What can we learn from the shape of wine bottles?

Did you know that the shape of the bottles could give you an idea what kind of wine it is or where it is from? Consider the image below. There are eight bottles and each of these has distinct shapes that could provide the clue as to the identity of a wine or where it is made.

Bordeaux

The first bottle from the left is a Bordeaux. All Bordeaux bottles sport similar design: tall shoulders and straight body. Winemakers in the New World, those producing Bordeaux varieties, also adopt the shape of this bottle.

Burgundy

The gently tapering body, beginning from the neck to the shoulders onto the sides is a trademark of Burgundy bottles. It also has remarkable girth, which is responsible for its sturdiness. Other wines such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir have adopted similar appearance.

Rhone

Wines produced in the Rhone Valley have almost similar bottles to Burgundy wines except that it is smaller in shape, with less girth. Some variations may even display sharper angles in the shoulder. The New World Shiraz tends to adopt the same bottle appearance although the reproduction is not always consistent.

Champagne

The bottle that is fourth from the left in the image is unmistakably…  Yes, you got it right, Champagne. The bottle is huge, with design elements reminiscent of Burgundy. The shape and the sturdy make of the bottle are imperative because of the tremendous amount of pressure inside. It is supposed to exceed the pressure in the average car tire.

Alsace and Mosel

The bottles from Alsace and Mosel have their trademark tall and reed-like body. The shape has also been adopted for Riesling wines. The design priorities are supposed to accommodate the horizontal storage of the wine bottle.

Rhine

The bottle next to Alsace and Mosel bottle are trademark shapes for wines produced in the Rhine region. These two bottles are almost similar in appearance with the same design objectives. The significant distinction would have to be the color of the glass used. Rhine bottles traditionally sport dark brown hue.

Port, Madeira and Sherry

The bottle second from right is usually the shape for fortified wines such as Port, Madeira and Sherry. Like the Burgundy bottle, it is also made to be sturdy for easy and safe transport. This kind of bottle often has a bulging neck, designed to catch sediments once the content is decanted.

The last bottle in the picture – a whimsical affair – demonstrates the argument that there is really no rigid rule or policy about the shape of wine bottles. The tradition or the consistency in their design is more aligned with maintaining the image of the brand, in addition to the original design objectives such as a need for strength or convenience in storage.

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