Hiking Wine: Why you should support normalizing the half-bottle of wine

Lillian here, in New York. I am here to discuss the existence of “Half wine” or 375 mL bottles of wine, which is a phenomenon that should wreak havoc on the status-quo of the world and bring joy to hikers, single people living alone, semi-winos, and many, many more.

What am I really talking about, you might inquire? I am talking about the marketing and general distribution of smaller bottles of wine.

The standard wine bottle is sized at: [750 ml Standard: Common bottle size for most distributed wine.] There are many sizes for wine bottles, as some of us may have experienced:

Wine Bottle Size Chart

Wine Bottle Size Chart

While I will below discuss this, I am not here to talk about BIG bottles. Rather, I am here to laud the necessity and pitch the larger distribution of the smaller wine bottle.

A Brief Review of the Bottle

So I looked up why the 750 mL persists. This size was originally developed when wine transited to glass (rather than clay/leather/other) vessels, as the “lung-full” of a glass blowers’ capacity to blow their bottle, so to speak, was a volume between 700-800 mL. The 750mL bottle (called also the “fifth”) became the global standard when the US Government made this a regulation size in 1979, while the rest of Europe consented.

“Hiking Wine”

Have you ever wanted to have a drink (of wine) while hiking with a friend? You do not need to share an entire bottle on the trail, and nor should you. Not that a whole bottle between two is a travesty, but it is a rough job hiking around with the weight of 750 mL of wine on your back, alongside necessary water, bottle-opener, food and other allotments.

However, should we carry around a half-bottle, it would be more simple and far more feasible. Basically, I am asking to normalize Airplane wine bottles, (albeit with better quality contents):

My plan for "Hiking Wine"

My plan for “Hiking Wine”: Should include a small (365 mL bottle) of wine and an attached vessel from which to drink the wine.

I am willing for ANYONE to take this idea and run with it. Try to sell this “Hiking Wine” in the Grand Central market or elsewhere. Before I board the train for Hudson North, I could pick up my ridiculously long (but delicious) loaf of bread from Eli Zabar’s bakery at the market and a cup of coffee at Joe’s, and then grab a “Hiking Wine” from the wine store in the train shop tunnel system, board my train, and be ready to move.

IMG_4833 It will appeal to single people living alone, hikers, semi-winos, hipster, dieters, quirky people, and practical professionals, I swear…

This weekend, I went with a friend to Sleepy Hollow, a town north on the Hudson. It was a lovely place to retreat from the city, with not much going on (I hear it is right debaucherous during Halloween, though), but with sufficient manors, cemeteries, trails to keep one occupied while mulling of the efficacy of Ichabod Crane’s midnight ride from the Headless Horseman.

But the problem amidst it all, was that I wanted to enjoy a small bottle of wine when we sat down in the cemetery park without the hassle of opening a giant bottle, remembering glasses, and figuring who would carry the inevitably-heavy bottle-toting bag. Therefore, I whole-heartedly wish a business-person would imagine a half-bottle in every one of the photos above, as a means to picture how appealing split/half-bottles would be to new yorkers venturing north along the Hudson for a day-trip.

Wasting the Bottle

Apartment from the hiking wine, have you ever been at home in New York, or any other place, and are living alone? You make your dinner and open your standard 750 mL bottle of wine for the night. You plan to finish the second half of the bottle tomorrow.

Then, after work the next day, you receive a text from a friend whom you haven’t seen in a while, or your project team at work wishes to celebrate that win at work. “Sure” you say, to an invitation for one drink. But, inevitably, that one drink turns into half a dozen and before you know it, it is ten thirty in the evening and you have downed 4-6 alchoholic/celebratory drinks and maybe munched on some bar-Quesedillas. Needless to say, that half bottle at home is still half full, lonely and un-imbibed. Perhaps you could finish it the NEXT day, but more likely than not, 70% of the time, this same ritual will happen again, and before you know it, that half bottle is wasted and you tear-up as you pour down the sink the last of that delicious Malbec.

So, I am here to ask for a revolution of sorts. Let us bring in the half bottle as an “alternate” standard bottle – at least in those cities of unexpected-time-commitments and for those who wish to use wine for specific affairs.

There is actually a market for “halfwine”, wherein this site asks:

Why would one buy half-bottles? halfwine.com’s people have many reasons: Do you find a full bottle of wine too much for one sitting, but hate to waste what’s left? Do you wish for greater variety in your wine drinking, and better quality at a fair price? Are you tired of drinking wine you don’t like just because that’s what others prefer?

While I don’t understand the applicability of the last question, I guess these could be some examples why smaller bottles are worthwhile. But I have recently thought about how half-bottles would be perfect for hikers or day-trippers from the city.

Normalizing the Small Bottle

The necessary aim, however, would be to try and regularize selling small bottles in local wine shops. As my tale above shows, I am often wont to open a bottle on my own and finish the contents at home, over the course of two evenings (again, alone). However, with the shape of this city and the unexpected carnivale of socializing that transpires, it often proves difficult. You inevitably end up wasting your 10 – 20 $ bottle.

Well, in my rampage of complaints, I did look up “split” or “half” bottles’ presence in New York City. Amidst the other sites that instead showed me where to find half price bottles of wine in New York, I found 67 Wine, which appears to sell the smaller sizes. However, the problem seems to be that split bottles equal in price to regular bottles. Therefore, marketing may not have caught up to demand and thus pricing capacity for smaller wine bottles.

Shall we mull this over and then join a legion force to call for further access to half-bottles of wine in the States? Think on it.

The Giant Bottle

Giant bottles of wine go in the opposite direction, perhaps. Those that lean towards excess or impressions, or who want something more environmentally-friendly for those giant parties they throw. And that is from  where the “Big Bottle of Wine” heralds.

I have, myself, seen the giant bottle size of the 6 L (Imperiale) when my mother retired from her 27 years of work as an public elementary school teacher last year. It was quite a feat to have found a bottle as enormous as her torso and head, but more of a feat that the party guests downed the contents of the home-made Catawba/Chardonnay/Riesling blend bottle within an hour:

Giant bottle of celebratory retirement wine for my mum

Giant bottle of celebratory retirement wine for my mum

That wouldn’t be very good for hiking.

4 thoughts on “Hiking Wine: Why you should support normalizing the half-bottle of wine

  1. I think this is a fabulous idea! My very first backpacking trip ever, my boyfriend at the time brought an entire bottle of wine in his backpack,which I didn’t know about until he brought it out and we drank it on top of the mountain. It was a romantic gesture. But of course, he still had to pack the empty bottle out with him on the way back, and that is quite a bit of weight.


  2. Pingback: Ask and ye shall find (next door)! A follow-up to “Hiking Wine” | the inquisitive vintner [ + His Daughter]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s