The Indents On Wine Bottles Have A Name And A Purpose

Whether sipping a glass in a bar or sharing a bottle over dinner, wine has the ability to transform a good occasion into a great one. But if you've ever gone to pour a glass and noticed an indent in the bottom of the bottle, you may be wondering what it is, and what it's for. Does it actually enhance the wine in any way or mean it's better quality? After all, it's not something that other liquor bottles seem to have.

The indent in wine bottles actually has a proper name and is known as a punt. It dates back to historical times – before the Industrial Revolution – when glass wine bottles were handblown, and it helped with stability, so the bottle could easily stand up with less risk of breakage. But though wine bottles are now produced by machines rather than by hand, many still retain the traditional punt.

Reasons why wine bottles might still need a punt these days are numerous — though its precise purpose is a source of debate. These include all sorts of theories, from the punt helping any sediment to settle and be kept separate from the drink, to making it easier to pour.

The indent is called a punt and has several uses

A punt in a wine bottle can serve a number of different functions, and one way that some people believe it to be beneficial is in the way the wine is poured. The indent makes it more ergonomic, as the person pouring the wine — for example, a sommelier in a restaurant –can use it to rest their thumb while holding and serving the bottle using one hand.

The punt can also be useful no matter what type of wine it contains, whether it's red, white, or sparkling. For example, the indent is an advantage for older red wines that may contain sediment because the shape theoretically allows the sediment to collect more easily, and stops the bits floating back into the wine when it is decanted.

When it comes to white wines, there's a theory that a punt allows bottles of white wine to chill faster, thanks to the greater surface area as they sit in ice buckets. And it can also add extra strength to the walls of bottles of Champagne or sparkling wine so that the pressure can be distributed more effectively.

The punt size does not reflect the quality of wine

There's a belief that the punt is a symbol of good quality when it comes to wine — and that bigger is better when it comes to the dimple. But this is one of the myths you should stop believing about wine. Bottles without the punt can be cheaper to produce as they require less glass, so this may be why we make the assumption. But you won't see a Riesling, for example, with a punt, no matter how good it is. This is originally due to differences in the way the bottles were made in Germany. As Rieslings are from the Rhine River region, it makes sense the bottles would lack the punt.

Not all wine bottles are made with a punt these days, anyway, so it can't really be considered a sign of how good the wine is. While it might be more beneficial for a bottle that's going to be stored in a cellar for some time and may have sediment, the dent doesn't actually add much to a younger wine that will be drunk within a shorter time period. 

While it does have some practical advantages, the punt by no means guarantees a better bottle. But as a part of the tradition of wine-making, which also happens to look aesthetically pleasing, it's easy to see why some people prefer a punt.