Champagne is a luxurious drink that has become a staple of many celebrations. But did you know that those bottles you’ve seen being uncorked at large parties have names? It seems as though the nuances of each champagne are just as complex as their bottle names’ origins.
Champagne bottles take their names from different places. The miniature bottles have names that are a literal translation of either an Italian, Latin, or French word. Large-format bottles, on the other hand, are named after biblical kings.
While the reasons why wine bottles have biblical names remain a mystery, one of them wasn’t just randomly assigned. And did you know that the famous Champagne brand Pol Roger dedicated a special bottle size to Sir Winston Churchill? Yup.
In this post, we will explore the different sizes of champagne bottles, the origins of their names, and how many glasses you can raise with each bottle.
The Size of Champagne Bottles Are Named After What?
The sizes of champagne bottles have different origins. Some of them, particularly the smaller ones, are a direct translation of either a French, Latin, or Italian word. Larger champagne bottles, from Jeroboam to Melchizedek, are named after biblical figures. Most of the bottles take their names from the ancient kings of Israel.
Certain champagne bottle names, however, are more of a tribute to notable figures in history. The pint-sized bottle, for example, was a dedicated wine bottle to Winston Churchill based on his desired dose of sparkling wine.
Champagne Bottle Size Guide
|Piccolo (Mini Bottle)||187.6 ml||¼ Standard bottle||1 Glass|
|Demi (Half Bottle)||375 ml||½ Standard bottle||3 Glasses|
|Imperial Pint||600 ml||–||4 Glasses|
|Standard bottle||750ml||1 Standard bottle||4-6 Glasses|
|Magnum||1.5L||2 Standard bottles||12 Glasses|
|Jeroboam||3L||4 Standard bottles||24 Glasses|
|Rehoboam||4.5L||6 Standard bottles||36 Glasses|
|Methuselah||6L||8 Standard bottles||48 Glasses|
|Salmanazar||9L||12 Standard bottles||72 Glasses|
|Balthazar||12L||16 Standard bottles||96 Glasses|
|Nebuchadnezzar||15L||20 Standard bottles||120 Glasses|
|Solomon||18L||24 Standard bottles||144 Glasses|
|Sovereign||25L||35 Standard bottles||200 Glasses|
|Primat||27L||25 Standard bottles||216 Glasses|
|Melchizedek||30L||40 Standard bottles||240 Glasses|
Why Do Champagne Bottles Have Biblical Names?
It all starts with Jeroboam I. He was said to be the only original biblical king to lend his name to a champagne bottle. Then, all the other bottle biblical names followed and seemingly imitations of the Jeroboam champagne bottle.
The use of “Jeroboam” first appeared in writing by Sir Walter Scott in 1806. In his book, he describes making “a brandy jeroboam on a frosty morning.”
However, there’s no definitive answer as to why the names of large bottles have biblical origins. According to Dr. Vinifera of Wine Inspector, the main reason may be to pay tribute to the ancient kings of Israel.
Champagne Bottle Names and Sizes
There are actually 15 champagne bottle sizes. Some of them are either very rare or are no longer in production. Other wine bottle sizes are more exclusive and are made only by famous champagne producers such as Pol Roger and Taittinger.
Piccolo (187.6 ml)
Piccolo is an Italian translation of “small.” True enough, it is the smallest out of all the bottle sizes. This mini champagne bottle is a quarter of a standard champagne bottle. The quarter bottle can serve 1 tulip champagne glass.
Demi (375 ml)
This bottle is also known as a half bottle. The Demi bottle took its name from a French word that literally translates to half. It is also called “Fillete” or little girl. As the name implies, the half bottle is equivalent to ½ of a standard champagne bottle and can pour 3 glasses of champagne.
Imperial Pint (600 ml)
A bottle size that is very rare. The imperial pint bottle was Winston Churchill’s ‘ideal’ when you want something to drink with your aperitif. This champagne bottle size was made by Pol Roger for Churchill in the 70s. The pint-size bottle can serve 4 wine glasses.
Standard Bottle (750ml)
This is the most popular bottle size also referred to as the Champenoise. Standard bottles usually have a very similar style to each champagne brand, with some featuring a distinct form to stand out from the rest. This champagne bottle can fill up to 6 wine glasses.
Magnum is a Latin word that translates to “great.” Due to the air-to-liquid ratio of magnum bottles, many champagne producers use them to age their vintage wines. The size of the bottle is equivalent to 2 standard bottles and can serve up to 12 glasses.
This champagne bottle size is basically a Double Magnum. The name of this bottle comes from the King of Israel, Jeroboam I. The word also means “He that opposes the people.” It was named Jeroboam in the 19th century. This champagne bottle can hold about 4 standard bottles and serve 24 glasses of wine.
The name of this bottle comes from the first monarch of the Kingdom of Judah. Rehoboam was the son of and the successor of Solomon and a grandson of David. In Hebrew, the Rehoboam means “the nation is enlarged.”
Rehoboam is another bigger bottle that is also rare. It is equivalent to 6 standard bottles and can fill up to 36 champagne glasses.
This champagne bottle takes its name from the oldest man mentioned in the Bible who was said to have died at the age of 969 years old. Methuselah is the ancestor of Noah who built the Ark. This bottle holds 8 standard bottles and can pour 48 champagne glasses.
Salmanazar was named after an Assyrian emperor, Salmanazar III (858-824 BC). This bottle is equivalent to 12 standard bottles or can serve 72 glasses.
This bottle holds 16 standard bottles and serves 96 champagne glasses. Balthazar was named after one of the three wise men who followed the star of Bethlehem and visited infant Jesus after he was born. According to history, Balthazar was also a king of Arabia.
The bottle was named after the king of Chaldeans, Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 BC). Nebuchadnezzar was also regarded as the greatest king of Babylon, which became a cultural center of the Western world.
The Nebuchadnezzar champagne bottle is equivalent to 20 standard bottles. It can pour 120 wine glasses.
This bottle was named after the king of Israel King Solomon, the son of David. This is one of the rarest sizes of champagne bottles and holds 24 standard bottles and 144 glasses.
When the largest cruise ship Sovereign of the Seas was opened in 1987, renowned Champagne House Taittinger introduced this large bottle. It is the only champagne producer that uses the Sovereign size bottle. This holds 35 standard bottles and can pour 200 glasses.
Also known as Goliath, the Primat bottle takes its name from the biblical account of the battle between David and Goliath. It’s equivalent to 25 bottles and serves 216 champagne flutes.
Melchizedek is the largest champagne bottle in the world, standing at 4 feet high. This bottle was named after Melchizedek or the “king of righteousness” who lived a perfect life in the Old Testament.
The bottle is equivalent to 40 standard bottles and serves up to 240 glasses. The only producer of Melchizedek is Champagne Drappier which is a popular bottle size used in cruise ships.
Champagne bottle names come from different origins. If you are a polyglot, you will probably find it easy to remember Piccolo, Demi, or Magnum.
However, when it comes to looking for large-format bottles with tongue-twisting names such as Methuselah, Salmanazar, Balthazar, Nebuchadnezzar, and Melchizedek, it’s tough. You’d be better off asking your local wine supplier.
But for now, we hope you’ve learned something about the different champagne bottle names. Let us know if you have more questions and we would be happy to help. Thanks for reading!