Wine Lists

Bigger is better

By Eliza Campbell

23 Oct, 2019

Good things do come in small bottles, but they rarely make it all the way around the table at a dinner party. Read about the Australian winemakers producing made-to-share sizes.

    Nebuchadnezzar, Balthazar, Salmanazar – Babylonian kings or giant bottles of wine? Well both, technically.

    Large-format wine sizes impart a sense of drama and grandeur – but quite apart from their visual impact, they make for a convenient choice or an impressive gift heading into the party season.  

    Types of large-format wine sizes

  • Magnum:
  • 1.5L, or the equivalent to 2 bottles of wine. 

  • Double Magnum:
  • 3L, or the equivalent to 4 bottles of wine. 

  • Jeroboam:
  • 4.5L, or the equivalent to 6 bottles of wine.

  • Imperial:
  • 6L, or the equivalent to 8 bottles of wine.

  • Salmanazar:
  • 9L, or the equivalent to 12 bottles of wine.

  • Balthazar:
  • 12L, or the equivalent to 16 bottles of wine.

  • Nebuchadnezzar:
  • 15L, or the equivalent to 20 bottles of wine.

    Where to buy:  For a little extra red, look to Clarendon Hills’ Astralis Syrah and Shirvington’s Cabernet Sauvignon, both available in magnum size. For something lighter, Tellurian also offers its Rosé in a 1.5L bottle.

    Margaret River’s Cullen Wines sells its celebrated Diana Madeline Cabernet Merlot in a double-magnum size. South Australia’s Torbreck Vintners are champions of the large-format wine, with its RunRig Shiraz and Les Amis Grenache available in jeroboam and imperial sizes. 

    On the colossal end of the spectrum, both Allegiance Wines and Penfolds make shiraz in salmanazar size (The Artisan Barossa Valley and Koonunga Hill respectively). But for the mythical, supersized balthazar and nebuchadnezzar bottles, look to the French region of Champagne for wine that will require its own seat (or two) at the table.