Champagne Bottle Sizes

Most people have heard of a magnum of champagne, a few a Jeroboam, but what about the other sizes of bottle?

Here goes …

  • Quarter bottle, Split or Piccolo – ‘small’ in Italian – (187.5 or 200 ml) – perfect for one.
  • Half bottle – Demi ‘half’ in French – (375ml)
  • Bottle – Imperial (750ml) The standard size of a bottle of wine or champagne.
  • Magnum (1.5 litres) The equivalent of 2 bottles.
  • Jeroboam (3 litres) The equivalent of 4 bottles. However, it is important to note that “Jeroboam” can indicate different sizes in different regions in France.
  • Rehoboam (4.5 litre) Equal to 6 bottles.
  • Methuselah (6 litre) 8 bottles
  • Salmanazar (9 litre) 12 bottles.
  • Balthazar (12 litre) 16 bottles.
  • Nebuchadnezzar (15 litre) 20 bottles – or around 120 glasses!
  • Melchior (18 litre) 24 bottles.
  • Solomon (25 litre) 33.3 bottles.
  • Sovereign (26.2 litre) – Reportedly created by Taittinger in 1988 to coincide with the launch of the Sovereign of the Seas cruise liner – then the world’s largest cruise liner.
  • Primat (or Goliath, 27 litre) 36 bottles.
  • Melchizedek (or Midas, 30 litre) a whopping 40 bottles!

As can be seen from the above list – many traditional wine bottle sizes are named after Biblical kings and historical figures – presumably to imitate the impressive size of the larger bottles. However, in reality, the larger bottles are difficult to carry, difficult to open and even more difficult to pour.

Still wines can actually benefit from being stored in magnum bottles. Oxidation occurs more slowly and so they age at a slower pace. However, for Champagne a large bottle reduces the effectiveness of the secondary fermentation phase, and so can diminish the quality of the wine. Because of this larger bottles are often filled from standard size bottles prior to serving. Plus, if you happen to be at the end of the queue for a glass – you are likely to find yourself sipping flat champagne. Personally we’d rather preserve the fizz and buy more smaller bottles!

Image is “Veuve clicquot bottle sizes” by Walter Nissen (Wnissen). – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

How much wine do I need for a party?

It can be difficult to know how much wine to buy for a party. While you know your guests better than anyone, it can be hard to guess how much people will drink, whether they prefer beer or wine, how long the party will last etc etc.

However, with a few simple rules, it is possible to devise a good estimate.

As a general rule, when offering wine and beer, it’s usual that around 60% of guests will consume wine and 40% beer. Obviously, if your crowd is under 20 or consists of the local rugby team, you may want to buy in more beer than wine.

As to the split between red and white wine, this is very much down to the guests attending. If you do not know people’s preferences then assume a 50/50 split. If you are hosting a summertime party, then more white wine is probably a safe bet (say 60-70% white).

A standard 750ml bottle of wine contains just over 4 small servings (175ml). If however, you are a more generous host (or have rather large wine glasses as we do!) it is more likely that you will only get 3 glasses from a standard bottle. For that extra flourish of style, remember to decant your wine!

As a usual rule, allow 1 drink per guest per hour. If guests are staying overnight or have pre-arranged transportation home you might want to increase this to 2 drinks per hour. If you are hosting a dinner party, bear in mind that people are likely to drink more with food and so allow at least 2 drinks per hour.

Most people will drink less in the afternoon than in the evening, but it is sensible to be generous with your estimate so you don’t run out.

A 750ml bottle of Champagne will usually yield 5 generous flute glass servings. If you are serving a large party all at once (for example, as a toast), you might want to consider buying a larger bottle of champagne – such as a Magnum or Jeroboam. If you intend to serve champagne over the course of a party, we would recommend purchasing multiple standard bottles to retain the bubbles and to avoid waste.

If you would like more information or help choosing wine for a party, please get in touch!

Image is “Wine Bottles” by Anders Henrikson  is licensed under CC BY 2.0