750ml vs. magnum

Why are the prices of magnums more than double that of a single 750? Is there truly an advantage to buying a magnum of something you enjoy over two 750’s?

the only reason I have been told by winemakers is that the cost of the actual glass is more than double and the cost associated with bottling are a bit more than double.

Unfortunately, it didn’t always used to be this way.

I have really only seen this phenomenon of mags being more than double to cost over the last 5 years or so. It used to be they were always priced exactly double of the 750 price. But no more.

Too bad, I prefer to buy everything in Mags.

Definitely a cost issue.

The glass costs more proportionally for a Magnum; 750 ml bottles make up the vast majority of wine bottles and that volume gives manufacturers economies of scale which they can pass on, in part, to Wineries. Likewise, Labels.

Bottling Magnums is often a manual process while 750’s are easily done on standard bottling equipment and/or Mobile Bottling services.

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Interesting. Thank you for the responses. Some of the markups over two 750’s seems a bit much for the bottle. Really need to think this through.


Thanks again.

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Premiums on mags are decades old and not recent (at least on wines where the price has ANY relation to the actual costs). With sparkling wines the glass has to be THICKER as bottles get bigger and the pressure increases as a SQUARE of the volume increase (Bohrs law?).

Ditto half bottles because a case of 375s has twice as many labels, corks and capsules and at least 25% more glass…

Not even close.

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Makes sense that Champagne bottles need to be thicker. While the pressure is probably similar in the bottle (it’s the same concentration of CO2, after all, not higher), the total forces on the glass are higher (but not the cork, assuming it’s the same size as a 750). So you’d expect the glass needs to be a little thicker to withstand this, if that’s a concern (I don’t even know).

But if halves require twice as many labels/capsules/corks, why isn’t the price cheaper for mags, which require half as many of those items? :wink:

I think the right answer is that the glass is a bit more expensive (not made in nearly the volumes of 750); and most important, most wineries have to reset bottling lines to bottle a small number of mags, which takes extra time to setup. I can understand a small premium on pricing for a mag over a 750.

Also if you intend on keeping the wine for a long time, wine in magnums last longer than 750ml bottles. (not an actual cost per se but maybe the reseller is factoring this in).

Mags are more expensive because they can be. It is market based pricing, not cost based. There will always be a group of people willing to pay more for what seems like a more “prized” possession.

And there is something special about putting a magnum on the table, don’t we all generally bring out the magnums when we have dinner guests (nothing to do with the fact that a magnum is rather a lot for two to drink with dinner alone [drinkers.gif] )

All about that glass bottle. When you get past magnum sizes the cost of the bottle goes way up. IIRC, a Douro wine producer told me the cost of a 6L bottle was about 200-ish Euros, just for the empty bottle [wow.gif]

Just did a Bing search. First wholesale supplier I came across charges just about the same for 750ml and 1.5 liter bottles. So there might be cases where the bottle is more, but here is one where that certainly isn’t the case. See the link and check for yourself. I still think the pricing is market based and not cost based.

http://www.shorecontainer.com/winebottles.aspx

And then look at the cost of Champagne bottles compared to regular wine bottles on that site. You’ll see they are vastly more expensive. The bigger you go, the more glass there is and that costs more. The bigger sizes also are usually hand made, as they don’t mass produce them. That also drives up the costs. Once you leave 1.5L size prices start going up fast.

I don’t buy the glass argument - there are many, many products sold in glass bottles for just a few bucks at the grocery store. If glass was really that expensive, you wouldn’t be buying some knockoff orange soda in it for $.75 a bottle. Granted a magnum is bigger than a soda bottle, but the basic process is the same and only the incremental costs of the materials are different.

I also don’t buy the economies of scale argument either - plenty of magnums being made and I’d venture to guess there are far less varieties of magnum shapes than there are 750ml shapes. It’s just a different cast used for making a magnum - you’re still pouring liquid glass into a mold. If there is truly more than a few dollars difference between making one 750 and one magnum, I’d be truly stunned.

Bigger bottles are more collectable and catch premiums as a result.

A few reasons it costs a bit more for large formats:

  • Fewer made (6-12 bottles total, in our case)
  • Bottling line has to be reset to label for each wine - easily 30+ min of skilled labor/niche machinery for 2-3 dozen mags across only 2-3 labels)
  • or, bottles are hand filled, corked, labeled and wax dipped (approx 15-20 min per bottle total, hardly including prep time) - which we do.
  • higher glass costs - each of our laser etched 3.0L’s cost us $50-75 + $5 in cork, wholesale.
  • we travel to Napa (about 200 miles round trip and a full day of time) to our cork dealer to individually inspect, smell and approve each cork which ends up in our 1.5L and 3.0L bottles.
  • large format bottles are cooler. At least we think so!

A small price mark up in most cases I think is fair considering the above. All depends how each winery handles large formats.

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This certainly spurred quite the discussion! Very informative and interesting points being made. I also don’t buy the glass argument. Now, having it laser etched or requesting a different style of bottle is one thing but many do seem to look the same.

I do also understand some of the craft that goes into these and the bigger bottles, being hand filled, labeled etc.

Quite an interesting topic. Thanks to all.

For those of you who don’t think glass is an issue. Just ask Fred Franzia (the guy behind Charles Shaw and other cheap wines) about it. He proposed building his own glass bottle producing plant to make his own bottles (anyone know if he has built it yet?).

And no one mentioned the cost to ship empty large format bottles. The size and weight adds a significant cost.

Lol - when you’re selling $2 bottles of wine, of course it makes a difference. But I’m sorry, when you’re selling a $100 bottle you can afford to make the magnum $200.

Your post basically proved my point - there are thousands of liquids sold in glass bottles for literally pennies. If it’s economical for them, the cost of glass is a non-issue for fine wine producers.

You missed my point. Yes it is cheap if you’re mass producing something. Once you’re larger than magnum (1.5L) very few are made as very few producers make larger than magnum format in anything more than a small handful, if that. Also, for the glass producer you have to stop your regular assembly line, retool, start up, and make these really large bottles. That takes a lot of time and lost money (you could have made a lot of 750’s in that time frame). Then you have a large bottle that is shipped by itself, maybe with one other, as it’s too big and heavy to to put more than that in one box (think was happens in the cost if you mail a letter versus a 12-pack wine box at Fedex). There is more at play here than solely the cost of the molten glass.

http://www.wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=1325748#p1325748