Do 375ml half-bottles mature more quickly than standard 750ml bottles?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dr. Vinny,

Do 375ml half-bottles mature more quickly than standard 750ml bottles? If so, is there a formula for converting drinking window recommendations from standard to half-bottle?

—Tom

Dear Tom,

I’m a huge fan of half-bottles. I like to order them in restaurants, and I wish that more retailers carried them.

You’re correct that conventional wisdom holds that smaller bottles will mature more quickly than larger bottles. That's because the ratio of ullage (the empty space inside the bottle between the wine and the cork) to wine is largest in small bottles: The amount of air inside an unopened bottle of wine tends to be about the same regardless of the size of the bottle, so the smaller the bottle, the greater the impact that the oxygen inside will have on the wine, and oxygen is a key factor in wine development and maturation.

Wine Spectator's drink recommendations are provided for standard 750ml bottles, but these recommendations can still be useful no matter the size of the bottle in your cellar. If there’s a range of dates given, use the earlier end of the range for smaller bottles, and the later end of the range for larger bottles. If the recommendation is “drink now,” that means we don’t believe the wine will improve with any additional aging, no matter the size of the bottle.

—Dr. Vinny

Collecting Aging Wine Storage Cellars Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

What are "nodes" in reference to wine?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what a "node" is, both in the vineyard and, more …

Feb 24, 2020

For a dinner party, is it better to serve one bottle of lots of wines, or lots of bottles of a few wines?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers tips for being the designated wine supplier at a …

Feb 21, 2020

Why would a bottle of red wine bubble over like a bottle of Champagne? Was it flawed?

Wine Spectator 's expert Dr. Vinny explains how a flawed bottle of still wine can end up as …

Feb 19, 2020

Why don't Italian wines have a standard, traditional bottle shape?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny calls in the experts to explain where Italy's many bottle …

Feb 17, 2020

Can wine be made from milk?

Wine Spectator 's expert Dr. Vinny explains it is possible to make a fermented, alcoholic …

Feb 14, 2020

Is white wine susceptible to bottle shock?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains what bottle shock, or travel shock, is, and …

Feb 12, 2020
WineRatings+

WineRatings+

Xvalues

Xvalues

Restaurant Search

Restaurant Search