How Many Glasses of Wine in a Bottle?

A bottle and two glasses of wine by a fire.

Introduction

Whether you're planning for a party or order by the bottle at a restaurant, knowing how many glasses of wine are in a bottle can be an essential question. If you're planning for a party, you want to be sure that each guest can have a couple of glasses of wine without the stores running out. Likewise, when you're ordering bottles of wine for a table, it's essential to know how many you'll need to leave everyone satisfied. You and ten other guests at a restaurant will drink more wine than if you were at an intimate dinner for two. With a large table, more than one bottle may be the answer. However, it's only possible to calculate correctly if you know how many glasses in a bottle. 

Like many questions, this one has a straightforward answer, which can be affected by a wide range of variables. Here, we'll share a basic explanation and then dig into some of the details that can change that answer. Read on to discover more!

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The Basic Answer

The United States Department of Agriculture defines a glass of wine as 5 ounces. This measure is equivalent to one "drink" compared to 1.5 ounces of liquor or 12 ounces of beer. The goal here is to define a standard size to make alcohol consumption comparable across different types of drinks. A typical 750-milliliter bottle of wine contains just over 25 ounces of wine. This fact means that in each .75-liter bottle, there are about five standard glasses of wine. The trick to achieving the perfect pour is to measure it or think about fractions of a bottle. Pour one-fifth of the bottle into the glass. Note that this results in a partially-filled glass. Wine poured to the brim will result in considerably more than a single serving. 

Variables

Now that the simple answer is defined, there is an opportunity to look into some details that may change the answer, depending on the circumstances. They range from pour size and bottle size to the type of wine you're drinking. These variables can drastically change the answer to the number of glasses of wine in a bottle. 

Pour Size and Inaccuracy

One significant variable when defining the answer to this question is pour size. Regardless of the type of wine being drunk, pour size can vary significantly depending on the person doing the pouring, the environment, and more. For instance, when pouring for themselves at home, people tend to help themselves to greater than 5 ounces of wine per glass. They tend to pour 7 to 9-ounce servings. On the high end, that's almost two servings of wine per glass! Additionally, it isn't easy to gauge a five-ounce pour by sight without a lot of experience, so there's likely to be some variation in pours when the person doing the pouring isn't a professional. That means that the number of "glasses" of wine per bottle can vary widely depending on the person's level of experience serving the wine. 

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Wine Bottle Size

Another critical variable in this equation is the definition of the word "bottle." When most people refer to a bottle of wine, the image they have in their head is of the 750-milliliter bottles on the shelves in the grocery store. However, the reality is that there are many wine bottle sizes beyond the standard, each containing a different number of five-ounce pours. A split, or piccolo, contains a single serving of wine. A magnum is a larger format at twice the size of a standard bottle. Therefore, it contains ten standard pours. The next size up is the Jeroboam, which contains six bottles' worth of wine, or thirty glasses. From there, it's the Methuselah (forty glasses), the Salmanazar (60 glasses), the Balthazar (80 glasses), Nebuchadnezzar (100 glasses), Solomon (120 glasses), and finally Midas (30 liters). The chances are good that you'll never run into these larger formats, although magnums aren't that uncommon. As you can see, the size of the bottle drastically changes the mathematics of the question. 

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Bottles of wine on a wine rack.

Sediment

As part of the winemaking process, yeast and other particulate matter wind up suspended in the wine. When the wine has been bottled for some time, this matter can sink to the bottom, creating a layer of sediment at the base of the bottle. While it's harmless, it's generally not a desirable addition to a glass of wine, so people tend not to pour it. That means that the fifth glass may be a fraction of a glass instead, which changes the answer yet again. In the case of wines with sediment, you will get a little over four glasses of wine per bottle. 

Type of Wine and ABV

Yet another set of elements that can affect the number of glasses in a bottle is the type of wine itself. So far, this article has assumed that the wine in question has a moderate level of alcohol in it. However, what happens when the wine in question is a dessert wine or a wine with a great deal more alcohol than average? In these cases, the recommendation is to adjust the pour size to avoid overindulgence. For instance, dessert wine should be served in 3-ounce increments, which means there are a little over eight glasses in a single bottle. 

Purpose of the Pour

Finally, pour size can vary depending on the purpose of the drink. While this article has so far dealt with standard pours of wine, the reality is that they can vary a great deal depending on the environment and intention. A pour size for a wine tasting is 60 milliliters, which means it's possible to get 12.5 glasses from a single bottle. Similarly, when ordering a flight at a restaurant, the pour size is likely to be 75 milliliters, which means the restaurant is getting ten glasses per bottle. Likewise, some eating establishments offer pours up to 250 milliliters. That's a full third of a bottle!

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Taste of wine on a barrel.

Conclusion

The quick answer using standard variables is that there are five glasses of wine in a bottle. However, there are many factors that can radically change the answer to the question. However, it's complicated answers that make things exciting!

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