What is the “punt” in the bottom of a bottle of wine for?
If you’ve seen more than a few bottles of wine, you’ve probably wondered what on earth this indentation in the bottle is for. After all, most bottles don’t have inverted bottoms like this, right?
Punts make sense for sparkling wine bottles, where they add strength to bottles and allow them to be vertically stacked during the winemaking process.
But what’s the point for still wines? There isn’t a lot of consensus on this. It’s probably equal parts marketing and utility. A punt takes up some of the internal volume of the bottle, so a large punt makes for a larger (more impressive) bottle for the same amount of wine. On the other hand, some say it helps sediment settle into a ring so it doesn’t slip into your glass as easily. Or, it may make wine easier to serve.
Fun Fact: Here are some other interesting explanations, from the historical to the folklore-ish:
Relic from the days when bottles were hand-blown? This camp says the punt was created so the bottom of the bottle wouldn’t scratch a table. Or maybe the bottles were imperfect, so they created the punt to improve the bottle’s stability.
The Historical: This one says that back in the day, servants knew the most about all the folks in town, and the servant could communicate to his master whether or not a guest was trustworthy by serving wine with his thumb in the punt. Although you’d think he would just give his master the scoop before the guest came over.
The Folklore-ish: Taverns used to have steel pins behind the bar, which they would use to puncture punts of empty bottles to make sure they could never be refilled.