The bottom of wine bottles actually serve a really important function.
The short answer is that nobody is precisely sure why that divot in the bottom of a wine bottles also known as a punt—is there. In the modern world, it seems to be more about maintaining tradition than fulfilling a purpose. Additionally, there is a lot of conjecture on the historical significance of the punt at the base of the wine bottle.
One theory is that the glass blower’s tool would leave a little scar on the bottom of the bottle when bottles were still hand-blown. The scar would prohibit it from sitting squarely on a tabletop if the bottom remained flat, therefore the punt may have been created out of necessity.
Some claim that the punt was created to protect the quality of champagne bottles. Wine that has bubbles is under a great deal of pressure. The monks in the early days of champagne production used brittle glass, and working in the cellar was extremely perilous. Regular bottle explosions killed and injured adjacent residents.
When monks found that wine bottles with a punt were less likely to break, they started donning metal armor and chainmail to protect themselves from being killed by wine bottles.
Another hypothesis is that if clients were unaware of the punt at the bottom, dishonest merchants may trick them into thinking there was more liquid present than the bottle could actually hold. Before there were rules in place to protect the buyer, this seemed like a reasonable explanation.
Now that the majority of vineyards utilise standard 750ml bottles, the buyer is assured that amount of wine regardless of how big or tiny the bottle appears to be.
Whatever its origins and purposes, the punt does have certain advantages for modern wine drinkers. The punt thoroughly distributes the hot water when washing a bottle to help with more thorough cleansing.
The punt at the bottom of the bottle provides something to grab for the person pouring wine because glass can be slippery. Any sediment is likewise directed by the punt into the ring at the bottle’s base. The wine drinker can avoid those unpleasant bits in the wine glass thanks to this design.
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