Wine Bottle Sizes 101: Everything You Need to Know
If there’s anything better than wine, it’s more wine! The standard 750 ml bottle may be our go-to for day to day life, but sometimes, the occasion calls for something bigger. Enter the large format wine bottle. These beauties can hold anywhere from two standard sized bottles of wine up to twenty – although the latter is incredibly rare. Many of these big bottles take their names from Biblical kings of old and if you drink like a king, large format wine bottles are the way to go. They’re a great way to impress your guests or fellow partygoers, add more of a celebratory flair to a gathering, or simply make buying wine for a get together that much easier.
But enough of all that. Here’s a breakdown of bottle sizes:
Split: 187 ml
Demi or Half: 375 ml is half the size of the standard 750 ml.
Standard: 750 ml is the most common size.
Magnum: 1.5 L or two standard 750 ml bottles.
Double Magnum: 3.0 L or 4 standard 750 ml bottles.
Jeroboam: 4.5 L or 6 standard 750 ml bottles.
Imperial: 6.0 L or 8 standard 750 ml bottles
Salmanazar: 9.0 L or 12 standard 750 ml bottles
Balthazar: 12.0 L or 16 standard 750 ml bottles
Nebuchadnezzar: 15.0 L or 20 standard 750 ml bottles.
One of the benefits of large format bottles is their potential for ageing. If you’re a collector or like hanging on to some of your wine horde to see how they develop over time, you’ll find larger bottles to be a particular delight. The larger the bottle, the more slowly it ages. Where your standard 750 ml may take a few years in the cellar to grow in complexity and ultimately reach maturity, a magnum or Jeroboam can take two to three times that time to begin to show the characteristics of age.
Speaking of magnums, the magnum is the most common large format you’ll come across on your journeys to your local wine shop. Magnums can be surprisingly affordable and don’t need to be stashed away for special occasions like Christmas or New Year’s Eve (although there certainly isn’t anything wrong with doing just that!). They’re truly an ideal solution for those intimate evenings entertaining friends at home.
Champagne is probably the style you’ll see most in magnum (and other large) form. But there are plenty of producers making still reds and whites available in the doubled standard size. While not every winemaker will release their wines in anything other than the typical 750 ml bottle, more producers are jumping on the trend in response to the growing number of wine lovers who are scooping up large format bottles. Consider doing a little research before you head out on a buying trip to see if your favourite winemakers offer anything in large format.
Here in Okanagan, we can see evidence of this growing trend for large format wine bottles. Where we once had a limited option of local wines bottled in magnum form, we now have a fantastic range of styles, colours, and price points available to us. Love Pinot? There are loads of winemakers offering Pinot Noir in magnums. Cab-Merlot blends? Of course! And naturally, there’s plenty of bubbly too.
One thing is for certain. You can’t go wrong with more magnums – or any large format bottles, in your life. For the collector, the perpetual hostess or host, the wine lover who has it all. For birthdays, dinner with friends, or a barbecue. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, these big wine bottles will help bring any social event to the next level.