We at The Wine Wankers do seem to have a preoccupation with wine bottle sizes and packaging. We have rattled on about the benefits of magnums (see Neal’s article here) and cask wine (see Drew’s article here and Neal’s article here) and now half bottles. Not sure the genesis of this fascination, perhaps a psychologist out there reading this can help. They say people uncomfortable with their package tend to bang on about it more, hmm.
We have recently observed a proliferation of half sized bottles at our local bottle shops, and we were intrigued as to why. A lot of wineries do half sized bottles (375 ml) but we largely tend to ignore them for their larger brethren, the 750ml. When was the last time you rocked up to a dinner party with a half bottle of wine? Not sure the host would be too impressed; that said we do have some friends that would gladly exploit this loophole if they were aware of the half bottle (are you reading this Pat?).
Anyway we thought we would speak to the experts at our local bottle shop, and crack open a few little beauties to see whether we could see ourselves adopting this hitherto disregarded bottle size. The Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop (in Sydney, Australia), as well as having an amazing range of wine, have a section of their business that specialises in this format. These guys are an independent small business that really demonstrate a passion for wine. Who better to ask to enlighten us on the benefits of the half bottle.
Righto 10 reasons a half bottle is better;
- You can open a couple of bottles and compare them side to side, whereas you might be reluctant to do this with a 750ml if you could not finish them both. No one wants to pour stale wine down the sink the next morning.
- If you are single/living alone/unsociable you can open a bottle and have a couple of glasses with no wastage/spoilage.
- The wine matures more quickly and thus allows you to have a sneak preview of what a full bottle of wine will taste like in a few years. Maturation of a half bottle is accelerated due to the fact that the oxygen level in the bottle will have a stronger effect on a smaller amount of wine.
- A couple of glasses of a premium wine might rock your world more than 4-5 glasses of a lesser wine. Drink less, drink better.
- For couples it’s great for a midweek glass each with dinner if you don’t want to commit to a 750ml.
- You can drink good stuff for less. You might be reluctant to spring for that lovely bottle of Burgundy, but half the amount might fit the budget.
- Half bottles can be a way of controlling your drinking. There are many of us who find themselves unwittingly polishing of half a bottle, or more, of wine every night. If you’re buying half bottles it becomes much harder to do that.
- Half bottles are awesome for gifts, hampers, parties, functions, weddings, restaurants, you name it! There are so many situations where replacing a full bottle with a half bottle would be of benefit.
- They take up less room in your cellar/wine fridge. This allows you more room for variety, and we all love variety.
- You could, theoretically, drink straight from the bottle. If you have been invited to a bbq and your tastes don’t lean to beer/cider, you can now feel part of the crowd and crack a half bottle. Very refined. Maybe even a straw?
To explore the virtues of the half bottle we had a Wine Wanker tasting to see whether we could embrace the format. In truth we really enjoyed it, there were four of us and a half bottle was the perfect size to pour out four tasting size glasses. It allowed us to taste a wider variety of wine without throwing anything out.
Give it a go, you too might be a convert.
Author: Neal (The Wine Wankers)
Contact info: Bellevue Hill Bottle Shop, 100A Bellevie Hill Road, Bellevue Hill, 2023. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Web http://www.halfbottles.com.au
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