Once a rarity, they now stand hand and shoulders above the 750ml—here’s why (plus our picks).

one liter wine bottle illustration

Hana Bae

Only a few years ago the liter-sized bottle of wine was a rarity in the wine world: squat and broad shouldered, containing just a glass or two more than a standard 750 ml bottle with none of the awkward heft and self importance of a magnum and all that it connotes.

You’d see them in the cold case of smart wine shops, often containing crisp grüner veltliner, sometimes sealed with a crown cap like a big bottle of beer but mostly topped with a stelvin-style screw cap—all the better for quick access, quick resealing, and, blissfully, leak free storage on its side in the fridge.

Those features make it stand head and shoulders above the 750ml with its elaborate corking systems (fake or natural). As lovely and transformative as that ritual is, it’s, well, dated. Do we really need to peel that foil off, pull a corkscrew or sommeliers knife out of the drawer, twist, and lever, and wrestle out a plug on a Tuesday night, when ritual is the last thing we need in times requiring focus and a fast glass of wine. The liter bottle of wine never requires you to work for it. It’s sizable enough to slake a solo drinker’s thirst for three or four days. Leftover wine is good wine.

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The size is also sociable. Should you be invited to a socially distanced outdoor party, showing up with a liter says: Open this now. Now is not the time to stash this in your cellar. We’re here to crack the seal and seize the day. Similarly if you’re hosting folks in your backyard, plunking down a liter on each table is equally convivial and generous. In a year when we’re worried about having less ( job security, clean air, health, social justice), it’s nice to know that there’s a bottle that’s all about having just a little bit more.

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This Story Came From the 2020 Wine Issue—Read It Here!

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