Size matters even when choosing your wine and sparkling wines, but bigger is not always better.  There is definitely a strong appeal for the Magnum bottle (our favorite), Solomon, or even Midas size with its 40-bottle capacity. The larger the capacity of a bottle of wine or sparkling wine, the rarer it is to find and, as we all know, scarcity changes market dynamics.

Recently, the LX team explored the wonders of the Magnum Estate in Villa Real. This impressive hilltop estate in Costa Rica’s capital city of San José includes a custom wine room and storage cellar which triggered our interest in the Magnum, meaning “great”, a perfect description for the property and the wine and champagne size.

The Magnum bottle isn’t the largest – that’s usually the Midas 30-liter which equals 40 bottles of wine.  Also, the Magnum isn’t usually the flashiest option available.  However, for many wine and champagne connoisseurs, the Magnum bottle is a versatile choice for ageing, presentation, and sharing on a special occasion.

Why is the Magnum-sized bottle so popular?

A Magnum bottle offers a generous capacity of 1.5 litres equivalent to two standard bottles. This splendid bottle is an exceptional choice for special events but also a special option for warm, intimate settings of family reunions or casual socials with friends. The larger size can generate buzz and create a memorable impression.  The magnum bottle offers both technical and visual rewards when compared to other sizes.

Is a Magnum bottle better?

A Magnum bottle is considered to be better for a number of reasons, apart from its attractive presentation and impressive size.

  1. Magnum bottles enable a superior maturation of the wine, because a larger bottle contains less oxygen in relation to the total amount of wine it contains. Due to less air existing between the cork and the wine, there is less oxidation and at a slower rate.
  2. Wine in this larger format will age more slowly and can even develop greater complexity and more nuances than when it’s bottled in a smaller size.
  3. With its thicker glass and more volume of wine inside, a Magnum is less likely to undergo variations in temperature, creating a steady and even ageing of the wine. The bottle itself is more resistant and highly suitable for storage and cellaring.

There are other virtues to mention besides advantages in ageing, as Cavas and Champagnes in Magnum format have proved to have better organoleptic qualities than their 75 cl counterparts. It involves the autolysis process, when yeasts making up the lees are broken down andenzymes begin to enrich the sparkling wine with flavours. The larger surface area of the bottle allows the yeasts to come into contact with a greater proportion of wine, resulting in creamier and full-bodied sparkling wines.

Why are Magnum bottles more expensive?

Magnum wine bottles are increasingly popular and considered special.  However, for the value conscious drinker, you’ll notice that the price per liter works out more expensive in the larger Magnum bottle size than the standard 0.75 liter (750ml) bottle. The production costs of the larger Magnum format are considerably more than for the ordinary size, but to offset that, the wine itself can taste better and proves perfect for longer cellaring.

The allure of Magnum wine bottles extends beyond their grand appearance.  While they might cost more per liter, they also offer unique benefits.

You’ll notice that the price per liter works out more expensive in the larger Magnum bottle size than the standard 0.75 liter (750ml) bottle. Crafting these larger bottles indeed incurs higher production costs compared to their smaller counterparts, but wine in Magnum bottles has the potential to not only taste superior but also to stay perfectly preserved for extended periods. This makes them an attractive choice for those who truly cherish their wine.

Sizes and names of wine bottles

Size Bottle Amount Usual Bottle Name
187.5 ml 0.25 bottle Split, Quarter, or Piccolo
200 ml 0.26 bottle Benjamin or Piccolo
250 ml 0.33 bottle Chopine or Quarter (of a litre) bottle
375 ml 0.5 bottle Fillette, Half, Demi or Media
750 ml 1 bottle Standard
1.5L 2 bottles Magnum
3L 4 bottles Double magnum or Jeroboam (in Champagne)
4.5L 6 bottles Rehoboam (in Champagne) and Jeroboam (in Bordeaux)
6L 8 bottles Methuselah (in Champagne) or Imperial (for still wine)
9L 12 bottles Salmanazar or Mordechai
12L 16 bottles Balthazar
15L 20 bottles Nebuchadnezzar
18L 24 bottles Melchior
20L 26 bottles Solomon
25L 33.3 bottles Sovereign
27L 36 bottles Goliath or Primat
30L 40 bottles Melchizedek or Midas
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