Flip over a wine bottle and you’ll notice it has a large dent on its base. It's a peculiar feature that's found almost exclusively on bottles of beloved boozy grape juice, but scarcely on any other liquor bottles.
The indentation on wine bottle bottoms has served different functions over the ages, but today it's thought to help deal with the collection of scummy sediment, or so sommeliers say...
What is a wine bottle punt?
Known to wine lovers as a “punt,” the dimple initially emerged in times gone by as a result of how the bottle was crafted by a glassblower. It was also believed to have added to the bottle’s structural integrity to the fragile glass vessel.
Today, most wine bottles are made by automated machines and glass is much stronger, so the punt no longer serves this purpose.
Most experts contend that the dent simply stuck around because it helps to collect the sediment as the wine ages and reduces the chance it will end up in your glass when being poured, according to the Wine Spectator.
Unfortunately, there’s never been tried and tested through a scientific study, so it’s difficult to say whether this claim holds water (or wine).
It is clear, however, that the dent became a cherished tradition in wine-making culture, which likely to has something to do with it persisting as a feature on contemporary bottles.
It's also notable that the concave indent at the base is the ideal shape to rest your thumb inside when pouring a glass if you want to look extra fancy.
Does a wine bottle punt mean better quality?
Some people believe the punt indicates the quality of wine, with a dent meaning it's a quality tipple and a flat bottom showing it’s best saved for cooking or bad guests. However, that’s not strictly true.
While certain bottles of red wine are more likely to sit around in a basement for a few years and gather sediment, something like a light rosé is likely to be promptly refrigerated and won’t get better with age, meaning a punt isn’t as necessary to collect sediment.
“The punt at the bottom of a wine bottle is down to the producer's choice and has no impact on the quality of wine,” Stéphane Sanchez, a sommelier and Waitrose Wine Specialist, told Good Housekeeping.
“It makes sense for wine producers whose wines are designed for long cellaring - such as a fine Bordeaux - to use this type of bottle, but not necessarily for a producer whose wines will be drunk within a year from release (like a rosé),” Sanchez explained.