Is a “buttload” more…or less…than a “hogshead”? Or a “tun”? Or an “assload”? Wacky wine terms explained



The Other Side of Wine

tackles the vexing question: 

just how much exactly is a “buttload”?



To find out, we travel back to medieval days

when kings were kings,

knights were knights

and wine barrels were “butts” 

  Thus, a “buttload” meant “a full cask or barrel”. 

Buttload eventually became a recognized form of liquid measurement,

 approximately 126 gallons,

of mead or muscatel or whatever fermented fruit juice

the Middle Agers could get their hands on

and fill their “butt” with.

The meaning of buttload morphed over time

eventually signifying a good deal of something/anything.



Buttload is one of

many popular wine terms of the era…

 terms like “hogshead”


and…wait for it…




A hogshead is half a buttload

A tun (yes, that is the correct spelling)

is two buttloads

and an assload

is the amount of anything…

wine, olive oil, bowling balls…

that can be carried by a donkey



Some 900 or so years later

Sir Mix A Lot would produce a rap song

utilizing medieval wine measurement terms

in his own inimitable manner,

surprisingly with no references whatsoever to wine!

We’ll elaborate in a different blog post. 

For right now, that’s a (w)rap on another edition of

The Other Side of Wine!