The extensive range of wine bottle sizes has its roots in the early to mid 1700s when it was discovered that cork acted as a sealing agent, allowing wine to age and not spoil. Larger bottles allow wine to age over longer periods of time, and are therefore particularly suited to longer aging wines, such as Champagne and Bordeaux. Most of the names come from the Bible: this tradition was started by the Champagne Houses back in the 19th century.
Larger bottles let the wine develop a more nuanced flavour and a deeper complexity than a smaller wine bottle, resisting temperature changes more easily. Bigger wine bottles require specialised racking with wider spacing for safer storage, and serve to give a home a distinguished look.