From spectacular Shiraz to magnificent Malbec, the biggest bottles of wine in the world are incredible. And when it comes to the question of the biggest wine bottle in the world, the contenders are colossal.
We have drunk wine in one form or another for around 8,000 years. Originally the wine was stored in earthenware vessels before the Egyptians developed ceramic containers lined with wax known as amphorae. The ancient Romans stored their wine in barrels, but it wasn’t until the seventeenth century that the glass bottle was introduced.
At first, the bottles had wide bottoms and short necks. However, in the 1820s the classic wine bottle shape we are familiar with today emerged, and we haven’t looked back for two centuries.
We know a standard wine bottle contains 750ml, but how much wine does the biggest wine bottle in the world contain? And what is the biggest bottle of wine you can buy?
From the Very Small to the Very Big
The nomenclature – naming convention – of wine bottles is fascinating, although it seems no-one is entirely sure why they were given biblical names.
The first four in the scale – quarter bottle (187ml), half bottle (375ml), standard bottle (750ml) and Magnum (1.5l) are all self-explanatory. From there however, the naming convention gets, well, biblical, all the way up until we get to the biggest bottle of wine you can buy.
After a Magnum is the Jeroboam, which holds three litres, or four standard bottles of wine. Then we have the Rehoboam which holds four-and-a-half litres, the equivalent of six standard bottles; the Methuselah which holds six litres, or eight standard bottles and the Salmanzar which holds nine litres, or twelve bottles.
These are big, but they’re nowhere close to the world’s largest wine bottle.
The Balthazar is next on the scale and has a capacity of twelve litres, or sixteen standard bottles of wine.
Then it’s the Nebuchadnezzar with fifteen litres, or twenty bottles. The Melchior is next and that holds eighteen litres, or the equivalent of twenty-four bottles of wine and the Solomon holds a whopping twenty litres, or twenty-six bottles.
They’re getting bigger and bigger – and heavier and heavier – but still, they are tiny compared with the largest wine bottle in the world.
Finally, there’s the Sovereign which holds twenty-five litres or just over thirty-three bottles, the Goliath at twenty-seven litres, or thirty-six bottles and lastly, the Melchizedek, the biggest bottle of wine you can buy, which holds thirty litres, or forty standard bottles of wine.
But these pale into comparison against the world’s biggest bottle of wine.
Bubbles, Bubbles Everywhere…
Where fizz is concerned, the largest wine bottle measures 1.39 metres high and 1.32 metres in circumference and was blown by seven glass blowers from the town of Jihlava in the Czech Republic. The world’s biggest bottle of sparkling wine had a capacity of 117 litres, enough for around 1,000 glasses of bubbly.
Maximus Winus Bottlus
In 2004, the Beringer Vineyards in California unveiled a bottle measuring 1.34 metres tall made to celebrate the anniversary of a local restaurant chain. The bottle, with a 13cm wide cork, was named ‘Maximus’ by the president of the Court of Master Sommeliers. It was filled with 130 litres of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It was sold for $55,812 (just over £30,000) at auction and the proceeds went to a world hunger charity.
Spills & Thrills
In 2017, to celebrate the reopening of a Chinese restaurant in the Austrian town of Lustenau, a contender for the title of biggest wine bottle in the world was displayed in a climate-controlled glass chamber in the middle of the dining room.
The bottle measured 2.98 metres tall and weighed almost 370kg. It had a capacity of 1,590 litres of Keringer Wineries’ award-winning ‘100 Days Zweigelt’, the equivalent of 2,120 standard bottles of wine.
Unfortunately, after standing in the restaurant for three years, the pressurised cabinet failed and as the temperature rose the wine expanded and broke through the huge cork. All told, 230 litres – 306 bottles – gushed out but 1,360 litres were saved to be individually bottled and auctioned off.
The Biggest Wine Bottle In The World
According to the Guinness World Records, the world’s largest wine bottle wasn’t made by one of the famous champagne houses or the oldest and most exclusive vineyards in Italy or France. It was the brainchild of a car importer from Switzerland called André Vogel who commissioned the bottle to celebrate the opening of a new branch of his business.
The bottle is 4.17 metres tall and 1.21 metres in diameter and holds a staggering 3,094 litres of wine, the equivalent of 4,125 standard 750ml bottles. So there we have it, the biggest bottles of wine in the world. Cheers!