Wine Bottle Sizes
As one begins to build and design a wine cellar, one thing is often overlooked, amusingly…the wine bottles. Wine bottles come in many sizes and shapes: The 750 ml is your most common, but there are splits which are 1/4 the size of the normal, Magnums which are equal to 2 normal bottles, Jeroboams which are equal to 4 bottles, and Methuselahs (everyone’s favorite) which are equal to 8 bottles. So you can see how important it is to really think about what type of bottles you will plan to store.
Bordeaux wines from France have the normal 750ml appearance, and New World wines based on Bordeaux grape varieties do as well. Red wines based on Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot usually come in dark green Bordeaux bottles. White wines based on Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and dessert wines like Sauternes come in clear or light-green Bordeaux bottles. Italian wines like Chianti or Californian wines like Zinfandel may also use this bottle shape. What’s good about these wine bottles is they’re easy to store in a wine rack. You don’t need to use bulk storage and can therefore maximize storage capacity, which can be critical if you have a small storage space like a wine refrigerator or cabinet.
Burgundy wine bottles are elegant, slope-shouldered, dark-green, with a wide body. Traditional Burgundy grape varieties are Pinot Noir (red) and Chardonnay (white). New World producers of these grape varieties also use this same bottle shape. Other French wine-producing regions use a similar bottle, like the Loire Valley and the Rhone (grape variety – Syrah). However, the Rhone bottle is not quite as wide and the slope is more severe than a Burgundy bottle. In general, Bordeaux bottles are 3 inches in diameter, while Burgundy bottles are 3.5. Since most wine racks are designed for the former, Burgundy wine bottles can cause a lot of storage problems. If this is your wine preference consider the space of your wine cellar.
Champagne wine bottles, Turley, and Magnums can be very similar in appearance to Burgundy bottles. Like Burgundy bottles they are also 3.5 inches in diameter or more, but they are much thicker and heavier bottles, with big indentations in the bottom of the bottle. These bottles are designed to withstand 90 pounds per square inch of pressure, which is three times the pressure in a typical car tire. Champagne wine bottles have storage problems very similar to Burgundy bottles and the solutions are the same (either adding large format wine racks or using diamond bins or case bins). Again, consider your wine cellar space.
Always keep your bottles stored in wine racks that will keep your corks moist. Store your wines in a room which has a stable and consistent temperature and humidity level (70%), little to no vibrations, and obviously no odors (including stains, wood species, and even paint finishes).
Design is very important to each wine cellar but one should not overlook function as well. With the proper wine cellar design, you should be able to achieve your dream design with affordability and functionality as well.