David Barringer
December 5, 2011 | Archive | David Barringer

Pass, Kick or Punt

Why the Punt? It is the dimple, kick-up or indentation in the bottom of some wine bottles. While there is no definitive answer, there are some historical explanations, traditions and maybe even some real practical reasons for its origination and continued use today. Way back when, wine bottles were hand made using a blow pipe and pontil.  The punt is the little scar that is left when the glass is broken off. The story goes that to avoid scratching tables and get a bottle that stood up well the punt was indented. Makes perfect sense, but modern glass is made in an injection molding process with no punt required.

Is there a practical use for the punt?  The answers range from reasonable to conspiracy theories. A Common thought is that evil marketers keep using the punt as it fools consumers into thinking they are getting more wine with each purchase. However, those same marketing folks also care about costs, and bottles with punts cost more. This idea doesn’t really hold wine in today’s world. Then there is the champagne industry which made practical use of the punt to avoid having the bottoms of bottles break due to pressure build up from the bubbles. The shape of the punt offers improved tensile strength by changing the way forces are directed at the bottom of the bottle. There are those who also believe it was done to make the cellar workers job easier when they are riddling the wine. The punt is also thought to make wine server jobs easier by providing an easy spot to grip the bottle while pouring. Both of these theories are hard to believe as in the 1800’s folks didn’t really care too much about making jobs easy. There are also some crazy ideas suggest it makes it easier to stack bottles into cargo holds of ships.  Just image cases and cases of glass stacked directly on top of each bouncing along during and ocean voyage. Yep, that idea is shattered!

In today’s wine world, punts are only applicable in the champagne industry. So why are so many non-sparkling wines using bottles with punts in them? The most dominant factor for us at Naked Winery is tradition. Our customers, mainly restaurant owners, chefs and sommeliers, expect fine wines to be sold in bottles with punts. All this being said, as we evolve and continue to reduce our energy consumption by employing modern glass that is stronger and lighter, the punts future is becoming uncertain.


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