Wine is a complicated drink, we know this and that is why at Call Me Thirsty we have the Wine 101 Series! Our aim is rid the confusion that comes with wine so that we can enjoy this wonderful drink without being totally confused by it. In this Wine 101 post I hope to demystify a few things about wine bottles. To do this I’ve created a little graphic for you all to enjoy, that includes six of the major bottles shapes that wine comes packaged in. Intertwined in the graphic you’ll find some fun facts about the bottles.
Click on the graphic and take a closer look at it!
German wine bottles tend to be narrow and tall. You’ll also find that Rhine, Mosel, and Alsace wines are packaged in these narrow and tall bottles that have little or no punt (see below for a description of what a punt is). If you’re picking up a Riesling, chances are that it is packed in this bottle type. This type of bottle is also known as having a Hock shape.
Champagne bottles must have thick walls to withstand the pressure of the carbon dioxide bubbles inside of it. These bottles are typically described as having sloping shoulders. Champagne bottles typically have a very pronounced punt.
Red and White Burgundy bottles tend to have a tall shape with sloping shoulders. You’ll find Pinot Noir and Chardonay packaged in this bottle type. This bottle has a small punt and thicks walls to help contain the pressure of these wines.
Sherry, Port and Bordeaux bottles feature straight sides and high shoulders. Red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec feature this bottle shape, as do white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. These bottles have a very pronounced punt. The Bordeaux type bottles has also been called a Claret and Souterne.
Chianti bottles are reserved for the red Italian wine produced in Tuscany. These bottles feature a squat bottle that is usually enclosed in a straw basket.
The graphic above shows some of the most popular wine bottle sizes. A standard bottle of wine contains 750 mL (or 0.75 cL).
On The Ladder:
Quarter ( aka Piccolo) = 0.188 Liter (smallest)
Half = 0.375 Liter
Full = 0.75 Liter
Magnum = 1.5 Liter
On The Floor:
Jeroboam = 3 Liter
Methuselah = 6 Liter
Salmanazar = 9 Liter
Balthazar = 12 Liter (largest)
There even more bottle sizes but the above are the most common and the most important for you to know.
Wine Bottle Colors
Dark Green: These bottle are said to be able to protect the wine from sunlight. You’ll usually find red wine packed in dark green bottles.
Light Green: Dry white wines are often kept in light green bottles.
Brown: Wine produced in Mosel (regions in France, Luxembourg, and Germany) and Alsace (Alsace region in France) often come packaged in brown bottles.
Clear: These bottles have generally been reserved for sweet whites but have also come to be used for whites in general.
Sometimes wineries use non-traditional colors to individualize their wine. An often used non-traditional color is blue.
What’s a Punt?
A punt is the little dimple or “kick-up” that you’ll find at the bottom of the wine bottle. Historically, the punt originated from the free blowing technique used to make the wine bottles. The punt also aids in preventing the bottle from tipping over when it is standing up and consolidates the collection of sediment at the bottom of the bottle.
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