Must English and Welsh wine be sold only in standard 750 ml bottles while there are seven alternatives to still producers and four other sizes for sparkling wine? A number of vineyards took time from harvest preparation to answer whether size matters?
Reader Jennifer Banks prompted a study into bottle sizes used by the English industry with an observation that restaurants have “none available in glass size bottles.”
Wine bottle sizes must comply with the EU Packaging Directive which creates permitted sizes from 100 ml to 1,500 ml in eight nominal quantities. There are fewer sizes for sparkling wine, ranging from 125 ml to 1,500 ml.
According to the Wine Standards Board: “The UK units system is currently voluntary but, if used, should follow the Portman Group and Drinkaware guidance. This shows the total units per bottle and in specified glass sizes.”
Ultimately, producers in England will remain loyal to the 750 ml as long as that is what consumers demand and there is little pull for major volumes in non-750 ml bottles.
Here is a round-up of views:
“I have only done 75cl or 150cl [bottles]. I always assume that the cost of doing it in smaller quantities would be prohibitive.”
Simon Bladon, Jenkyn Place, Hants
“Personally speaking, I’ve never been asked for a smaller bottle from our trade or retail customers so I am guessing these requests are in the minority at present. As tastes change, who knows how the industry will innovate to meet known requirements.
“I think it comes down to economics, moving to a smaller bottle would mean the price would rise proportionately and as the vast majority of folks wanting or happy to accept 0.75l it is not something that vineyards are being pressed on.”
Paul Langham, a’Becketts, Wilts
“We are not tied to 75cl bottles but there is not a huge call for other sizes to justify a bottling run. However that’s not to say we would not do it.”
Jonathan Rogers, Wickham Vineyard, Hants
“Here at Eastcott we sell primarily direct to the consumer and no, we have never retailed in smaller sizes. In five years of selling, we have only ever had one person ask about half-bottles, so have yet to see any evidence of demand.
“Bottom Line: The simpler that we can keep our production and thus keep overheads down, the better value we can make English wine. As regards pubs, they are well used to selling by the glass at a price that’s at least as good as a half bottle might be.”
Hilary & Richard Waller, Eastcott Vinyard, Devon
Permitted sizes are shown below:
On the interval from 100 ml to 1 500 ml only the following eight nominal quantities:
ml: 100 — 187 — 250 — 375 — 500 — 750 — 1 000 — 1 500
On the interval from 125 ml to 1 500 ml only the following five nominal quantities:
ml: 125 — 200 — 375 — 750 — 1 500