Why most wine bottles come in 750ml sizes ?

Who said that size didn’t matter? After all, why 750ml and why not 1L? What about 1500ml? Let’s talk about this two standard wine size..

Different explanations around the 750ml bottle

In 1975 the European Legislation on packaging (75/106) declared that the wine can be sold only if packed in certain measure containers, making the 750ml size the most convenient for customers and winemakers.

One of these goes back to a very practical issue dated back to the 18° century, when they discovered the importance to store the wine in glass bottles.
At this time, the glass bottles were made by glass blowers. Their pulmonary strength was obviously limited and permitted to create only bottles up to 650 750 ml size. So they decided to use the biggest one between those, the 750 ml bottle.

According to another theory 750 ml is the exact quantity of wine per 6 serving glasses (125ml each) used in “osteria”.

Others say that the 750 ml standard was a metric adaptation of the fifth (fifth of a gallon) which was standard in the US & Britain. In fact each box of wine could only contain 2 gallons and the Britishes decided to put 12 bottles per box. The result is 750 ml per bottle!

Magnum Force: Why Bigger Wine Bottles Are Better

Wine may go back many millennia to the Bronze Age, but the wine bottle we know today is only about three centuries old. It was only the development of the cork-closured cylindrical glass bottle–stacked on its side, keeping the cork airtight and wet–that permitted the evolution of age-worthy wines that improve with cellaring.

The “fifth” bottle, originally one-fifth of a gallon now rounded off metrically to 750 ml, was said to be a suitable ration for one man with dinner, back in the days when men were men and most wine was low in alcohol. One theory is that this size of bottle was the largest that early glassblowers could produce with one full breath. However, even in those early days and for very special occasions, wineries would put up their product in impressive, oversize bottles.

For reasons lost to history, most of these bottles were given the names of Biblical figures like the evil King Nebuchadnezzar and the long-lived Methuselah. The conventional names varied among the wine regions with the two standards being Champagne and Bordeaux in France. Magnums contain the same volume in both regions, 1.5 liters. Magnums of wine are efficient for larger gatherings, are aesthetically elegant, and impressive to your guests.

Magnums are the perfect size bottle for parties of as little as four and most respectable wine shops and restaurants carry a decent selection. They are inherently festive and tend to keep wine younger and fresher. Magnums of wine age better and slower in this size of bottle and taste consistently better than when matured in normal size bottles.

The proportion of exposed wine to unexposed wine decreases exponentially as the bottle size increases which means that larger bottles (like Magnums) have less exposure to the effects of oxygen, which are beneficial but eventually turn wine into vinegar. Not surprisingly, the aging process of wine in a Magnum takes around 1.5 times longer than in a 750ml bottle, one more reason to seek out a Mag over a traditional 750.

Here are some Magnums from a few places that have a good selection:

1. Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée Laurence Magnum by Domaine du Pegau 2012


This is a quintessential Châteauneuf-du-Pape made by one of the world’s greatest winemakers.

Laurence Féraud of Pegau makes some of the world’s classic Rhône wines. She is incredibly talented and her winery is now one of the most well known and prestigious in the region.

As Parker States: “Life is too short not to drink abundant quantities of Pegau” – Robert Parker

“A throwback style and proud of it, with warm chestnut and bay leaf notes taking the lead, followed quickly by worn leather and smouldering tobacco accents. The core of dark currant, warmed cherry and mulled blackberry lies in reserve for now, while the finish lets singed iron and brick dust details hold sway. Just wait for everything to pull together in the cellar. Best from 2020 through 2032.”

As we all know, wine ages better and longer in a Magnum.

2. Chianti Rufina DOCG Magnum by Selvapiana 2016

91 points / Smart Buy – Wine Spectator, Dec 2018.

“A focused style, with cherry and plum flavours accented by a smoky note. Juicy and balanced, leaving hints of earth and tobacco on the long finish. Drink now through 2033.

3. Brunello di Montalcino DOCG Magnum by La Magia 2012

If you’re a fan of Brunello di Montalcino, you are in for a treat..

Enter, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG by La Magia 2012 which scored:

  • 96 points by James Suckling, Dec 2016
  • Crowned 7th in James Suckling’s Top 25
  • Top 3 Brunello by Jancis Robinson.

We love this wine for these reasons:

  • 2012 Brunellos are much more precise and finer than the bolder and riper 2011s. The 2012 Brunello has more in common with the legendary 2010 vintage and is most like the 2004s, a harmonious and gorgeous year for Brunellos.
  • Brunello di Montalcino is so well loved and has such a broad appeal. Whether you love lots of fruit, structure, or finesse, a well made Brunello has all of these characteristics.
  • This wine has now come into its drinking wheelhouse and will drink beautifully for the next 7 – 10 years and perhaps longer.
  • The 2012 Brunello is a perfect gift and comes in its original wooden case “OWC”.

4. Viña Tondonia Rioja Reserva Magnum by Lopez de Heredia 2006

This is one of the most unique and exciting wines coming out of Spain.

This wine is made by wine world royalty.

R. Lopez de Heredia is undeniably one of the world’s greatest wineries. The wines of Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia and her family are ethereal, vibrant, and hauntingly complex. Made in the most traditional fashion, with knowledge passed down from her grandfather and without the use of modern technology this wine will live in the bottle for decades. These are hands-down the best wines made in Rioja today. Quality is never sacrificed. Corners are never cut. They even have their own cooperage.


Magnum content retrieved from: https://www.stlmag.com/dining/Magnum-Force-Why-Bigger-Wine-Bottles-Are-Better/.

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