Magnum wine bottles make a real statement – they look amazing, give you more servings of wine in one bottle, and can even taste better too.
But why magnum wine – is wine better in a magnum bottle? How much wine do you get in a magnum? What’s the right occasion for a magnum bottle? How much does a magnum bottle cost? We’ll answer these questions, and more, in this post…
What is a Magnum of Wine?
It’s a larger bottle than the standard one – double the size, in fact, so it’s impressive to look at as well as providing double the quantity, with 1.5l of wine rather than 750ml.
As for how many glasses you’ll get from it, a regular wine bottle of 750ml will cover five servings of 150ml – so as a magnum wine bottle contains 1500ml, you’ll get 10 glasses of 150ml.
History of the Magnum Wine Bottle
“Magnum” is the Latin word for great, and has been used for this size of bottle since the late 18th century.
It is more expensive to produce them, simply because the bottle is not the standard size and they often have to be filled by hand. Being larger also means they don’t normally fit the standard manufacturing, packing and distribution arrangements. The price will usually reflect this, and a magnum of wine is likely to be more expensive than two bottles of the same wine in standard bottle sizes.
However, you do get some “great” benefits in return for your investment…
Benefits of Wine Magnums
Why buy a magnum bottle? The most obvious benefit is that you get more wine in one bottle, which can cater for more people at a party or event from a single bottle – and it makes an eye-catching statement as well.
Wine in a magnum bottle also has greater potential for ageing over a longer period. Magnum bottles contain the same about of oxygen as a standard bottle, but with double the quantity of wine – which means the oxygen available mixes and reacts more slowly with the wine in the bottle. This slower oxidation is a more sophisticated way to soften the tannins, and bring out the aroma of the original wooden barrels, over a longer period of time.
So in a magnum, the wine is kept fresher for longer; it can be laid down to age for longer; and it’s likely to taste even better than a standard size bottle of the same wine – even if that standard bottle has been laid down too.
Other sizes of wine bottles
Wine bottle sizes go from tiny to huge, and have been given some magnificent names which match their magnificent look – with the larger sizes named after kings of the ancient world.
Split (or Piccolo in Italy): 187.5ml
Half (or Demi in France): 375ml
Standard: 750ml – the bottle size for most wines produced and distributed around the world.
Magnum: 1.5l, the equivalent of two standard bottles.
Double Magnum (or Jeroboam when it contains sparkling wine): 3l, the equivalent of two magnums or four standard bottles.
Rehoboam: 4.5l of sparkling wine, the equivalent of six standard bottles.
Methuselah or Imperial: 6l, the equivalent of eight standard bottles, or two Double Magnums.
Salmanazar: 9l, the equivalent of twelve standard bottles – a full case of wine in one!
Balthazar: 12l, the equivalent of 16 standard bottles, or two Methuselahs / Imperials.
Nebuchadnezzar: 15l, the equivalent of 20 standard bottles.
Solomon or Melchior: 18l, the equivalent of 24 standard bottles, two Salmanazars, or two full cases!
How to Choose a Wine Magnum
Not every wine is available in magnum size, so before you decide to invest, find out from your merchant what they have, what they can source, and how much a magnum will cost. Think about the occasion you’re buying for, and determine your wine budget; then consider the type of wine you want to serve – and don’t forget to account for fridge chilling space, if it’s white or sparkling!
With all this information to hand, you’ll be able to work out whether a magnum bottle of wine will be better all round than purchasing standard bottle sizes.
Storing and Serving Wine Magnums
Wine magnums require very similar treatment as their smaller siblings. They should be stored in a cool, dark place with a consistent temperature – so ideally, away from radiators and heat sources.
Serving temperatures are also much the same: white and sparkling wines should be served chilled, and red wine should be slightly cooler than room temperature. Red wine in a magnum bottle may also benefit from decanting about an hour beforehand, to allow it to breathe a little.
Wine magnums are a unique and impressive option for special occasions and events. They offer improved ageing potential, and more glasses per bottle. A magnum may cost more than the two bottle equivalent, but you’re getting an opulent wow factor for your event, as well as a wine that tastes even better than it does in a standard bottle. Choose carefully, store well and you’ll get the most from your magnum.
As with all your wine choices, we’re here to help and can advise on a range of magnums and fabulous wines within them. Browse our range now, and get in touch to find out more: