Your Cheat Sheet to Wine Bottle Sizes

From demis and magnums to bottles that can hold up to three cases, we break down the sizes and how many glasses they hold.

From the adorable little split to the herculean Nebuchadnezzar, wine is bottled in a dizzying assortment of differently sized vessels. Not only does each hold a different volume of wine, but they also have cool names derived from biblical kings and other historical figures.

Large-format bottles tend to age more gracefully, as they have less oxygen exposure. Of course, these colossal trophy bottles also deliver grandeur and bring the “wow” factor to dinner parties. So whether you want a single pour of Prosecco or to host a party for 200 of your closest friends, there’s a bottle for every occasion.

Check out our cheat sheet for wine bottle sizes, the stories behind their names, and how many glasses of wine are in each bottle.

Split or Piccolo

Size: 187.5 ml, holds ¼ standard bottle or 1 glass of wine

The ideal single-serve bottle, used almost exclusively for sparkling wines.

Half or Demi

Size: 375 ml, holds ½ standard bottle or 2.5 glasses of wine

Half of a standard 750-ml bottle, this size is a lovely option to share a healthy glass of something special with another person.

Half-liter or Jennie

Size: 500 ml, holds ⅔ standard bottle or 3 glasses of wine

While there’s no official name, falling between a half- and full-sized bottle, this format is primarily used for Tokaj, Sauternes and several other types of sweet wines.

Standard

Size: 750 ml, holds 1 standard bottle or 5 glasses of wine

Old faithful. This standard bottle equates to approximately five 5-ounce glasses of wine.

Liter

Size: 1 L, holds 1⅓ standard bottles or 7 glasses of wine

These deliver more bang for your buck and have grown in popularity in recent years, particularly with value European wines.

What Does Your Bottle Really Say About the Wine?

Magnum

Size: 1.5 L, holds 2 standard bottles or 10 glasses of wine

A collector’s choice for cellaring ageworthy reds, magnums also excel at making a visual splash at parties.

Jeroboam or Double Magnum

Size: 3 L, holds 4 standard bottles or 20 glasses of wine

When one magnum just won’t do, the Jeroboam brings twice the volume. It’s named for the first biblical king of the northern kingdom of Israel .

Rehoboam (Jeroboam in Bordeaux)

Size: 4.5 L, holds 6 standard bottles or 30 glasses of wine

Another reference to a biblical king, Rehoboam was the son of Solomon and grandson of David (of David and Goliath fame). These bottles are used primarily by big Champagne houses for larger quantities of sparkling wine.

Methuselah or Imperial (Bordeaux)

Size: 6 L, holds  8 standard bottles or 40 glasses of wine

The name of this format can refer to either an Imperial gallon or the oldest man in the Bible. Most just consider it a party in a bottle.

Salmanazar

Size: 9 L, or 12 standard bottles or 60 glasses of wine

Named after an Assyrian king, this oversized format houses a full case of wine in a single bottle.

Balthazar 

Size: 12 L, or 16 standard bottles or 80 glasses of wine

Balthazar, one of the Three Wise Men, would obviously have been smart enough to present a gift of 16 bottles of wine in one vessel.

Nebuchadnezzar

Size: 15 L, holds 20 standard bottles or 100 glasses of wine

Named for the longest-ruling king of Babylon, the Nebuchadnezzar would also be the bottle of choice for Neo and Morpheus.

Melchior

Size: 18 L, holds 24 standard bottles or 120 glasses of wine

Holding 24 standard bottles (or two cases) of wine and tipping the scales at almost 100 pounds, you might need some help carrying this down to the cellar. Named for the oldest of the biblical Magi.

Solomon

Size: 20 L, holds 26 standard bottles or 130 glasses of wine

Named after the son of King David, rumor has it that Solomon would only enjoy his Cabernet out of this 26-bottle behemoth.

Sovereign

Size: 26 L, or 35 standard bottles or 175 glasses of wine

A newer entry, Taittinger crafted this gigantic bottle in 1988 for the launch of what was then the world’s largest cruise liner, Sovereign of the Seas.

Primat or Goliath

Size: 27 L, or 36 standard bottles or 180 glasses of wine

Could a bottle that can hold three cases of wine be called anything else but Goliath, the giant defeated by young David?

Melchizedek or Midas

Size: 30 L, or 40 standard bottles or 200 glasses of wine

We can let these two historical kings, Melchizedek and Midas, battle it out for bragging rights on whose name is best suited for the largest wine bottle on earth.

Your Visual Cheat Sheet to Bottle Sizes

Infographic demonstrating wine bottle size comparisons

Published on August 28, 2018
Topics: Wine Basics
About the Author
Marshall Tilden III

From his first sips of wicker basket Chianti at his grandfather’s dinner table to a 1986 Premier Cru Gevrey-Chambertin, Tilden knew that there was something magical about wine. He earned his Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators. Having been with Wine Enthusiast catalog since 2005, when he is not writing about wine he also runs the wine storage division and is head of W.E.’s in-house education program.




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