Why are wine fridge capacities measured in Bordeaux bottles?

It's quite rare that a wine collector specialises in only one type of wine (although not unheard of). Most wine lovers love to explore the wine world and so when they come to us looking for a wine fridge it's usual that they have an array of wines from all over the world. Even in France alone wine is packaged in a variety of different shaped bottles.

Despite this, wine fridge manufacturers, for built in wine fridges, undercounter wine fridges, integrated, freestanding wine fridges and wine fridge cabinets all list their capacity number (number of bottles that can be stored in a wine fridge) in Bordeaux shaped bottles but why and what impact does this have on the consumer?

The answer is predictably simple, as the narrowest bottle and a common bottle shape, listing your product as having the ability to cellar 200 Bordeaux style bottles makes the capacity listed as high as it can be. And as no two person's wine collections are identical, it is practical to use this number.

However, if you also enjoy collecting and drinking, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsatian wines or wines from all over the New World that are bottled in whichever shape the winemaker cares to emulate then you will need to consider how much of your collection is NOT in Bordeaux shaped bottles. If its a large percentage, then you can reduce that stated capacity of your wine fridge by as much as 35%!

How can you maximise bottle capacity in your wine fridge?

  1. Organise Efficiently:

    • Start by organising your wine fridge strategically. Group bottles of similar size and shape together to maximise space utilisation.
    • Utilise shelf dividers or wine racks to create additional layers within your fridge, allowing you to stack bottles without compromising accessibility.
    • Consider investing in adjustable shelves or modular storage systems that can be customised to accommodate various bottle sizes and shapes. The Swisscave Premium edition wine fridges come with MIX shelving where every other shelf is optimised for Bordeaux or Burgundy, EuroCave also have specialised shelving systems that can take any size bottle.
  2. Utilise Every Nook and Cranny:

    • Don't overlook the space on the door of your wine fridge. While this area may not provide ideal temperature consistency for long-term storage, it can be utilised for bottles that are meant to be consumed sooner rather than later stood up.
    • Store smaller bottles, such as half bottles or splits, in the gaps between larger bottles to make efficient use of available space.
  3. Optimise Bottle Orientation:

    • Store bottles horizontally whenever possible to keep the corks moist and prevent air from entering the bottle, which can cause oxidation.
    • If your wine fridge has multiple temperature zones, consider storing red and white wines separately to ensure optimal serving temperatures without overcrowding.
  4. Shelf Removal:

    • The shelving systems themselves take up space. If you have reinforced shelves then you could consider stacking the wine several bottles high.
  5. Opt for a Single Zone Wine Fridge:

    • The compartment panel that separates dual zone wine fridges takes up at least one row of bottles. If you have chosen your make and model opt for the single zone version to fit more bottles.
  6. Consider External Storage Options:

    • If you find yourself running out of space in your wine fridge, consider storing overflow bottles in a temperature-controlled cellar, wine cabinet, or off-site storage facility.
    • Be mindful of storage conditions, ensuring that external storage options provide the appropriate temperature and humidity levels to preserve wine quality.

Maximising the internal capacity of your wine fridge requires careful planning and organisation, but the rewards are well worth the effort. By implementing these practical tips and strategies, you can optimise space utilisation while maintaining optimal storage conditions for your beloved wine collection. Whether you're a casual wine enthusiast or a seasoned collector, unlocking the full potential of your wine fridge ensures that every bottle is stored and enjoyed to its fullest potential.

Wine Fridge Capacity Bordeaux

What shapes of wine bottles are there?

  1. Bordeaux Bottle:

    • The Bordeaux bottle, also known as the claret bottle, is perhaps the most iconic shape in the wine world.
    • Characterised by its straight sides and high shoulders, the Bordeaux bottle is designed to accommodate red wines, particularly those from Bordeaux and other regions producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.
    • Its design helps to catch sediment during pouring and allows for easy storage on wine racks.
  2. Burgundy Bottle:

    • In contrast to the Bordeaux bottle, the Burgundy bottle features sloping shoulders and a wider body and base.
    • Primarily used for Burgundy wines, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay, this bottle shape is believed to have originated in the Burgundy region of France.
    • The wider base allows sediment to settle at the bottom, making it ideal for aging delicate wines.
  3. Champagne Bottle:

    • The champagne bottle is designed to withstand the pressure of sparkling wines, with its thicker glass and deeper punt (the indentation in the base).
    • Its high, straight sides help contain the effervescence of the wine and minimise the risk of explosion during secondary fermentation.
    • Champagne bottles come in various sizes, from the standard 750ml to larger formats such as magnums and jeroboams, often used for celebrations and special occasions.
  4. Alsace Bottle:

    • Alsace wines, known for their aromatic whites like Riesling and Gewürztraminer, are typically bottled in tall, slender bottles with gently sloping shoulders.
    • This design showcases the clarity and color of the wine while also accommodating the long, tapered necks characteristic of Alsace bottles.
  5. Rhône Bottle:

    • The Rhône bottle, used for wines from the Rhône Valley in France, features broad shoulders and a tapering neck.
    • It is designed to hold both red and white wines, including Syrah, Grenache, and Viognier, reflecting the diversity of the region's wine production.
  6. Magnum and Larger Formats:

    • Beyond standard bottle sizes, wine enthusiasts often encounter larger formats such as magnums (1.5 liters), double magnums (3 liters), and even larger formats like jeroboams (4.5 liters) and imperials (6 liters).
    • These larger bottles are prized for their ability to age wine more gracefully due to the slower rate of oxidation and the enhanced potential for complex flavour development.

Whatever your collection looks like today, when buying a wine fridge be mindful of how your wine drinking and collecting habits are evolving. If you're moving away from Bordeaux and onto Burgundy consider you may need a large fridge than you think.

If you need help choosing the perfect wine fridge speak to us via Live Chat or visit us in our London store for expert advice.

Sarah newton

Author - Sarah Newton

Sarah Newton has worked in the wine industry for two decades holding senior positions at some of the UK wine industry's leading brands. The MD of Coolersomm, Sarah is WSET certified and our lead wine buyer too.