Wine Questionary:

Punt: What's that dent in the bottom of the bottle?

Pick up a wine bottle sometime and take a close look at the bottom. Chances are that you'll find a deep, conical indentation rather than a flat surface. This dent is called a "punt" in English (just like the kick on fourth down in American football).

An obscure word, unknown even to many wine enthusiasts, its origins are lost in history. But wine fanciers have plenty of theories:

  1. In the early days of modern bottle making, glass blowers learned that a deep indentation made the bottle sturdier.
  2. Or, a somewhat similar explanation, the mechanism that glass blowers used to hold the bottle while it was being made left this indentation when the job was done.
  3. Bottles were made this way intentionally so the sharp crease around the conical shape would form a crevice where the wine's sediment could collect and solidify.
  4. Finally, if you're a cynic, you may suspect that the indentation serves the same purpose as the cardboard packaging inside a candy bar wrapper: It makes the bottle look like it has more wine in it than it really does! \r\n

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