There are 12, standard 750ml bottles in a case of wine. If you’re using the metric system, or filing tax payments for a winery, the most important number is that those 12 bottles make up 9 liters of wine. Exactly 9 and you’ll see why that’s impressive in a minute. But first, let’s delve a bit deeper into what should be a basic question in the wine industry: how many bottles in a case of wine?
I’ve always thought the size of a wine bottle is an interesting story (largely it’s because 750ml is the approximate amount of air your lungs can hold and wine bottles were once blown by hand, by glassblowers). But why 12 bottles in a case? Why not 6? Or 9, especially 9, wouldn’t a 3×3 case have made more sense? Our current 12 bottle in a case setup, isn’t uniform or square, it’s a 4×3.
The honest answer about why a case has 12 bottles and not some different number is that I don’t know. I’ve asked around. I’ve googled it. I’ve looked at the reference materials I have and there’s absolutely nothing, there’s no reason given. It seems that there are 12 bottles in a case of wine, because there always have been 12. But why?
I’m going to conjecture that there are 12 bottles in a case of wine because those 12 bottles often weigh about 35 pounds. 35 pounds, based on personal experience is about the amount that most grown adults can comfortably carry without dropping it. It’s not the minimum, but pretty close to the maximum in my opinion. If you needed wine to be transported as quickly and efficiently as possible, especially when you were working by hand without the help of any technology, wouldn’t you want to maximize the amount of wine in each trip, while minimizing breakage? Makes sense to me.
So how many bottles in a case of wine? It’s 12.
Why are there 12 bottles in a case of wine? That part is unclear at best.