In football when a team fails to make a first down, the team who has possession of the football kicks or “punts” the football to the other team. The term “punt” in the wine industry has nothing to do with football but everything to do with the shape of the bottom of a wine bottle.
In the wine world, the “Punt” is the concave base at the bottom of a wine bottle. In other words this intriguing aspect can be called the dimple or dent. Why in the world would wine bottle manufactures put a rather large dimple in the bottom of the bottle? What purpose does this concave dent serve on a wine bottle? There are various explanations, some logical and some,” because this is the way it has always been done.” Here are some of the many theories that have been entertained over time.
- The dimple was thought to be a byproduct of the manufacturing process.
- The punt holds the bottles in place on pegs of a conveyor belt as they go through the filling process in manufacturing plants.
- It provides a grip for riddling a bottle of sparkling wine manually in the traditional champagne production process.
- With the punt the bottle is easier to hold and pour and therefore helps the sommelier or expert wine server pour the wine. By inserting your thumb in the punt and allowing the bottle to rest on the palm of your hand you have better control for pouring the wine from the bottle.
- The deeper the punt the more expensive and therefore better the wine was thought to have been.
- It was thought long ago, the larger the punt the better the quality of the wine. Good quality wine such as Burgundy and Bordeaux definitely had a punt at the bottom of their wine bottles. In years to follow all red wine bottles had a punt on the bottom.
- With a smaller flat surface area the bottle was less likely to scratch a table.
- The wine bottle was constructed this way to provide more stability and less likely to topple over.
- The shape of the punt was used to gather wine sediments that consolidated in a thick ring at the bottom of the bottle.
- The punt increased the strength of the bottle, allowing it to hold the high pressure of sparkling wines and champagnes.
- Punts also allow bottles to be stacked neck in punt, which is really a prevalent storage practice in the Champagne region.
The real reason seems to have gotten lost in time. Even though there is no common explanation or even agreement the theories have a rather fascinating story and history. Today in the wine industry almost all wine bottles come with punts. Whatever the reason the punt is a truly unique characteristic of the wine bottle.