Rathfinny Wine Estate

The Pint bottle is the perfect measure…

It was Churchill who famously said that:

Clemmie thinks that a full bottle is too much for me. But I know that a half bottle is insufficient to tease my brains. An imperial pint is an ideal size for a man like me. It’s enough for two at lunch and one at dinner. It pleases everyone, even the producer.”

We agreed and in 2015 we made the decision to produce 800 bottles of our Blanc de Noirs in a ‘Modern Pint’ 50cl bottle.  We had to search the continent for the bottle, but eventually found a bottle manufacturer in France who produced a 50cl sparkling wine bottle. We only used 800 (a pallet load) of these dark green bottles because legally in Europe you can only sell sparkling wine in 37.5cl, 75cl bottles and multiples of 75cl.

Bizarrely you can sell still and fortified wines in 50cl bottles but not sparkling wine. Even more intriguing is the fact that in 1960s England, some seventy percent of all Champagne was sold in pint sized bottles (roughly equivalent to the 50cl bottle), and for good reason as it’s the ideal sized bottle for a couple to share.

Ask yourself this question: how many times have to been at home or out at a restaurant for dinner and thought I’d really like a glass or two or sparkling wine, but a whole (75cl) bottle is a bit of a ‘commitment’ for two, especially if you’re going to have a glass or two of still wine with your meal?! Whilst the standard bottle contains roughly six glasses, a ‘Modern Pint’ (50cl) has four, so it’s ideal to share.

As Sarah says, “Sparkling wine has always been my favourite drink, but when you’re a couple at home, a standard sized bottle can be too much to justify opening and there’s the health benefits too of a pint-sized bottle.”

Warwick Cairns, a spokesman for the Imperial Weights and Measures Association which is campaigning for the return of imperial measures, said it would be a victory for common sense. “Drinkers and restaurateurs have long considered the pint bottle to be the perfect size for champagne, but for decades it’s been forbidden under EU legislation.”

The fact is that if you open a standard 75cl bottle you might have some left over and sparkling wine rarely holds its fizz unless held under pressure. The half (37.5cl) bottle is very unsatisfactory; it’s normally filled by the transfer method, so it has less pressure and is not bottle fermented, whilst on the other hand the 50cl bottle can be bottle fermented, so maintaining quality.

Like Winston Churchill, we consider the Imperial Pint (56.8cl), roughly equivalent to 50cl, to be the “ideal size” for an individual at home or a couple at dinner – as it provides four generous glasses (as opposed to six in a standard 75cl bottle). However, we haven’t found anyone who makes a sparkling wine imperial pint bottle able to withstand 6 bar of pressure, yet!  So we might have to settle for the ‘Modern Pint’ 50cl bottle.

Therefore, we’re mounting a campaign re-introduce the pint of sparkling wine, and can I say that this is not a Brexit story (we bottled before the referendum), as it’s been made out in the national press (Daily Mail). It really doesn’t matter what your views are about Brexit, it’s all about consumer choice.

As Sarah points out it also has health benefits; rather than encouraging the couple to finish the whole standard bottle, the 50cl bottle holds a third less wine.

Sadly, it’s going to take a few years to get this legislation through parliament, but we’re hoping you will agree that the pint is good sized bottle to have in the fridge and it’s such a cute bottle, how could you resist?



  • The idea of a 50cl bottle! How sensible!! How embarrassingly sensible!!! If this idea were to take off over the coming years it would potentially give a massive boost to the sale of English Sparkling wine (in general) and the sale of fine Sussex Sparkling wine (more specifically) as the current standard 75cl bottle is frequently a little too much for a couple to get through. A possible consequence of a change like this would be to see the sales of European sparkling wines (in both their 37.5 and 75cl bottles) decrease – that is until one day they decide to copy the idea!
    I would love to get my hands on a 50cl bottle of Rathfinny but with only 800 bottles initially available I am worried that they can all be accounted for amongst Mark and Sarah Driver’s circle of friends – unless I could receive an honorary invitation to purchase a bottle! Fingers crossed!!

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