A 375 mL bottle is commonly referred to as a “half bottle” or “demi bottle” in the wine and spirits industry. This size contains 12.5 fluid ounces or approximately 2/3 of a standard 750 mL wine bottle. The 375 mL format is popular for smaller production wines, dessert wines, fortified and distilled spirits like cognac or whisky where a full bottle may be too much for one person to consume in a reasonable timeframe.
The common terms used for a 375 mL bottle are:
- Half bottle
- Demi bottle
- 375 mL bottle
Why is it Called a Half Bottle?
A 375 mL bottle contains exactly half the volume of a standard 750 mL wine bottle. Since 750 mL is by far the most common size for wine globally, referring to 375 mL as a “half bottle” is very intuitive.
The 750 mL wine bottle contains 25.4 ounces of liquid. Cut that in half gives you 12.7 ounces or 375 mL for a half bottle.
Quick Comparison of 375 mL and 750 mL
|Standard 750 mL||25.4 oz|
|Half Bottle 375 mL||12.7 oz|
As you can see, the half bottle contains exactly half the volume of a standard 750 mL bottle.
Why is it Called a Demi Bottle?
“Demi” is French for “half” so demi bottle is just another way to say half bottle. Since French wines like Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne pioneered the 375 mL size, it became known as a “demi” in the wine trade.
Demi Bottle Dimensions
Here are the typical dimensions for a 375 mL demi bottle:
- Height: 12 inches
- Diameter: 3 inches
- Shoulder Height: 3.5 inches
This makes a demi bottle about 2 inches shorter and half an inch thinner than a regular 750 mL bottle. The profile is very recognizable on a wine rack.
When are 375 mL Bottles Used?
Here are some of the most common uses for a 375 mL half bottle or demi bottle:
Smaller Production Wines
Boutique wineries will use 375mL bottles for wines that have very limited production. This allows them to stretch the wine further and lets more customers get a chance to try it.
Sweet wines like Port, Sauternes and ice wine are often bottled in 375mL formats. The smaller volume is well-suited to the higher sugar concentration and more potent profile of these wines.
Fortified wines like sherry, Madeira and marsala are commonly packaged in half bottles. The higher alcohol levels mean a little bit goes a long way.
High end spirits like Cognac, Scotch and craft gins tend to offer 375mL bottles in addition to 750mL. This caters to buyers who want to sample an expensive bottle without paying for 750mL.
Champagne and Sparkling
Bubbly like Champagne and Prosecco will often have a demi option since the carbonation can go flat after opening. The smaller format allows finishing the bottle while the wine is still lively and fresh.
Many restaurants offer 375mL “half bottles” of wine to give customers greater choice of wines by the glass. They can preserve unused wine for another night while offering a wider by-the-glass selection.
Benefits of 375 mL Bottles
Here are some of the key advantages of using 375 mL bottles:
Better Portion Control
The smaller 375 mL size can help moderate consumption of wines with higher alcohol and sugar levels.
Restaurants can offer customers a broader by-the-glass selection when using half bottle formats.
Once opened, oxygen starts degrading wine over time. The smaller volume allows the bottle to be consumed before this becomes noticeable.
More Affordable Luxury
The 375 mL option lets you sample expensive wines and spirits at a more approachable price point.
Improved Cash Flow
Smaller wineries can generate cash flow with limited production wines while they wait for the next vintage.
Lower Freight Costs
Weighing less than 750mL, 375mL bottles can reduce shipping expenses, especially important for overseas wineries.
Popular 375 mL Wine and Spirit Bottles
Here are some examples of popular half bottle or demi bottle formats:
Champagne is commonly sold in 375mL in addition to standard 750mL bottles. Major brands like Moet, Veuve Clicquot, and Dom Perignon offer a demi size.
The sweet white dessert wines of Sauternes are frequently packaged in 375mL bottles. Top producers like Chateau d’Yquem, Guiraud, and Suduiraut offer half bottles.
Port comes in 375mL as well as 750mL with brands like Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca, and Graham’s all producing demi formats.
Cognac houses offer 375mL bottles on their VS, VSOP and XO expressions. Brands include Remy Martin, Courvoisier, Martell and Hennessy.
Many Scotch producers offer 375mL versions of their 12, 15 and 18 year old malts. Distilleries like Glenlivet, Macallan and Glenfiddich all have demi options.
Boutique and small batch gins have adopted the 375mL “half bottle” to give consumers a chance to sample unique expressions.
The 375 mL Bottle in History
Some key historical uses and facts about the 375 mL bottle size:
- Believed to Originate in France – home to wines bottled in 375mL including Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, and Sauternes
- Adopted by Port Houses in Portugal – Used for fine vintage Ports
- Popular with Sherry Bodegas – Most sherry is bottled in 375mL as well as 750mL
- Favored by Hip Flasks – Half bottles fit better in pockets and bags
- Referred to as a “Split” – Name reflects splitting 750mL into smaller portions
- Called a “Penny Nip” – Reflects the small, nip-sized pour it contains
As you can see, the 375mL bottle has a long history intertwined with Europe’s finest wine and spirit traditions. The “half bottle” or “demi” fills an important niche, allowing proper aging and portion control.
375 mL Sizes For Other Containers
While 375 mL is strongly associated with wine and spirits, it’s also a common size for other containers including:
Some craft brewers offer 375mL bottles in addition to regular 12oz bottles. Belgian styles like lambics commonly come in 375mL.
In Japan, sake is often bottled in 375mL containers. This represents 1/10th the volume of a traditional 1800mL sake bottle.
Soft Drink Mini Cans
Soft drinks like Coke and Sprite offer 375mL “mini” cans, usually in packs as a single-serve option.
Metric Equivalents to 375 mL
Here are some other metric measurements equal to 375 mL:
- 0.375 Liters
- 12.68 US Fluid Ounces
- 13.18 Imperial Fluid Ounces
- 12.7 US Cups
Converting Between 375mL and 750mL Bottles
It’s easy to convert between 375mL and 750mL bottles using simple math:
- 2 x 375mL bottles = 1 x 750mL bottle
- 1 x 750mL bottle = 2 x 375mL bottles
So a full 750mL bottle contains the equivalent volume of two 375mL bottles. Or you can split a 750 into two halves of 375mL.
Handy Conversion Trick
An easy way to convert in your head:
- 375mL is half of 750mL
- 750mL is double 375mL
Interesting Facts About 375 mL
- A 375mL bottle holds about 1.5 glasses of wine per the USDA standard wine pour of 5oz.
- 375mL represents 3/8 of a liter. Or 43% of a 750mL bottle.
- The half bottle size dates back hundreds of years to the beginnings of commercial wine and spirit bottling.
- 375mL bottles hold 12.7 fluid ounces – about the same as a can of soda.
- Champagne 375mL bottles contain the equivalent of 2 glasses of bubbly.
Common Questions About 375 mL Bottles
Why don’t more wines come in 375 mL?
The 750mL bottle is standardized worldwide, streamlining bottling lines and packaging. 375mL is popular for certain wines but adds complexity for producers. Some wineries don’t want to bother with the extra SKUs and inventory management of different bottle formats.
Does 375mL mean lower quality?
Not at all – 375mL is used for both entry-level and ultra-premium wines and spirits. It refers only to bottle volume, not what’s inside.
Is a 375mL bottle half the price of a 750mL bottle?
Roughly yes – but not always. Pricing doesn’t scale linearly. The smaller bottle is typically 40-60% the cost of a 750mL. Higher production costs for smaller bottles can narrow the price difference.
Can you buy 375mL wine bottles for home bottling?
Yes, 375mL bottles can be purchased for home wine bottling projects. However, availability is lower than 750mL bottles since commercial demand is smaller. Expect to pay a bit more per bottle compared to 750mL.
Are 375mL bottles only used for wine and spirits?
No. While strongly associated with wine and spirits, 375mL bottles are also used for sake, craft beer, mini soft drink cans and other beverages. However, wine and spirits account for the vast majority of 375mL formats.
In summary, the 375mL bottle goes by several common names including:
- Half bottle – Named for being half the size of a 750mL standard bottle
- Demi bottle – From the French demi meaning half
- 375mL bottle – Identifies the exact volume in milliliters
This popular “half” size strikes the perfect balance for wines and spirits where 750mL is too much but 375mL is just right. From champagne and sherry, to ports and cognacs, the 375mL format has carved out an important niche in wine and spirits enjoyment and collecting.