How Much Champagne Would It Take to Fill the Nile? - Nerdist
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How Much Champagne Would It Take to Fill the Nile?

Even if Death on the Nile didn’t get rave reviews, it has stayed afloat by sheer power of the meme. Gal Gadot’s hyperbolic line about having “enough champagne to fill the Nile” has stuck in the collective consciousness. We here at Nerdist wanted to know exactly how much champagne that would be. Whatever your read on the popularity of the clip, it’s always a good time to do some math. Is there enough champagne on Earth, much less on the steamboat, to fill the world’s longest river? And forget the cost of that much bubbly, what about the environmental impact? Like Hercule Poirot, I’m going to get to the bottom of this! Even if it is an exercise even more ridiculous than the detective’s mustache.

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While it’s seemingly impossible to estimate just how much volume the Nile holds at any given moment, it discharges roughly 70 billion gallons (265 billion liters) into the Mediterranean Sea every day. So just replacing that amount with champagne would require over 350 billion standard (750 milliliter) bottles. Or 175 billion magnums.

For reference, about 300 million bottles of champagne are made every year. At least by the strict definition of it being from the Champagne Valley in France. If we’re willing to fill the Nile with sparkling wine, we have more to work with.

For every liter of champagne, there is 10 grams of carbon dioxide trapped inside. When the pressure is released by opening the bottle, about 5 liters of CO2 can escape by the rising and popping of the effervescent bubbles.

So pouring out 265 billion liters of champagne would let off 2.65 trillion grams of CO2. The average car releases 404 grams of CO2 per mile. The champagne is equivalent to 6.5 billion miles driven. Or about twice as many miles as all Americans combined drive in a year.

Gal Gadot in a screenshot from Death on the Nile, throwing champagne into the Nile and saying they could fill the Nile
20th Century Studios

Basically, it’s a bad idea to fill the Nile with champagne—for so many reasons: the carbon footprint, the death of every species that lives in it, the impact on the hundreds of millions of people who rely on it for life and livelihood.

Vulture estimated how much champagne they had onboard and it turns out only enough to fill a bathtub rather than an entire river. This all comes down to getting units correct, as well as using reliable sources. Though it’s still a hard thing to estimate, even without factoring in any differences between now and 1937. Fun though, right?

Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth. 

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