The other day I was posed a question, ‘Is it true that the size of the indent on the bottom of a wine bottle indicates the quality of the wine?’ After never hearing this before, my search began – Does size matter? And if not, what does the indent, formally known as the punt, mean.
What I found is that while some believe the depth of the punt indicates quality, there is nothing to prove that this theory is true. So what’s its purpose? Here’s what I found.
- Tradition - Back in day wine bottles were made by hand. They were free blown by using a blowpipe and something called the pontil rod. Creating wine bottles in this fashion leaves the punt mark. They left this mark so the wine bottles would not scratch tables or tip over.
- Functionality – The punt makes it easier to hold and serve. Sommeliers can pour with one hand by placing their thumb in the punt and their other four fingers around the base of the bottle.
- Added Strength – A solid, thicker base adds strength to larger bottles. It is especially useful in Champagne or sparkling wine bottles to hold the wine under pressure. Also, it allows for these bottles to be stacked on top of each other during the second fermentation.
- Prevention – If you take an old bottle of red wine from your cellar and allow the sediment to settle, it will collect around the ring of the punt. This allows you to pour the wine and prevent sediment from ending up in your glass.
- Marketing - Push the bottom of the bottle up and you have to make the bottle taller. Also, it requires more glass making it heavier. And therefore both will make you think you are getting more.
So why the punt exists today may never be known, but one thing is for sure- its here to stay!