How much does a wine bottle weigh? How much should a wine bottle weigh?
Apparently it depends on who you ask.
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There’s a surprisingly wide variation in size among the glass bottles that hold virtually all fine wines, setting aside those sold in bag-in-box format or, rarely, in cans.
The average empty 750-ml wine bottle (the modern metric version of the old-school fifth-gallon jug) weighs about 500 grams, a little under 18 ounces or a bit over one pound. But bottles on the market vary from as light as 300 grams (about 10.6 ounces) to mearly a kilogram (well over two pounds!)
At that hefty end of the scale, the bottle weighs substantially more than the wine it contains. Bottles this heavy are largely reserved for sparkling wines, which exert considerable pressure inside the bottle and need a sturdy container for safety. Also, to be frank, some of the most ostentatious trophy wines use heavy bottles to show their, well, gravitas.
Mark Joseph Carter, the amiable wine maker turned bourbon maker who moved to Louisville recently to translate his success in the Napa vineyards to Kentucky’s native nectar, told me about that in a recent interview, when he handed me a bottle of his Carter Cellars 2019 Hossfeld Coliseum Napa Valley Red Blend. The bottle was so heavy that I almost dropped it, and the punt was so deep that I almost lost my thumb in there.
“You have to do that,” Carter said with a grin. “People expect it.” Carter, a native of Eureka, California and host of the highly regarded Carter House Inns there, told me that got into the wine business around 20 years ago. Working with respected wine maker Nils Venge, he sourced grapes from top Napa Vineyards to blend a rich, strong, double-oaked and barrel-aged Carter Cellars wine that he intentionally crafted to seek wine critic Robert Parker’s 100-point rating. He got it, and that sent Carter Cellars wines into the popularity and price stratosphere.
Then he came to Kentucky, where both his Kentucky Owl brand (later sold to Stoli Group USA) and Old Carter whiskey, also intentionally heavily oaked, quickly commanded trophy prices too. That’s another story, though. We’re here to talk about wine bottles today.
While Carter and other high-end wine makers may see heavy bottles as a selling point, there’s a growing movement in the wine industry toward making bottles light and lean. It’s all about carbon, emissions, and an effort to keep wine “green,” the industry publication SevenFifty Daily reported in its July 18, 2022 issue.
“With governments now mandating climate goals for nations and businesses,” journalist Betsy Andrews wrote, “suppliers and third-party entrepreneurs are working on new technologies and products to help make glass more sustainable. They’re not only lightening the vessel; they’re overhauling the furnaces, the material’s composition, and the infrastructures to create a glass bottle industry that can make it to net zero.”
“When it comes to packaging wine,” Andrews wrote, “glass is a miracle and a curse. As its manufacturers will tell you, it’s sturdy, which enables shelf life; it’s inert, so it doesn’t react with the liquid to create off tastes; it doesn’t have the health risks or pollutant problems of plastic; and it can be washed and reused multiple times. It is completely and endlessly recyclable.
“But glass has downsides, admits James V. Nordmeyer, the vice president of global sustainability for the glass producer O-I: ‘It’s heavier, and it is energy intensive.’ In a world in need of emissions reductions, therein lies the rub. As the wine industry struggles to shrink its carbon footprint, producers have discovered that more than half their greenhouse gasses are due to the shipping and manufacture of their glass bottles.”
I commend the entire article to your attention. It’s a good long read, and I think you’ll enjoy it. And while you’re there, I suggest that you bookmark SevenFifty Daily’s Wine Articles page too. It’s a good way to keep up with the world of wine with well written articles from an industry perspective.
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Today’s Tasting Report
Bodegas Terras Gauda 2020 Abadía de San Campio Rías Baixas Albariño ($18.99)
Made from 100% Albariño grapes, Abadía de San Campio Albariño shows a clear bright straw color with a golden hue. Appealing apple scents at first open up with time in the glass to pineapple and stone fruit. Fresh and bright on the palate, its white-fruit flavors add distinct citrus notes, tartly acidic lemon and lime, mouth-filling and tart, with a subliminal prickly hint of carbonation in its long finish. 12.5% alcohol. U.S. importer: Heritage Collection, Trinchero Family Estates, St. Helena, Calif. (July 30, 2022)
FOOD MATCH: The winery suggests pairing this wine with shellfish, oysters, clam and crab, or with spicy Asian cuisine. We enoyed it with bucatini with blue and yellow oyster mushrooms sauteed in garlicky butter and oil and finished with Pecorino Romano cheese.
WHEN TO DRINK: Its freshness is a virtue. I’d stick with fairly recent vintages and wouldn’t try to cellar it.
It’s a good value at Wine-Searcher.com’s $18 average U.S. retail. Some vendors offer it for a few dollars less.
Here’s a winery fact sheet in English on the 2020 Abadía San Campio Albariño.
The winery’s Facebook page (in Spanish) is very active, with new posts and photos almost daily.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Abadía de San Campio Albariño on Wine-Searcher.com.
Learn more about the Albariño grape and find more wines and vendors at this Wine-Searcher link.
Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find listings for dozens of other wines from Spain’s Rías Baixas region.
Wine Focus August 2022:
Albariño and Pinot Noir
This year we’ve been basing our Wine Focus topics on the day of the year that many wine varietal organizations and regional trade groups choose to celebrate their favored wine. This month, Albariño Day was August 1, and Pinot Noir Day is coming up on August 18. Pinot Noir is popular all year, so there’s no reason not to grab a bottle this month. Albariñ isn’t so well known, but this white grape from Western Spain and, as Albarinho, across the border in Portugal, is well worth your attention.
Bring your questions and comments and bring your notes on either wine, and join the conversation in Albariño and Pinot Noir month, August 2022!
Wine-Searcher.com is the place to go online if you want to find where to buy a particular wine that interests you. What’s more, Wine-Searcher.com offers so much more. It’s well worth a visit just to discover its many features, including its popular list of the world’s Top 10 Best Value Wines.
Good wines we’ve tried under $10.99!
Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10.99 or less that I’ve told you about in recent years. In some cases the prices may have risen over the $10.99 mark since I reviewed them, but they should still be excellent bargains. Please tell us about your favorites!
- Laroque Cité de Carcassonne
- Famille Perrin 2019 “La Vielle Ferme” Rouge ($7.99)
- Querceto 2019 Chianti ($10.99)
- Porto Kopke Fine Ruby and Tawny Port ($9.99/375ml)
- La Fiera 2016 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($8.99)
- La Vieille Ferme Vin de France Rosé ($8.99)
- La Fiera Montepulciano d’Abruzzo ($8.99)
- Laroque Cité de Carcassonne Cabernet Franc ($9.99)
- Domaine de Pouy 2016 Côtes de Gascogne ($7.99)
- Alamos Mendoza Malbec ($9.99)
- Caposaldo Chianti ($8.99)
- d’Arenberg McLaren Vale “The Stump Jump” ($9.99)
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