our Creative And Unusual Wine Labels and the different categories they belong to.

OTHER POPULAR POST: Learn about the various glass types and which one to use based on the wine you are serving.

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  1. Claire

    I’m looking for the name of an Amarone wine that was in a “pregnant” looking bottle. Can you tell me which wine this was? My husband and I were very fond of this in the 90’s.

    1. Hello Claire,
      I haven’t seen an Amarone wine bottle such as the one you described. Amarone is typically sold in more traditional bottle shapes like the Bordeaux style or even a thinner version of the Burgundy bottle. It could be that the wine in question was a limited release, and featured an unusual shape only to boost sales.

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  5. Ali

    Hi Wine Ponder,
    I have been looking to find an Australian Rose (possibly SA 2012-ish?) It was in a rather unusual 700 ml bottle. Quite tall, perfect clear glass cylinder, with flat top and 90 degree shoulders and a fairly long neck. It had a very deep punt and a vertical canvas/cloth label. I have tried every description online but cannot identify the type of bottle nor the Rose (which was very good indeed). The bellissima bottle is too narrow and has rounded shoulders. The bottle I seek looks like a glass pipe with a flat glass top and neck moulded to it. Appreciate any ideas you may offer.
    Regards, Ali

    1. Hi Ali,
      Unfortunately, I have never seen the bottle you’re describing. I will however ask around me to see if someone knows about it. I will also ask a friend of mine who is a sommelier. He works in a wine store in Hollywood. He might have heard about it. I will definitely get back to you as soon as I hear something. Thanks for asking us!

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  7. Y

    Sorry for disturbing and Hi Wine Ponder,
    I have been looking for types of wine bottles used in Australia. May I ask except Rhône wine bottles used in Australia, which other common types of wine bottles are using in this country too?
    Thank you.

    1. Australia’s varietals are as diverse as many other countries. Their number one grape is Syrah (actually Shiraz in Australia). For that, they use the Rhône type of bottles. They also grow Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes and these would fall into the Bordeaux style of bottles. They have some Pinot Noir which uses the Burgundy style of bottles, and a relatively small quantity of Mourvèdre (also known as Mataró), for which they use the Rhône style of bottles. In addition to these main varietals, they produce Malbec, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese, all of which belong to the Bordeaux style of bottles.

      I hope this answers your question.

      Thank you for your comment!

    1. I suppose I should have included the Bellissima Icewine bottle, too. Desert wine is often bottled and sold in those tall and thin bottles, which are quite elegant. Though they can be deceiving depending on the thickness of the glass ; ) Thank you so much for your contribution, Will.

  8. Jay

    Looking to get a price estimate on a bottle of wine I have. It’s a long neck 3 liter bottle clear with red wine in it and it has a gold seal at the very top of it. It’s missing partial label, it says stra and then tascono. The bottle is circle and has a straw basket around it. It looks really old but has no vintage date on it. I have pictures.

    1. Hello Jay,

      Based on your description, your bottle is clearly from Italy. It is most likely a Chianti of some sort. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to give you an estimate on the value of the bottle. I think it really comes down to how much anyone is willing to pay for it. However, I would recommend you call one of the K&L Wine stores. They have wine experts who are more than happy and willing to share their knowledge. They might be able to help you. I hope this helps.

      If you do find out how much this bottle is worth, please tell us. Now I’m curious ; )

      Happy holidays and thank you for visiting Wine Ponder!

  9. Christian

    Howdy Ponder!
    For 30 years or so I’ve owned an antique cevin wine bottle shaped like snail. I’ve always loved it and have only seen one like it selling online. I can’t find any reliable information on the bottle or the company in the wide ocean that is the internet. Any clues?

    1. Hi Christian and thank you for visiting Wine Ponder.

      Wine bottles come in every shapes and sizes. But of course, a certain level of standardization took place, mostly driven by government’s rules and regulations, technicality and practicality. Some winemakers persist in creating those collector items in order to stand out from the crowd and get a better chance of being recognized and remembered by the consumer market. I would not even attempt to open these bottles, and for sure I would not try the wines that they hold, but they are great curios of past marketing endeavors.

      Sadly, I don’t have the ressources to tell you where your bottle is from. All I can do is rely on the internet. After doing some research, I came up with this info that you might find useful:

      According to this article, those bottles were made in Italy as collector’s items for the Vento Wine Company Cleveland Ohio. The greatest popularity of them seems to have been in the 1970-1980s.

      Someone tried to sell a similar bottle as the one you described on eBay for $70 back in September, but it didn’t sell. He tried again a month later and sold it of $40.

      Hope this helps.


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    1. Hi Sabino,

      Gosh, those are getting harder and harder to find. However I would recommend calling one or two of your favorite wineries and ask if they would sell you one. More of them still sell them. If they don’t, they should be able to give you some info on where to go from there. Your other option would be to talk to your nearest wine store. Depending on where you’re located, you should try a K&L Wines store, or online:

      Good luck!

  12. Alain Smithee

    I was hoping that this article would list the outside dimensions of different types of bottles so that I could design a wine rack instead of providing ‘advertorial’ descriptions of the bottles and their history.

    1. That is an excellent comment, Alain. I’ll make sure to write another article with bottle sizes for each of the most popular style. In the meantime, I can tell you that your shelves should be 4 inches apart. I own two wine refrigerators. One has shelves that are 3.5 inches apart and it is too tight, especially for those Syrah and Pinot bottles with a thicker glass. Conversely, the other wine refrigerator is just fine. I hope this helps.

      Thanks for commenting, Alain. Cheers!

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    1. I wish I knew but unfortunately, I have no idea. I have not seen a Bordeaux bottle short and fat. However, I know there’s a bottle that fits your description at Trader Joe’s. It’s a Côtes Du Rhône called “Caves Du Fournalet” or “Caves Des Papes”. It’s under $10, not the best wine in the world but fairly descent. The bottle is short and wider than the average diameter. However, the neck is proportionally longer than the rest of the bottle. It kinda reminds me of the Miraval bottle, Brad & Angelina’s rosé from the Provence region. Hope this helps!

  15. Dan

    There were 2 similar red wines (different wineries), both in a dark (green, or blue glass?) Bocksbeutel type bottle.

    I thought one was called Isabella. I can’t find it, or remember the name of the other.

    Can you help me remember?

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  17. Dear Wine Ponder,

    I am trying to track down a specific Italian wine that friends and I enjoyed immensely while dining at an Italian restaurant in Denver, back in the mid 90’s.
    The shape and texture of the wine bottle set it apart from others. The bottles were triangular as apposed to round and they also had a sandblasted smooth but not clear or glossy finish.
    I’m curious to know if it is familiar and what exactly it was, if it is still produced and as enjoyable now as it was then.
    Thank you for your consideration.


    1. Hi Jack! Thank you for reaching out. Unfortunately I have not heard of such bottle. After a brief time spent scouring the internet, I did find the following bottle: “1998 Burg Layer Schlossberg – Pieroth – Riesling Spatlese Nahe – Special Troisieme Millenaire (Product of Germany)” on Etsy. That is the closest I got from your description, though the bottle appears glossy. Wish I could have helped you more. Please let me know if you do find it!

    2. Brian Priest

      In the mid-seventies I was given a crate of French wine by the French Consul in Hong Kong as we were about to sail on our maiden voyage to Australia. There was only one bottle left when we reached Darwin and this was shared with the skipper of ‘Shrimpy’, the smallest yacht to circumnavigate the world. I don’t remember the name of the wine but the bottles were a triangular shape – 3-sided. I am curious about the unusual bottle shape and which region it came from.

      1. Hey Brian! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Unfortunately, I couldn’t tell you where that particular bottle is from. In fact, I don’t believe the triangular shape belongs to any region or country. I think those unusual shapes are simply used to be different from the rest… Could be a marketing statement by the winery.

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