Have you ever wondered why some wines, like Pinot Noir, come in different shaped bottles? Keep reading for the answer in today’s Ask The Expert!
The reason wine comes in different bottles is a tradition as old as wine is itself. If you look at wines from Europe (as opposed to the US), most wines are named for the village or region they came from rather than the type of grape. That village name (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Chianti, Champagne) was the brand name of the wine, and the shape of the bottle was part of the branding that distinguished that wine from the many other wines in the world.
A Chardonnay or Pinot Noir (the traditional grapes of Burgundy) always came in a Burgundian-shaped bottle with less defined shoulders at the top and a rounder appearance toward its base, whereas a Cabernet, Merlot or Sauvignon Blanc (the traditional grapes of Bordeaux) always came in a Bordeaux bottle which has prominent shoulders toward its top and tapers straight down for a narrower base.
Rieslings, hailing from mostly Germany and the territory of France which shares a border with Germany, also have a distinct shape being tall, with narrow shoulders and a narrow base. Port from the Portugal also has a very distinct shape and was traditionally sold in squatty, broad-based bottles with very prominent shoulders.
And finally, let it not be forgotten that in order to set itself apart in the world of wine, Italy’s Chianti region used to be adorned with a straw woven basket which contained a very slight shouldered bottle with a very curved, rounded base.
Burgundian Bottle: Less defined shoulders at the top and a rounder appearance toward its base.
Bordeaux Bottle: Prominent shoulders toward its top and tapers straight down for a narrower base.
Riesling Bottle: Tall, with narrow shoulders and a narrow base.
Thanks to Winemaker Hal Landvoigt of Lunar Harvest for his answer to the question Why Are Wine Bottles Different Shapes?
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