Who has never taken the time, while tasting a good glass of wine, to look at the bottle label? But have you ever looked at and studied the shape of the wine bottle ? With a little attention, you realize that not all bottles have the same shape. Let's find out why.
Shape of wine bottles: regulations and tradition
For a long time, before the manufacture of the glass wine bottle , wine was stored in amphorae or barrels. Not very practical to transport and move, these containers had the main disadvantage of preventing the proper conservation of the wine, which quickly turned vinegary.
Fortunately, the 75 cl glass bottle of wine emerged and became widely available in the 18th century . From the start, we observe a difference in the shape of the bottles . Some are rounded, others are slender, and each of these shapes are not chosen at random and are the reflection of long winemaking traditions .
Each wine region has its own wine bottle shape
As you will have understood, the shape of a bottle traditionally depends on the region where the wine is made . We can thus, at a glance, see the provenance of a wine from its container.
- The Burgundian bottle : in Burgundy, the wine bottle is tall and full-bodied, with a thin neck and soft shoulders;
- The Bordeaux bottle : in Bordeaux, wine bottles are initially cone-shaped. But this impractical shape quickly gave way to the cylindrical bottle that we know today and which is widely used in other wine-growing regions which do not have a specific bottle shape;
- The Loire bottle : bottles of wine from the Loire Valley must bear the coat of arms of the wine region;
- The Provençal bottle : the AOC Côtes de Provence has 2 types of bottles, and the owners' wines are preserved in a “ corset flute ” with a narrow base, while the others use the “Côtes-de-Provence” bottle. But we also find many wines from Provence in Bordeaux-shaped bottles;
- The Rhône bottle : in the Rhône Valley, the words “Côtes-du-Rhône” are engraved on the wine bottle, at shoulder level. Some Châteauneuf-du-Pape even bear the papal coat of arms;
- The Alsace flute : Alsatian wine is recognizable among all with its tall, very fine bottle;
- Le clavelin du Jura : the yellow wine of the Jura has its own bottle, with a capacity of 62 cl.
Wine bottle shapes found all over the world
If, originally, these very specific bottle shapes were the trademark of the different French wine-growing regions, today it is difficult to assert the origin of a wine by simply examining the bottle.
In fact, no patent has been filed for the shapes of the bottles . They are simply the fruit of long traditions. Thus, nothing prevents a wine producer from using the bottle of his choice to preserve his wine.
In this way, we find bottles with French curves all over the world: South Africa, United States, Chile, Italy, Austria, New Zealand.
In addition to the shape of the bottles, there are also many different capacities . And if the traditional bottle can contain 75 cl of wine, other formats are more or less generous:
- Half bottle (37.5 cl);
- Magnum (1.5L);
- Double Magnum or Jeroboam (3 L);
- Imperial or Methuselah (6 L);
- Nebuchadnezzar (15 L)…
Good to know: large bottle formats do not have the same name in Bordeaux and Burgundy.
The color of wine bottles
Today, we see more and more wines presented in PET plastic bottles, or in cubi bib (bag-in-box). But quality wines are always stored in glass bottles. And if the shape and capacity change, the color of the glass can also vary.
Transparent and colorless wine bottles are chosen to allow the consumer to observe the color of the wine. For white wine, rosé wine, early red wine or even sweet wine, this transparent container is suitable for wines that are not very sensitive to light or intended to be drunk young.
Thus, red wines for aging and white wines for aging are rather stored in tinted bottles (smoky brown, dead leaf, bottle green, etc.), in order to limit the passage of ultraviolet rays, which can alter the quality of the wine. On the other hand, the choice of color of the tinted bottle is at the discretion of the winemaker.
Although tradition dictates that each wine-growing region has its own bottle, today this is not a sufficient criterion for knowing the origin of a wine. At the Berne estate, some of our bottles are inspired by Provençal tradition to offer you a Provençal wine that perfectly reflects the terroir and the region.