Large-Format Wine Bottles Legal in Florida

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Opening a 6-liter Methusaleh bottle of Veuve Clicquout Brut Champagne at your next family or friends gathering in Florida would certainly make a statement! It’s not just about the luxury of the champagne, but also the symbolism of breaking free from restrictive laws and embracing a spirit of celebration and freedom. Since the House and Senate approved Rep. Chip LaMarca’s bill to raise the limit in the maximum size and volume of wine bottles that are sold to costumers, this may become reality on July 1, 2024, provided Governor DeSantis signs the bill into law.

Currently in the State of Florida, it is forbidden to purchase any wine that is packaged in a larger bottle than one gallon. A gallon is equivalent to 3.8 liters. Not paying attention to this rule, except for reusable wine kegs or for manufacturer-to-distributor shipping, is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine and, in some cases, even a third-degree felony carrying up to five-year prison sentence.

LaMarca points out that the State of Florida is all about freedom. Therefore, it is redundant to keep laws like the limitation of the size of wine bottles. “It serves no good policy basis to criminalize the sale of wine based on container size,” claimed LaMarca. When the bill comes into effect, restaurants and retailers will be allowed to sell wine in glass containers of all sizes, including 4.5, 6, 9, 12 and 15 liters.

What are the advantages of big bottles?

Aside from the sheer visual spectacle of such a large bottle, there are practical advantages to opting for larger bottles. The bigger the bottle, the less oxygen is between the cork and the wine (if you see it proportionate). Due to that, wine matures slower as in a normal 0.75 liter bottle. Additionally, the thicker bottles effect that temperature and light effect the quality of the wine less than it would be in a Piccolo-sized bottle.

Names of the wine bottles

Each bottle size carries its own unique name, often rooted in biblical or historical reference, adding an element of depth and cultural significance to the experience.

  • Piccolo or Split. This size contains 187.5ml, which is a 0.25 bottle. It is especially used for one serving of sparkling wine or champagne.
  • Demi or Half. A demi includes half a bottle and is therefore particularly popular to share.
  • Standard. A standard sized bottle comprises 0.75 liter. Historically, the British have been the biggest customers of French wine (especially Bordeaux-wine), which made them define the sizes of the bottles. Their measurement, the imperial gallon, equates to 4.54609 liters. To make that conversion easier, 225-liter barrique barrels, the equivalent of 50 gallons, were used. One barrique barrel contains 300 0.75 liter bottles.
  • Magnum. A magnum bottle includes double the volume as a standard bottle. It slows down the aging process of the wine and is therefore optimal for the storage of quality wines over a longer period. Its name has its origin in the Latin word “magnus” which means “big”.
  • Double Magnum or Jeroboam. This size corresponds to the capacity of 4 standard wine bottles. The name “Jeroboam” is related to Jeroboam I and Jeroboam II, two kings of Israel around 1,000 B.C.E.
  • Rehoboam. The Rehoboam contains 4.5 liters or 6 standard bottles. It gets its name from Rehoboam, the King of Judah and the son of King Salomon.
  • Imperial or Methuselah. The 6-liter Methuselah equals 8 standard sized bottles. According to the Old Testament, Methuselah lived for 969 years. There is no indication that he did so by drinking large amounts of wine.
  • Salmanazar. The name Salmanazar refers to five Assyrian kings each named Salmanassar. It contains 9 liters, which is 12 standard sized bottles.
  • Balthazar. A Balthazar has a volume capacity of 12 liters, which equals 16 standard sized bottles. Balthazar is one of the three holy kings said to visit Jesus at his birth.
  • Nebuchadnezzar. The Nebuchadnezzar contains 15 liters of wine or 20 standard sized bottles. Nebuchadnezzar is the name of four kings of ancient Babylon.
  • Melchior. The capacity of a Melchior is equivalent to 18 liters or 24 standard sized bottles. The term Melchior is derived from the holy king of the same name. Sadly, the Melchior is still not permitted under the changed Florida law.

Overall, opening a large-format bottle of champagne like this can elevate any gathering, making it a memorable and luxurious experience for all involved. It’s a testament to both the appreciation of fine wine and the spirit of freedom and indulgence that Florida’s changing laws represent.

Do you have any questions about which alcoholic beverage container sizes are legal in Florida? Contact us to schedule a consultation with a beverage attorney.

Because we’re attorneys: Disclaimer. Originally posted 03/10/2024.

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