Champagne bottle sizes

Published by Sally on October 17, 2010
5 Comments

This was supposed to be an easy-to-put-together item listing agreed sizes for Champagne bottles, but it turned into quite an arduous task for which terrier-like tenacity was required.  But I’m pretty confident the list below can be relied upon, in conjunction with the ‘notes to the accounts’ also, below.

Size in litres No. of bottles Traditional name
0.1875 or 0.2 litres

~ Quarter bottle

Quart
0.375 litres

Half bottle

Demie
0.75 litres

1

Bottle
1.5 litres

2

Magnum
3 litres

4

Jéroboam
4.5 litres

6

Réhoboam *
6 litres

8

Methusaleh
9 litres

12

Salmanazar
12 litres

16

Balthazar
15 litres

20

Nebuchadnezzar
18 litres

24

Solomon **
26.25 litres

35

Sovereign***
27 litres

36

Primat ****
30 litres

40

Melchizedek

Sources: 
Oxford Companion to Wine 3rd edition, 2006 (and pers. comm. with assistant editor)
CIVC (pers comms., Aug/Sep 2010)
UMC (website and pers comm., Sep 2010)

Notes

* The CIVC does not include the Réhoboam in its list of sizes, saying it no longer exists for Champagne, though both the OCW [2006] and the UMC do list it.

** The Solomon has proved the most controversial to pinpoint accurately. Both the CIVC and the UMC (Union of Champagne houses) state it at 18 litres / 24 bottles. Other sources, not cited here, have the Solomon variously at 20 litres /26.6 bottles, or 21 litres / 28 bottles, but I’m inclined to go with the CIVC and the UMC.
** Both the CIVC and the UMC deny the existence of the Melchior.  The CIVC says “the Melchior was never used in Champagne. There is no record in the known archives.”  The OCW says the Melchior is 18 litres /24 bottles (the size of the Solomon, here), but does not specify this size for Champagne, so the 18 litre /24 bottle Melchior could yet be a correct size/name for a different region. But it’s clear there is no Melchior in Champagne.  

*** The Sovereign is listed in the OCW as 34 bottles “in theory”, but direct communication with Taittinger, possibly the only producer to use this size, confirms it at 35 bottles.

**** The CIVC cites the Primat size above, but it is missing from the UMC list.

Part of the confusion arises because there are no specific rules for the larger formats as they are mostly created for special occasions (at very long lead-times).



Comments

5 Responses to “Champagne bottle sizes”

  1. Shelley Says:

    Thank you for all your background information and fact checking. This is a truly great article.

  2. Pekka Rantala Says:

    Nice information, thanks for that.
    I have a question to ask. I have bottle pf Laurent Perrier Brut NV and it says 77cl.
    Any idea wich year i can be?

  3. Brian Matuse Says:

    Since 77cl (centilitres) is .77 litres, and .75 litres is a bottle my guess would be that is really close to being a bottle.

  4. Ian Pearse Says:

    In case you need a mnemonic….

    ‘Mick Jagger Really Makes Splendid Belching Noises’

    I welcome suggestions for a different ‘B’

  5. Alan Thompson Says:

    (So says Paul McCartney) – just to complete the mnemonic!

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