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Half-Bottles of Wine


porcupine
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I don't know of any local retailers with a large selection, but Rodman's in Friendship Heights has a small selection of 1/2 bottles.

you are better off buying half bottles from auction than from a retailer as you can probably find more vintage and esoteric items, as

well as the usual from these venues.... winebid, winecommune for live, and hart davis hart, zachy's, blicker pierce for participating ones.

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I was in MacArthur Beverages yesterday and noticed a big selection of French wine in 1/2 bottles.

I have asked a handful of winemakers about this, and they all say the same thing--restaurants scoop up 90+ percent of the half bottles.

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Hi guys,

here at the store we have some half bottles either white or red or champagne but the problems for me to buy them and being able to sell them are various.

First the distributors they don't want to carry strange formats, either half bottles or magnums or double magnums because they're more difficult to sell.

Second I still have to find a half bottle that has a cost equal to the 50% of a regular bottle. I've been told that glass, cork label costs are almost the same as for a regular bottle so the distributor cannot charge half the price of a regular bottle for these.

Third a wine in a half bottle do not ages as well as in a regular bottle or better, in a larger format. So you can find half bottles of nice wines already past their peak in half the time that it would take for a regular bottle.

In addition, we sell mostly italian wines and italian producers seem not to care too much about half bottles right now. It is really hard for me to be able to offer my customers with a variety of half bottles.

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Here's my take on half bottles:

Personally, I love them when I'm dinning out or home alone. Professionally, my thinking is they can be viewed as a low risk investment for someone wary of trying a "Virginia" wine for the first time.

When I dine out, I usually go with no more than one other person, my wife. So for the two of us, half bottles are the way we like to go. Think about it. When we eat, we like a multitude of aromas, flavors and textures in our foods. It's the same with our wines and of course different wines and wine styles pair differently with different foods and cooking styles. So it's usually Champagne first, followed by a crisp aromatic white, followed by a fuller bodied white, followed by one or two reds, followed by maybe something sweet. With lot's of water, some coffee and trips to the bathroom. That's going to be 2.5 full bottles per person, not going to happen, or with half bottles the equivalent of 1.25 full bottles per person. Because the former will not happen, restaurants would actually sell more wine if their wine list included a decent selection of half bottles.

Yes, half bottles cost slightly more than half the cost of a full bottle of the same wine. But the per ml packaging costs are indeed higher. We don't use half corks, half capsules, half labels or half boxes. Only the glass is around half but the cost of the glass is not half and the time it takes to bottle half bottles is almost double and therefore more costly. The consumer is paying a slight and justified premium but receiving tremendous benefits, in my opinion.

People ask me, "What is the best way to preserve a half finished bottle of wine?". My answer is never have a half finished bottle of wine. The best way is either to finish it or have at home empty half bottles and decant into them, giving you a full half bottle for drinking the next day.

And it's not that half bottles to do not age as well as 750s or larger formats. It's that they age faster, about twice as fast, I've read. One could use half bottles as a rough guide to how your 750's are doing. I would shy away from older vintages of half bottles at wine shops or restaurants. They are still there because the consumer has not been educated to their benefits.

Just my 2 cents.

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So, which retailer has a decent selection of non-dessert half-bottles so that when I do the thing of finishing whatever bottle of wine gets opened (often, mind you, with a friend) I feel a little more energetic in the morning because it's a much smaller bottle? 

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So, which retailer has a decent selection of non-dessert half-bottles so that when I do the thing of finishing whatever bottle of wine gets opened (often, mind you, with a friend) I feel a little more energetic in the morning because it's a much smaller bottle? 

Half-bottles are made in *miniscule* portions compared to full bottles which is why they cost over half as much. Likewise, magnums which cost over double - it's a simple matter of supply and demand.

MacArthur probably has a decent selection, but your best bet is mail order - whenever I see something I like in half-bottle that's reasonably priced, I buy more than I think I'll need. Damned Tom Power bought *all* the half-bottles of Burgundy that I wanted from a certain supplier.

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So, which retailer has a decent selection of non-dessert half-bottles so that when I do the thing of finishing whatever bottle of wine gets opened (often, mind you, with a friend) I feel a little more energetic in the morning because it's a much smaller bottle? 

1. MacArthur Beverages has the biggest collection I've seen in my travels around the wine shops in DC.

2. Rodman's has some--not a lot, but more than most places.

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