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4 Storage Tips for Wine Bottles of Different Sizes

As a wine enthusiast, you may collect many different bottle types. Don’t be discouraged by the unique bottle shapes because of lack of storage. There are a number of storage solutions to help your collection age properly.

Keep these pointers in mind the next time you choose a unique bottle shape.

Conventional Bottles

When you think of a standard wine bottle, you’re likely to picture typical reds and whites like Bordeaux and Merlot, or Sauvignon Blanc. These types of bottles are high-shouldered, with straight sides. They’re mainly uniform in shape and size from bottle to bottle—about 3” in diameter—and fit most wine racks.

Storage Tip: Standard bottles store well in a wine rack or in a wine refrigerator, depending on if it’s a red or white variety.

Wide Bottles

Wider bottles are also common for everyday wines, and usually used for burgundy wines. These include varieties such as Pinot Noir or Chardonnay. Wide-bodied bottles have sloped shoulders compared to the standard bottle, and are much wider at the bottle’s bottom. Depending on the region of France a particular wine comes from, the bottle can be not quite as sloped, or more severely sloped. They’re usually 3.5” in diameter.

Storage Tip: Typical wine racks are made for storing standard bottles. Try a custom rack made to hold any size bottle, or a specialized wine cooler.

Champagne Bottles

With about a 3.5” diameter, champagne wine bottles are similar to wide-bodied bottles, but they are thicker, heavier and under much more pressure. Because of their size and weight, it is difficult to store champagne bottles on your regular, everyday wine rack.

Storage Tip: The contained pressure makes proper storage crucial for these types of bottles. To accommodate and chill bottles of this proportion, you’d have to rearrange the racks in your wine cooler or refrigerator.

Large-Format and Tall Bottles

Tall bottles look similar to an upside-down champagne flute, with long, slender bodies and necks. Typically, Riesling comes in these lengthy bottles. In addition, many wineries make extra-large bottles of wine to showcase vintages, or for celebrations or commemoration. For example, a “magnum” is essentially a double-bottle, or 1.5 litres.

Storage Tip: While they are beautiful in shape and size, these special bottles can be difficult to store. Double up on wine racks to make them deeper to accommodate length. Choose other interior spaces with a relative temperature and humidity level.

Wine collectors, enthusiasts and connoisseurs must be able to effectively store all of their bottles for proper aging, which is especially important for bottles of uncommon dimensions and size. Next time you pick up a unique bottle to add to your collection, consider your storage options for these sometimes-problematic bottles to maintain its freshness and taste.

Storage tips by: Norm Kotoch, Jr., Wine Storage