Why Do Wine Bottles Have a Concave Bottom? [10 Reasons]
Have you ever wondered why wine bottles have an indentation on the bottom?
After all, the characteristic is pretty unique. You won’t spot a beer bottle with a punt in the bottom. Nor a spirit bottle with similar features.
It took me a while to find the answer, but apparently there are good reasons why wine bottles have a dimple in the bottom.
Here are ten of them, so next time someone in your circle raises the question, you’ll have the right answer at hand.
10. The Dimple Balances the Bottle
As odd as it may seem, the indent present in the bottle’s bottom plays a strong role in keeping the bottle upright.
This is often valid in standard and large wine bottles, but smaller sized bottles also have a better stability if they have the dimple.
The reason is simple. The dimple prevents the uneven glass on the bottle’s bottom from compromising balance.
At the same time, the bottom of the bottle is rounded, which lowers the cutting hazards.
9. It Makes it Easier to Hold the Bottle
If you’re a casual wine drinker, this may not make too much sense. But just observe a versed waiter or a sommelier serving wine.
They are holding the bottle from the bottom. This serving method is explained by the necessity to keep the wine at the right serving temperature.
The sommelier is actually doing their best to transfer as little heat as possible to the wine.
Now, if you’re trying to hold a flat bottom bottle from its bottom, chances are it may slip. The weight of the bottle combined with the weight of the wine may make it too heavy to hold with just one hand.
But the dimple solves the problem, giving you a great spot where to place your thumb while you grab the base of the bottle with your other fingers.
8. It Was an Indication of Quality
The dawn of winemaking was marked by the emergence of quality wines, and winemakers typically used this style of bottles exclusively for the highest quality beverages. You’ll see why shortly, but sadly, this practice was lost over the time.
Today, almost all wines come in bottles with dimples, and assessing quality based on the bottle style is near impossible.
7. The Punt Catches Wine Sediment
If you were wondering why bottle quality wine in bottles with indentations, the answer is simple.
The dimple catches the sediment in wine and collects it in a tighter area near the base of the bottle. This usually stops the sediment from mixing back into the wine as you pour it.
Wine sediment may not be an issue for white wines, with some exceptions, but most red wines are renowned for their sediment.
A glass can easily be spoiled by the sediment blending back with the liquid before serving, and according to wine manufacturers and sommeliers, the dimple helps keep the sediment where it belongs, on the bottom of the bottle.
6. The Dimple Chills Your Wine Quicker
The dimple helps to chill your wine faster by increasing the contact surface area between the walls of the glass bottle and the liquid.
You’ll get the chance to pour yourself a glass of wine chilled to perfection faster. And what could be better than that after a long day of work?
5. The Dimple Makes the Bottle Seem Larger
This is a marketing strategy wineries use to sell their bottles, and it works.
The dimple on the bottom of the bottle creates an optical illusion, giving you the impression that there is more wine in the bottle than it actually is.
If you want to test this, just compare two standard bottles, one with the dimple and one without a dimple. You’ll see the bottle with the dimple seems larger.
They both hold the same quantity of liquid, but your brain will be easily tricked into purchasing the bottle that seems to hold more beverage.
4. The Dimple Makes it Easier to Clean the Bottle
Have you ever made wine at home? If you haven’t, you should. It’s a really fun and rewarding experience. It’s also cheaper than buying quality wine from the store or from a winery, and there are dozens of recipes you can use.
Thoroughly cleaning your wine bottles is an incredibly important part of the process. A wine bottle with a punt is easier to clean as when shooting a jet of water inside, it is better spread throughout the bottom of the bottle.
3. The Dimple Makes it Easier to Stack the Bottles
This advantage only becomes clear if you are an avid collector who has to stack multiple bottles.
The dimple makes it easier to do this, by allowing you to fit the neck of a bottle in the bottom of another, for added stability and space saving.
2. The Dimple Makes the Bottle More Resistant to Pressure
If you're a wine history buff (specifically Champagne) you might be familiar with this story.
The first Champagne makers (at the start of the 18th century) didn't actually want a fizzy or carbonated wine. They wanted something similar to what was coming out of Burgundy and Bordeaux.
The carbonation was unwanted and happened because they didn't fully understand the science of winemaking at the time. The hydrometer wasn't even invented yet.
In colder conditions (like the northerly Champagne region), fermentation is slower and they would bottle their wine while it still contained sugar and the yeast was still active.
They would assume fermentation had finished as the bubbles would subside. But the conditions would just be too cold and the yeast would simply be dormant, ready to kickstart fermentation when it got warmer.
This meant the wine would be bottled too early. The wine would then start a secondary fermentation within the bottle. This caused corks to pop and bottles to shatter under the increasing pressure of carbon dioxide gas inside them.
It wasn't until the quality of glass and bottle construction improved that Champagne production was able to be more profitable (as less bottles were breaking).
As many as 10-15% of Champagne bottles were failing in the early days.
With the advent of decent glass and the hydrometer to improve winemaking, Champagne started to flourish.
1. The Dimple Prevented the Bottle From Being Refilled
Or at least, that’s what the folklore says. According to history, bartenders owning taverns would puncture the dimple to prevent the bottle from being refilled. My best guess is they did so to prevent customers from drinking wine that has not been paid for, but there is little evidence to support this.
And even if this is not the main reason why wine bottles have a punt in the bottom, it’s nice to know it might have served such a purpose.
The truth is, nobody seems to know for sure why wine bottles are built like this. Furthermore, these days you'll notice that not every bottle is like this.
My money is on the punt strengthening the bottle and helping to separate any residual sediment (numbers #4 and #9).
What do you think?
Comment down below and let's get the debate started!