wine bottles

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms formerly recognized 16 bottle sizes for domestic American wine and 27 sizes for imports. That ended on January 1, 1975, when metric sizing was introduced, becoming mandatory on January 1, 1979. Except for “magnum,” the names of the sizes are not allowed to appear on the label.

New size Capacity Corresponds to old size
Miniature 100 mL miniature
Small 187 mL split
Medium 375 mL tenth
Regular 750 mL fifth
Large 1 liter quart
Magnum 1.5 liter magnum
Extra Large 3 liter jeroboam

Some of the traditional names for wine bottle sizes are given under champagne, bordeaux, burgundy and port. The larger sizes, especially those with the Biblical names, are mostly a novelty produced in very small numbers.

Bordeaux

The traditional sizes of Bordeaux bottles:

Size Capacity in bottles
(traditional)
Liters
(current)
Fillette ½  
Magnum 2 1.5
Marie-Jeanne 3
Double magnum 4 3
Jéroboam 6 4.5
Impérial (some say called a rehoboam in the U.K.) about 8 bottles 6
Balthazar 16 12
Nebuchadnezzar 20 15
Melchior 24 18

Burgundy

Rhone wines use the same designations.

Size Capacity in bottles
Magnum 2
Jeroboam 4
Rehoboam 6
Methuselah 8
Shalmaneser 12
Balthasar 16
Nebuchadnezzar 20
Melchior 24

Champagne

a variety of bottle sizes

Courtesy Champagne Drappier.

True champagne is fermented in the bottle. Manipulating a large bottle through the méthode champenoise is very difficult, so most houses ferment in magnums and decant the results into the larger bottles. Drappier actually ferments in the large bottles. Count the number of sizes.

Nowadays champagne is bottled in the same sizes as other wines; in the United States, by order of the federal government. The traditional bottle sizes were:

SizeCapacity Current understanding
Split ¼ bottle  
Pint ½ bottle  
Quart 800 mL, the old “bottle of champagne”  
Magnum 2 bottles 750mL × 2 =
1.5 liters
Jéroboam 4 bottles 750mL × 4 =
3 liters
Rehoboam 6 bottles 4.5 liters
Methuselah 8 bottles 6 liters
Salamanzar 10, sometimes 12 bottles 9 liters
Balthazar 16 bottles 12 liters
Nebuchadnezzar 20 bottles 15 liters
Melchior or Solomon 24 bottles 18 liters
Primat 36 bottles 27 liters

 

Port

Name Capacity
Quart 757.5 mL
Magnum 2 bottles
Tappet hen 3 bottles
Jéroboam 4 bottles
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