Understanding Wine Bottle Sizes
by Michelle at www.ilovewine.com
Have you ever really thought about the different sizes of a wine bottle? Have you considered where they come from? Why were they created? Or even why they’re named the way they are? Well, unless you’re really into wine you may not have ever thought about it, but the naming process and a whole lot more are actually quite interesting once you get into it. There’s not a lot known about how the process started, but we do know a little bit about how they work.
Wine Bottle Sizes
There are actually 10 different sizes when it comes to a wine bottle that is regularly shaped, with the smallest being only 187.5 milliliters and the largest being a whopping 15 liters. That means you’re going to see a very big difference in what it means to get a bottle of wine depending on just how large you decide to go. But what are they actually called?
Piccolo or Split – The smallest wine bottle that you’ll find, these ones are usually used with champagne and offer you a single serving at 187.5 milliliters.
Demi or Half – This is about half the size of a standard bottle of wine, at 375 milliliters, and gives you a good amount for a small dinner party or a wine you’re just trying out. You’ll get about 2 ½ glasses of wine out of this one.
Standard – This is what you will normally see when you walk into a store or what you’ll normally pick up for a special occasion. It’s the most common size for a wine bottle at 750 milliliters. Here you’re getting a total of about 5 glasses of wine.
1 Liter – This one doesn’t actually have a name, but it’s started to become more popular and gives you a total of 7 glasses of wine in a single bottle.
Magnum – Now we start getting a little bit larger at a much faster speed because this bottle is twice the size of a standard at 1.5 liters. You’ll have about 10 glasses of wine in 1 ½ liter.
Double Magnum – You guessed it; we’re now jumping up even further to a bottle that’s actually 3 liters and twice the size of a magnum or four times the size of a standard bottle. As you might have guessed, this one is going to give you 20 glasses of wine.
Rehoboam – Usually you’ll only find this one if you’re buying a sparkling wine, but you’ll get approximately 4.5 liters here, which is about 30 glasses of wine.
Jeroboam – Now you’ve got something even larger, at 4.5 liters. That means you’re getting as much as six standard bottles of wine, or how much it fits into a case of wine. (Here again, you’ll have around 30 glasses.)
Imperial – We’ve now doubled the size of a double magnum. And we’ve quadrupled the size of a standard magnum. At 6 liters you’re definitely getting a lot now. This one gives you a whopping 40 glasses of wine, which is plenty for your next several dinner parties.
Salmanazar – Have you ever even heard of this one? If you haven’t then you’re not alone, but this one is the size of a case of wine, 12 standard bottles, at 9 liters. You’ll get approximately 60 glasses of wine here.
Balthazar – Now we’re up to 16 standard bottles of wine or the equivalent of 2 imperial bottles, coming in at 12 liters. This one offers up to 80 glasses of wine.
Nebuchadnezzar – The giant size for wine is this one, which is the same as 20 standard bottles of wine at 15 liters. It also gives you approximately 100 glasses of wine.
Melchior – Now we’re really getting into the larger sizes, and you’ll get a whole lot of wine here. That’s because it holds the same as 24 standard bottles or a total of 2 full cases. It’s also going to give you 120 glasses of wine with a whopping 18 liters.
Solomon – This one is still moving up the ladder, though only slightly more than the last one at an equivalent of 26 standard bottles. It’s 20 liters in size and gives you 130 glasses of wine.
Sovereign – This was actually meant to be a one hit wonder and a specialty size, but the 26-liter bottle may have other purposes. It’s the size of 35 standard bottles, and it gives you a total of 175 glasses of wine.
Goliath – You may be surprised that these bottles just keep getting larger, but this 27-liter bottle holds the same amount of wine as 36 standard bottles and gives you a total of 180 glasses of wine.
Midas – The final and largest bottle is named for the king for whom enough was never enough (what could be more fitting). It’s 30 liters in total size, the equivalent of 40 standard bottles and gives you enough wine for 200 of your closest friends.
What the Names for the Wine Bottle Mean?
So, just what do these names really mean? Well, the smaller bottles have names that are based on their sizes (a split bottle or a half bottle), but the larger ones actually have a slightly more unique method. These bottles, such as Nebuchadnezzar, Balthazar and Salmanazar are actually biblical kings. Why they started to be named this way no one really knows, but we do know that’s where the names come from. Unless whoever started the idea just randomly happened to pick names that also appear in the bible we can only assume that it was intentional. Either way, it’s the way that the bottles continue to be referred to now.
If you’re looking for a bottle for a special occasion, take a look at the different sizes and think for a few minutes about just how many people are going to be there. You may be amazed at what the options are. Of course, getting smaller bottles means you can try out different flavors, which may be an important consideration. Your friends and family are definitely going to love trading some wine facts with you too.