We’re used to seeing and drinking the same size of wine bottle. The 75 cl (750 ml) version. It is the most commercial and standard size, but there are others. We’re not only talking about magnum (1.5 L) bottles, but other lesser-known sizes which we’ll explain in detail below.
Why is the 75 cl bottle the most popular? Some say it is the perfect size to enjoy a moderate amount of wine with a meal, but in truth there is no one answer, and various factors probably play a role in why 75 cl became the standard-size wine bottle.
Then there are the demi or half bottles and the piccolo or split bottles. The latter bring to mind hotel minibars or in-flight drinks. It is a single-serving size frequently used in places where it is important to optimize space without giving up on a good glass of wine. Half bottles are often available in restaurants as alternatives to the 75 cl. The perfect romantic-dinner-for-two size. A little more than a glass each. 😉
From here we venture into the bottle sizes that are more obscure to most. Below, we’ll describe them in ascending order: The 75 cl bottle is followed by the magnum, which we mentioned earlier. Next up, the Jeroboam, a 3 L bottle equivalent to four standard bottles. It is a commonly used format for sparkling wines in the Champagne region. From 3 L we move up to 4.5 L with another bottle named after a Babylonian king, Rehoboam. But the “big size” bottles don’t end here. They keep going with Methuselah (aka Imperial), a 6 L bottle; Salmanazar, 9 L; Balthazar, 12 L. The 15 L bottle, the equivalent of 20 standard bottles, is known as the Nebuchadnezzar. And finally, the largest of them all, the Melchior (aka Solomon), which holds 18 L. Nothing too impressive.
Have you ever had the pleasure of opening a Methuselah or a Nebuchadnezzar? These monumental bottles are saved for equally monumental occasions or celebrations. You might have seen a Jeroboam, because these bottles are normally used at Formula 1 or Moto GP grand prix podiums. 😉