By Methuselah: Wine Bottle Sizes

You’re probably wondering what wine and names have in common, besides those people called Champagne or Chianti by their parents. Yes, there are ‘alcoholic baby names,’ but that’s a post for another day.  Today’s post actually regards the positively wild and magnificent names of wine bottle sizes, though with this being a name blog at heart, I won’t forget to include the human data. 🙂

You probably know that the standard bottle measures 750 milliliters in volume.  You may also know that there are smaller half and quarter sizes for more personal consumption, and that champagne bottles are shaped differently altogether.  What you may not have seen are the plus-size bottles, besides maybe a 1.5 liter “Magnum.” The truly gargantuan containers are rare, but they exist.

When I first learned about the oversized wine bottles in a university course, I don’t know whether I was more astounded by the existence of the sizes or their names.  Huge wine bottles often have Biblical namesakes.  

From http://www.thewinecellarinsider.com.  This chart shows how many standard bottles are in a particular size, rather than in meters as listed below.

  • Jeroboam – 3 liters.  Jeroboam was an Old Testament king.  There’s also a 5 liter “Bordeaux Jeroboam.”
  • Rehoboam – 4.5 liters.  Also an O.T. king, and son of Solomon. 
  • Methuselah – 6 liters.  Methuselah was the longest-lived character in the Bible (969 years) and the grandfather of Noah. 
  • Salmanazar – 9 liters.  This is a variant on Shalmaneser, who was an Assyrian king.  Personally, Salmanazar sounds cooler. 
  • Balthazar – 12 liters.  Unlike the previous sizes, this isn’t O.T.  Rather, Balthazar was one of the three Magi.  Also unlike the previous names, this one appears in the SSA extended data; 12 boys were named Balthazar in 2015. 
  • Nebuchadnezzar – 15 liters.  King of Babylon.  I don’t ever recommend this as a baby name, but for a wine bottle it’s epic. 
  • Melchior 18 liters.  Another of the Magi!  No current usage, although there were  apparently a few born in 2007. 
  • Solomon – 20 liters.  As a baby name, it ranked #376 in 2015.  However, I’m guessing they were named after King Solomon and not the bottle. 😉 
  • Goliath27 liters.  A fitting name for a giant.  
  • Melchizedek – 30 liters.  Interestingly, this is named for an O.T. priest rather than a king.  14 boys were named Melchizedek in 2015.

There are a few other volumes, but the vast majority have Bible-inspired names.  For more information on bottle sizes, check out this page.

What do you think?  Me, I’m loving the names, but I’m craving wine from a bottle I can actually carry. 😄 

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