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How Many Bottles of Wine in a Barrel?

We’ve all seen them in a winery: rows and rows of oak barrels.  Many people do wonder, how many bottles of wine in a barrel?

I know you all want a straight answer.  The answer that you normally read is 25 cases in a barrel of wine, or 300 bottles.

But, that’s not entirely true. The fact is, that the number of bottles of wine in a barrel can and does, change.

Look at how wine is often transferred from that barrel to the bottling line:

As you might expect, you might lose a bit of wine in those “pipes”.  You might also lose some wine in barrel due to any number of factors…..yes, shrinkage definitely does happen in the wine industry like it does to retailers across the globe. But, the entire concept of taking wine out of a barrel to taste it happens with something called a “wine thief”.

So yeah, some wine is “lost” along the route.

Take the last two barrels of wine that I’ve bottled myself.  The first one, Aselstine Stoney Peak White gave me just over 22 cases.  The second, with the same bottling line and other factors, Aselstine Family Cellars Carignan gave me just over 25.  

Was someone thieving along the route?  Maybe.  Did I give away some of those extra 30 bottles along the way? Maybe.

But really, this is an ongoing issue for wineries across the world.  When you ask the question, how many bottles of wine in a barrel?  You think it’s a simple answer and many would tell you 25.  Winemakers would shake their head at that simplistic of an answer.

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