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Wine naturally breathes through cork, and as fine wine ages, its fill level reduces.

There are different fill level abbreviations for Bordeaux and Burgundy shaped bottles and some standard terms are listed and shown below.

Wine bottle ullage


Bordeaux bottles

In Neck (IN) - A young wine or in exceptional condition

Base of Neck (BN) - The fill level for recent and older vintages. For wines over 25 years, this would indicate exceptional storage.

Top Shoulder (TS) - Standard for wines over 10 years. For wines over 25 years, this indicates excellent storage conditions.

Mid Shoulder (MS) - About midpoint of the shoulder. Not unusual for wines over 30-40 years, but could suggest poor storage or early signs of cork failure in younger wines

Low Shoulder (LS) - Below the midpoint of the shoulder. Normally a wine over 40 years of age.

Please note the comments are indicative only.

Burgundy bottles

The Burgundy bottle shape does not allow for a level rating system and levels are described by measurements below the cork.

<2 cm - An excellent fill level for any wine age.

<3-5 cm - Standard for wines of 12 years and older. 3cm would be excellent for wines of 25 years or older.

<5-7 cm - Not uncommon in wines over 30 years.

Please note these comments are indicative only.