All Wined Up

Half the Size but Twice the Fun

halfbottle1-dcwineweekdotcom Guest post by PQ Resident

Wine is fun, right? It can be a catalyst for a little bit of everything from agriculture education to chemistry lessons to lively dinner conversation to sparkling romance.

And sometimes we want to double the fun. Enter the half bottle. No, this isn't what you get on airplanes in coach (sometimes in cans), nor does it come in four packs at the grocery store (avoid quarter bottles!). Half bottles go somewhat unnoticed but they are very versatile and here's why:

Sampling: A regular size bottle is 750 ml (25.4 ounces), and a half size bottle, also called a "demi", is 375 ml (12.7 ounces). Two people having dinner together can each try different wines in the space of one. She likes white and he likes red? Not a problem — open one half bottle of each and still get a taste (or a glass) of the other's bottle.

Gifting: If you're putting together a gourmet gift basket, half bottles are perfect compliments to cheeses, chocolates, nuts, or flowers without dominating the basket or breaking the bank.

Try the half before the full: Sometimes you don't know if you will like a wine and you don't want to spend the money to buy a full bottle to start. A half bottle is typically 50% to 75% of the cost of the full bottle of the same wine.

Solo dining: One person shouldn't drink a whole bottle of wine in one sitting, especially if they have to go to the office the next day. The half bottle is entirely consumable by one person for one meal without consuming the person in stupor in the process.

Aging: Half bottles age more quickly, which means that they're generally ready to drink now. You don't have to wait eons while they age in the cellar.

You can buy half bottles at most local wine shops in the DC area or online. At local DC wine shops, we recommend the selections from Bell Wine & Spirits and Central Wine & Liquor.

Online we recommend and a store that merits special note called Half Wit Wines. Half Wit only sells half bottles and has more than 1200 selections to choose from, so it is our go-to store for this favorite format.

Happy sampling!

PQ Resident lives and works in downtown Washington, DC. During the day he builds computer systems for a bank. At night he enjoys visiting new restaurants, trying new wines with friends, and writing about all sorts of urban-related subjects. You can find him on Penn Quarter Living or on Twitter via @pqliving.