Whether you favor Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Chardonnay, you’ve likely noticed the indentation on the bottom of the bottle(s). Also called the punt, the concave part of most wine bottles has been part of controversy and confusion for years.
An often held belief is that wine bottles that have a deeper punt contain a higher quality wine. However, that’s a myth according to Wine Spectator. Admittedly, throughout my life, I had heard that myth many times. I’d even bought a few bottles according to the depth of the punt! So learning the original reason for the punt was interesting, to say the least. It all comes down to how wine bottles used to be made.
How Wine Bottles Are Made
Before wine bottles were made by machines, they were handblown. These bottle-making machines are amazingly efficient. The process is completely mesmerizing, however, it pales in comparison to glass blowing, which is an art in itself. According to multiple sources, the purpose of the punt was so that the glass bottle would stand upright after the hand-blowing process.
The punt helped ensure that the bottle had a flat surface so it wouldn’t fall over. According to Wine Spectator, “Historically, punts were a function of wine bottles being made by glassblowers. The seam was pushed up to make sure the bottle could stand upright and there wasn’t a sharp point of glass on the bottom. It’s also thought that the punt added to the bottle’s structural integrity.” So, there you have it! But, why do they still have a punt?
So, why do modern wine bottles still have an indentation? These days, with the way the bottles are made, they could stand upright with a flat bottom. Most people chalk it up to aesthetics, tradition, and the culture surrounding wine.
It does, however, cost more to manufacture a wine bottle with a punt. This may have led to the myth of punted bottles containing higher quality wine. According to Reader’s Digest, “To include a punt would require a higher cost on behalf of the producer This could benefit the makers as [the] quality of glass then changes to accommodate the punt, causing consumers to believe the wine is of higher quality.”
Another possible benefit of the punt is to have a place to hold the bottle when pouring a glass, although it’s not standard. Wine Spectator asserts, “Some people find the punt a comfortable place to put their thumbs and hold a bottle of wine a bit like a bowling ball, but this is not a universally accepted part of formal wine service.”
Lastly, some say that the punt also helps sediment settle at the bottom of the bottle. Don’t worry, though. If your bottle doesn’t have a punt, and the sediment mixes, even if you consume some, it’ll be okay! It’s just the dregs!