How Much Is a “Buttload” of Wine?

buttload of wine – a large wooden wine barrel

A buttload of wine is 126 gallons of wine. 

For real. This isn’t an April Fool’s Day prank. A “butt” is an actual unit of measurement. 

Basically, before measurements were standardized, the Imperial System – considered the “wild west” of measuring systems – was used. Seafaring merchants shipped wine, whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages in large wooden casks, and the casks came in a bunch of different sizes, ranging from a rundlet (the smallest) to a tun (the biggest). Fun fact: a tun is the equivalent of two butts (LOL). 

buttload of wine – a wine cellar with large barrels of wine.

So, where did the term “butt” come from? Whoever gave the butt its name was certainly not thinking of anyone’s rear end. The word “butt” comes from “botte,” the French word for boot. “Botte” is also an Italian word, meaning barrel – but the French connection is the important one here. The 12th century saw a spike in wine exports, largely because the English were #thirsty for claret, a wine made in Bordeaux, France. 

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By the way, a “buttload” is just one of several silly words that was once commonly used to describe an amount of liquid by volume. If you traveled back in time to an English shipping dock, you might hear someone shouting, “Hey! Toss me that hogshead.” FYI, a hogshead is half a butt.

Now, we know what you’re wondering. Is it appropriate to say that you drank a buttload of wine? The answer is no, of course not. There’s no way you could finish a buttload of wine on your own. You’d need about 1,500 friends to help you out.

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Bright Cellars

Our staff is full of passionate wine lovers. With our amazing sommeliers at the helm, we’ve been schooled on all things wine. We came together to write this article, in hopes of spreading a little wine-ducation with you.

    1. Hi, Julian, we’re glad you thought it was interesting! Definitely one of the more interesting topics we got to research ;)

  1. Now l know what a butt is… I wrote a song for my Twinx:
    B says buh, U says uh, T says Tuh. B, U, T, T, butt. (Jump and turn with your butt to whomever). Spell butt using a “raspberry” while saying each letter: BEE, YOU, TEE, TEE, BUTT!

  2. I saw this on Cartoon Network Adult Swim 5/23/2022 at 5:11 am during American Dad. I thought they were making this up for a laugh so I had to Google it to see if it were true. I’m shocked this is a real thing. Buttload is an actual measurement. Wow!

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