A magnum of Champagne is a bottle of sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France that is equivalent in volume to two standard-sized bottles of Champagne. Many Champagne aficionados hold that Champagne which has been aged in a magnum bottle is superior in quality to that which comes from smaller bottles. Due largely to production and transportation costs, bottle of this size is typically more expensive by volume than standard-sized bottles of the same product. It is believed the high price of a magnum of Champagne has contributed to its ongoing image as a luxury product.
The primary factor that distinguishes a magnum of Champagne from other Champagne products is bottle size. In general, consumers are most familiar with standard-size Champagne bottles, which accommodate 25.36 ounces (750 milliliters) of liquid. A magnum bottle holds twice this amount of liquid, or a total of 50.72 ounces (1.5 liters).
Many Champagne enthusiasts claim that the differences between a magnum and smaller units of Champagne are not limited to size. According to these individuals, Champagne that has been aged in a magnum bottle tends to be of better quality than that which was aged in smaller containers. This difference in quality, they claim, is due to the fact that Champagne stored in larger bottles is exposed to less air than that stored in small bottles, and as a result, it ages at a slower rate.
Despite the fact that a magnum of Champagne is equal in volume to two standard bottles of Champagne, it often costs as much or more than three standard bottles of an identical product. This price discrepancy is due largely to the fact that magnums are more expensive to produce, store and transport than standard-sized products. Additionally, Champagne producers tend to manufacture only a limited number of magnums at any one time. Thus, the relative rarity of magnums may also contribute to high prices.
Rather than discouraging magnum consumption, however, some cultural theorists believe that these steep costs may actually encourage consumption among some people. According to these theorists, an expensive magnum is seen by some as a status symbol that denotes affluence and luxury. As of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, magnums of champagne have become associated in the minds of many with hip-hop and nightclub cultures.