For reasons that a neuroscientist or psychologist could probably explain, anything miniature is sort of intriguing to us. Little dogs, tiny cars and half-bottles of wine are automatically charming. Maybe they fill us with a sense of power, a sense of being a puppeteer hovering over them. I don’t know. I just know that when I am dining alone, and there is an open half-bottle in front of me, and part of that bottle’s contents has been poured into my glass, it all feels very focused and tailored to me.
Half-bottles have their drawbacks. They are probably not the most economically wise containers, and they are usually more expensive per ounce than their full-size versions. If a full-size bottle costs $18, the same wine in a half-bottle will probably cost more than $9.
On the positive side, when you have finished the contents of a half-bottle, you can keep and re-use the actual bottle and closure — whether it’s a cork or a screw cap. If you don’t finish off a standard bottle, you can pour the remaining contents into a half-bottle you’ve saved.
A half-bottle is for you. When you place one on your dinner table and pour from it, you’re not breaking off a piece of something bigger and dealing with the conspicuousness of leftovers. Instead, you’re enjoying that special little package as if it were made specifically for you. When you invite a friend or two over for dinner on any other night, you can open those full-size bottles and share them as they are meant to be shared.
Half-bottles are for the times you need to turn off your phone and turn on some music, or open a book, while you enjoy a meal with wine. They’re for the times when you get to sit out in that bay window, like a puppeteer hovering over the scene below, and practice the so-often forgotten ritual of communicating with yourself. A half-bottle is for you when you decide to allow yourself a break from … well, everything else.