Written by: Tim Edison

Updated: June 7, 2023

How Many Servings Of Wine Are In A Bottle?

How Many Servings Of Wine Are In A Bottle?

When many think of wine, they think of traditional red wines in classic green bottles or crystal clear bottles full of magic, served at social dinners or during the holidays. What was once considered a drink fit for royalty has become a mainstay, a constant in the lives of many and is typically used for everything from celebrations to family meals and everything in between, and often when a bottle of wine is purchased, you notice it is usually in a green bottle. But why? What do the various wine bottle sizes and types of bottles mean for a specific wine? And how many servings of wine are in a bottle?

A Short History of Wine

Wine in a way was discovered by accident. While no one knows how wine was truly discovered, it is believed that berries picked from trees had a sweet and sugary flavor. When these berries were stored, they oxidized and broke down into a liquid that carried mind altering attributes.

From there, any berry became something that could be turned into a sweet and intoxicating liquid. With the development of civilization came the evolution of a liquid that started as an experiment and became mainstream through years of copious experimentation. Ultimately, it became a liquid that was believed synonymous with the upper-crust; kings, queens, and anyone associated with the upper crust and refinement.

There are many styles of wine out on today's current market. From light and delicate pinot grigios to locally sourced red and white blends, French blends and California blends, they all call for the right type of glass and cork.

The right type of bottle isn't just for aesthetic purposes. Many are shaped to minimize damage created by the natural elements including sun and oxygen by minimizing contact of the liquid with the cork. Some wine producers create bottles and corks that fully house their wine in the way they want to truly encompass their product; furthermore, many wine producers design bottles and corks that can lead to unique oxidization which can result in a change in the composition which change the flavor, thereby resulting in a unique taste and profile.

Dark bottles also reduce contact with light which can ruin the wine, leaving a bitter and vinegar like taste. It is fascinating to note that many wine bottle names are derived from biblical kings and many historical figures. Why this is the case, no one really knows.

Once it was discovered that glass color, bottle size and cork style can preserve wine and extend its shelf life, wine bottles began to take shape, becoming appealing canvases for winemakers and excellent tools of preservation.

There are three common wine bottle types including German-shaped bottles which are sleek and easy to store with a narrow shoulder, ideal for red wines that are not quite mature. Bordeaux-shaped bottles are far more traditional and with a darker glass, typically holding darker wines and are shaped perfectly to hold liquids that require some maturation; many Bordeaux wines do not require full maturation due to the way the vines are grown and picked. French wine bottles are high shouldered and generally hold merlot, cabernet , and white wines. Burgundy-shaped bottles are highly universal and popular for their ability to hold a variety of wines from white wine to chardonnay and are unique because they are high shoulder bottles that help create the right exposure to oxygen.

Popular Wine Bottle Sizes

Different wine bottle sizes on white background

Many regions have their own wine bottle styles due to the resulting differences in wine development. Culture and history also heavily come into play with wine bottle design. Champagne bottles are by far most unique for their large size and theatrical shape; they are generally thicker and stronger due to their bubbly composition. Often, white and rosé wines are housed in clear glass bottles as white wines and rosés are meant to be consumed fairly quickly

There are many unique sized wine bottles out there with even more unique names. They are as follows:

  • Piccolo: This size is typically used for single servings of champagne and is made with a thick glass due to the bubbly inside being under constant pressure. These bottles are generally reserved for single sized use or as highly enjoyed party favors.
  • Demi: These bottles or half bottles hold one half of the standard 750ml size or two and a half glasses of wine. These petite bottles offer an ideal way to try something new and are commonly found in restaurants as a way to control expenditure and experimentation.
  • Standard bottle: This size bottle contains 750ml of wine, and one bottle holds roughly 4-6 glasses of wine depending on the consumer. This is the most common size found in any liquor or wine specialty store worldwide.
  • Magnum bottle: This size contains 1.5 liters and is the equivalent of two standard wine bottles. Some wine producers use the magnum bottle to sell large volumes of wine and are generally created for quantity over quality. They are ideal for holding large amounts of liquid but not ideal for preservation and do not generally store well.
  • Double magnum bottle: This size contains 3.0 liters of liquid and is the equivalent to two magnum bottles or four standard 750ml bottles. These bottles are often used for champagne or specialty wines.
  • Jeroboam bottle: This size is equivalent to six standard 750ml bottles. A vast amount of liquid. Where did the name Jeroboam come from? Jeroboam I was the first king of the northern kingdom of Israel to put an end to the United Monarchy. Such a large feat seems to be rather fitting for such a large bottle of wine. 
  • Imperial wine bottle: This size is equivalent to eight standard 750ml bottles and two double magnums and equal 6.0 liters. These bottles derived their name from the grandeur of their size and eluded to the grandeur of the French empire. This size is not common, and bottles of this stature are often hand filled and expensive.
  • Salmanazar bottle: These bottles are equivalent to two standard 750ml bottles at 9.0 liters Balthazar bottles generally hold 16 bottles of wine which can equal 80 glasses at one time. This is not a common wine bottle size and is not used in everyday wine production.
  • Nebuchadnezzar bottle: This bottle size generally hold 20 bottles of wine or the equivalent of 100 glasses. This bottle is rather uncommon and is typically used for only specialty batches of wines which are often expensive and uncommon.
  • Melchior bottle: This bottle size holds the equivalent of 24 bottles of wine and is named for the oldest biblical magi Saint Melchior, the oldest member of the Magi. At a whopping 100 pounds, this bottle size is not for the faint of heart or practical.
  • Wine box: This wine typically contains 3 liters of wine or the equivalent of two magnum bottles. Box wine has seen a resurgence in popularity as of late. Many find it to be a convenient way to offer a glass of wine to multiple guests at a party and more importantly, boxes have been discovered to be an excellent choice for preserving wine as they keep oxidization to a minimum and keep virtually all light off the wine.

How Many Servings of Wine Are in A Bottle?

No matter the size of the bottle, serving sizes can matter. The pour is dependent on the situation really. If there is a wine tasting happening, you can average about 12 wine tasting-sized portions per bottle.

For casual wine drinking at home, many have a generous pour which can result in roughly 4 glasses per bottle. Bars and restaurants follow a different pour pattern. Many establishments feature three different wine bottle sizes including 125ml, 175ml, and 250ml size servings. Many bars have their own standards for pour sizes.

There are often pour sizes that suit various social occasions. In the case of a dinner party, it is appropriate to offer three glasses of wine per person which translates to two bottles of red or white wine per three people.

If champagne and sparkling wines are served, a bottle holding 125ml is usually served. The standard pour size can vary based on the pour. Rose wine has a unique bottle size of 60ml to 125ml and can average anywhere between 4 and 7 glasses total. In the end, pour sizes are unique to the setting and are not always accurate.

Final Thoughts

Whether you want to crack open a standard bottle of wine at a party or keep demi bottles on hand for those special occasions, the history of wine and the vessel it is carried in can truly run deep. Wine bottle sizes are available to suit every need and there are hundreds of varieties to suit every taste and palate.

The next time you pick up a bottle of wine, remember, there was a process that helped you obtain a sweet bottle of chardonnay or dark red wine. Every vine grower has a reason for the bottle they use. Beyond aesthetics, a bottle can truly define how a wine tastes, looks, feels and pours.


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About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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