Wine Talk

Snooth User: Carly Wray

Thoughts on half bottles?

Original post by Carly Wray, May 4, 2010.

I'm curious: Do you order half bottles in restaurants, or ever purchase them for home consumption? I've started to notice them cropping up more frequently in my area (a wine bar just opened in my neighborhood that boasts a half-bottle option for nearly every wine on their list) -- and yet I always feel the urge to either order by the glass, or commit to the full 750 ml.

Do you find yourself wishing for a half-bottle option when you're out?


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Reply by OCKathyLovesRed, May 11, 2010.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE half bottles.  I think it's a great way for folks to enjoy a wonderful wine at home or at a restaurant without having to commit to a full bottle.  It would also give you the option, if you wanted, to have a half bottle of one wine with appetizers and salads and another wine with the entree.  Or, each person, depending on the dish they order, could order their own half bottle.  Oh, the wonderful possibilities it would allow for if only they were more readily available!  I would order half bottles or buy them constantly if that were truly an option!

Reply by Styxdvr, May 16, 2010.

How about a half bottle with a Happy Meal? Betcha they wouldn't charge for corkage!

Ok, although I've never had a Happy Meal (they won't supersize those), I do enjoy a half bottle since I'm usually the only one drinking wine at my house. I can't seem finish a whole bottle by myself. I guess I need to work on that, but in the meantime, a half bottle is just right.  

Reply by roan of leah, May 17, 2010.

I have to say I find the 1/2 bottle to be a little gem!  Frankly, besides the moral and social responsibility one has to consider when dining alone and then driving home (yes this is what cabs are for), the 1/2 bottle makes perfect sense for both an early warning/gauging system for your bigger bottles and a convient container to store any left over from said larger bottles.  They also save on the mass aspect of your pack if you are hiking in the back country or when planning a kayaking trip they offer the possibility of a greater selection for the space constraints.  Really, just a lovely little friend that has a place in the cellar along side its larger siblings.

Reply by Piccolo161, May 19, 2010.

Half bottles can be really useful on several occasions, if you're drinking alone for example but  as far as  champagne is concerned ( can't speak for other wines although I suspect the same is true ) they don't keep as well as bottles, so don't be tempted to keep half bottles for very long. They're for instant gratification!


Reply by dmcker, May 19, 2010.

Can't say I've ever really appreciated champagne splits, which are half a half-bottle in size. Seems like a horrible waste of material for only one glass-worth of bubbly. And since when does one want only one glass of champagne?

Reply by taylorsenatore, May 19, 2010.

@Carly Wray -- I almost never buy "by-the-glass" pours when I'm out-- it's too dicey on how long it's been open and it's mostly plonk anyway. I will always go for a half bottle before a glass but usually end up with a full bottle. ;) 

On a side note half bottles tend to do better in a wine bar, then a multi-course restaurant (French Laundry orders them by the boat load, some wineries will produce half bottles especially for them only) and sadly they are horrible sellers at retail. I guess people figure why by a $20 half bottle when you can get a $20 full bottle of something else!

Reply by Cathy Shore, May 23, 2010.

I prefer the 50cl size which some producers offer over here just for the restaurant trade.  It's just enough for lunchtime.  For dinner though if there are two of us we'll often order a half of white to go with the entrée and then a bottle of red for the main!

Reply by Eric Guido, May 23, 2010.

I like the idea of them but they cost more (percentage wise) than full bottles and I also enjoy putting 1/3 of a bottle away for the following day to see how it changes over a 24 hour period.

Reply by galleyho, Jan 30, 2011.

I know this is an old ass thread, but I must recant (or decant). I have found that I do like the half bottle option. I would not ever choose it for a purchase to take home but I like it for immediate consumption.  When everything is right and I want to do it now.

Reply by Andrew46, Jan 30, 2011.

From a winemaker's point of view, the problem with half bottles is that people will buy them when they want to check out a wine.  Sadly, what develops in a 375 is not the same as what developes in a 750.  So, your wines will be judged on a less than ideal sample. 

The likely cause is the greater headspace to volume of wine ratio, since the headspace is often the same on 375 as 750. 

In our early years, we used to like them for pouring samples, but the quality is not representative of what is in a full bottle.  Now I just have to take the partials home and drink them.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 30, 2011.

It's alive! The thread is reanimiated! I occasionally purchase 1/2 bottles, we have a couple babysitters we leave them for if they eat with the kids.  (Less so now that we can use teenagers and save both wine and the money that older sitters cost!) I also purchase them because my wife travels and I don't want to consume a bottle over 3-4 days, so I open a half bottle and may drink it over two.  But the main draw for a 1/2 is still at restaurants when we want a cocktail or a glass of sparkling first, or if we want to order white then switch to red mid meal.  That way, we can still drive home without either leaving wine behind or walking out with the remnants.

Reply by hhotdog, Jan 30, 2011.

my wife is not a big champagne fan so the half bottle sounds like a good idea for me...i will usually finish the 750 myself (lucky for me not so much for!).

  i think i will have another go at the half bottle to try more wines i may not of tried.  the idea of spending big $'s on a wine i'm not sure of these days is unlikely.  if i don't end up liking it then the $'s are out the window!  with the half you spend half the $ and only risk half $"s.  if it turns out well then buy big without taking all the risk!  where i go here in ct. the selection is minimal on halfs.  he tends to open something new to taste on saturdays in the 750 so that helps.  unfortunatley if i see something online that gets my attention it is hard to find in a half locally but will now ask if available to order some 350's online. i like some cab francs but what i like seems to be hit and miss and waste alot of wine with the 750.  the quest continues!!

Reply by barri0s1872, Jan 30, 2011.

i can't wait to start buying halfbottles of some back vintages for as cheap as 4.99, plus they are "serving size" lol, you don't get sucked into drinking the whole bottle if you are trying to decrease consumption or just want a nightcap. 

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