If you love wine, you know that there are numerous reasons why it stands out from many other alcoholic drinks as a more sophisticated and classy option. But why is the bottom of a wine bottle indented? Does it serve a certain purpose for the wine or is it simply to make the bottle look like it is holding more than it actually is?
These questions are often discussed between wine connoisseurs and there is no definitive answer. There are several suggested theories, though.
For starters, that little dimple in the bottom of your wine bottle is called a punt. Punts were originally created when bottles were free blown using a pontil and blowpipe. The indent was naturally created by the way the bottles were made and they have been created in that image ever since.
Many of the explanations provided throughout the years are fairly believable, if not logical:
- Punts were used to keep bottles steady, so they could hold more without tipping over as any slight imperfection in a flat bottom bottle would cause the bottle to topple over.
- Punts are used to reflect light off of the wine and through the bottle, making the wine glimmer and reveal deep reds or pinks.
- Punts are an indication of the quality of the wine. People say that the deeper the punt, the better quality wine is in the bottle.
- Punts are used to make bottles easier to stack on top of each other.
- Punts provide a place for a person to put his thumb while pouring the wine.
- The punts grab onto pegs that move the bottles along conveyor belts in the production process.
- Sediment is collected along the ring of punts, making it less likely to fall into a glass while being poured.
There are theories and myths about punts that may explain why they are a part of wine bottles; or are simply something to laugh at:
- The punts in wine bottles were used by servants, who were knowledgeable about happenings in town, to signal their masters with a thumb if a visitor was trustworthy or not.
- Old taverns used to have steel pins installed vertically into their bars, on which they would thrust empty bottles, puncturing the top of the punt and ensuring those bottles wouldn’t be used again.
You may choose to believe what you will about those odd indents, but when a fellow wine enthusiast asks you, “Why is the bottom of a wine bottle indented?,” you will be able to answer with authority.