Ever walk through your local wine shop and see all the differently shaped bottles. I use to wonder why Rieslings almost always can in a long slender type bottle. Most bottles hold bout 750ml of wine that is generally made from glass. Some of the wines are fermented in the bottle while others are bottled after fermentation and all of them used to be sealed with a cork. Screw cap tops are becoming more popular as well and in the U.S. many bottles are referred to as a “fifth” until 1979 when the U.S. adopted the metric system and 750ml took its place.Shapes
Wine producers from old traditional countries stick to their traditions and choose the shape of their bottles from a long history of bottle shapes that their forefathers made. Some of the bottles have weird names derived from historical references.
Punts are also called kick ups which is a dimple at the bottom of the wine bottle. The purpose for the dimple doesn’t have an exact purpose but many suggest that when the glass bottles were blown that the technique left a mark on the bottom of the bottle and by indenting the bottom, glass blowers were able to not leave a mark that could scratch the table.
Others believe it made the bottle less likely to topple over. It also provides a grip for pourers as well as allows the bottles to be more easily stacked. Tavern servants used to put their thumb in the dimple to show the barkeep whether the customer was a thumbs up or thumbs down as a reliable patron. Whatever the reasons, it was the common shape and is still used today.
Champagne bottles are actually made of a thicker glass due to the carbonation in the bottle. Dom Perignon was one of the first producers to include a wire mesh to prevent the cork from flying off and hitting some one.
Mosel and Alsace bottles tend to be slim and tall with narrow sides usually a green glass that often contained sweet dessert wines or a dry- off dry wine.
Most of the wine producers shaped their bottles according to the style. If a wine had similar characteristics to Bordeaux then it would be placed in a bottle similar in shape and style. Fortified wines like port and sherry are usually bottled in a sturdy bottle with a bulge in the neck which was to catch the sediment from fortification.
You can usually determine the style and origin of the wine from the shape and color of the bottle. You will notice and will soon be able to distinguish between the bottles and could know what regions they are from. As always my friends, I hope this article helps you pick out that wine you like. Enjoy.
Further reading: Why are Wine Bottles Dark?
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