If you’re an avid drinker of pinot noir, you may have noticed they almost always come in a particular shaped bottle. This bottle looks similar to some white wine bottles, such as chardonnay. But why does pinot noir come in a different bottle?
Pinot noir comes in a different bottle because the curved shaped bottle is what the original pinot noirs in Burgundy, France are made in. Most wines get their bottle shape from the region they came from. If you travel to Burgundy (where pinot was created), you’ll find all the bottles have that particular shape!
But there are other reasons as to why pinot noir comes in a different bottle than other wines. In this article, we’ll dig deeper into what decides bottle shape as well as other fun facts about pinot noir.
Get ready for a pinot noir deep dive!
Why Pinot Noir Comes in a Different Bottle
You may be wondering why Burgundy had a different bottle shape, to begin with. Why not just use the standard shape that cabernets and syrahs use?
Pinot noir has a unique shape developed in Burgundy because in medieval times it was difficult for people to travel any sort of long-distance to learn what other regions were doing. This is why the bottles in Bordeaux and the Rhone also have their own styles, even though they are considered neighboring regions in today’s standard.
Author Note: Traveling hundreds of miles in medieval times would take many days, so regions developed their own technology around wine creation without sharing ideas with their neighbors.
Wine Bottle Anatomy
Now that you know why pinot noir comes in a different bottle, let’s go over the different parts of what makes up a wine bottle and how different styles are designed differently.
Parts of a Wine Bottle
- The finish. This is the opening on the top of the bottle. It’s where the cork is placed and where the wine comes out when you pour it. There is often a ridge around the outside of the finish that curves up into the opening to make the edge round.
- The neck. The neck is the skinny part of the wine bottle that protrudes up from the main part of the bottle. It is cylindrical and holds the cork. The neck makes the bottle easy to seal and keeps the wine safe from outside spoilage.
- The shoulder. The shoulder is the part of the bottle at the bottom of the neck that widens into the body. This is the first part of the bottle that is different across different types of bottles. The shoulder slope can be gradual (like with Burgundy-style bottles) or sharp (like with Bordeaux bottles).
- The body. The body of the bottle is where the majority of the wine is held. It’s the largest part of the bottle and is where the label panel resides.
- The label panel. The label panel is exactly what it sounds like – it is where the label sits on the body of the wine bottle. It is usually centered on the body.
- The punt. The punt is the bottom of the body of the wine bottle. It is an indent on the bottom of the bottle that allows for easier pouring of the bottle with one hand. Contrary to popular belief, the punt is not a way for winemakers to cheat you out of extra wine! There are a few other reasons why wine bottles have a punt, which we will get into below.
Why Do Wine Bottles Have a Punt?
As we mentioned above, wine bottles have a punt for several reasons. First, the punt allows pourers to hold the bottle with one hand from the bottom more easily. This is the preferred way to pour the bottle for some waiters, and without a punt, they wouldn’t be able to do it.
Second, the punt helps wine bottles stand upright on top of one another more effectively. This makes moving them in bulk more efficient and safer. Bottles with punts are much less likely to tip over than if they had a flat bottom.
Third, the punt does a great job of capturing sediments at the bottom of the bottle. For older wines that have been aging for many years, sediments and dregs will come out of the wine and settle at the bottom of the bottle.
These dregs are harmless but are not meant to be served with the wine. The punt helps keep them at the bottom.
What Are the Different Bottle Shapes?
Now you know why does pinot noir comes in a different bottle, let’s talk about the other types of bottle shapes and where they are from. We’ll start with the Burgundy-style bottle.
Burgundy Style Bottles
As we mentioned above, pinot noir comes in the burgundy style bottle. This bottle is characterized by having gradual sloping shoulders and a thick bottom with a gradual punt.
It gets its name because it was developed in the Burgundy region, where the most popular types of grapes are pinot noir and chardonnay.
So it makes sense that you’ll see the burgundy style bottle used most with pinot noir and chardonnay. You may also see it used with other varietals, such as merlot and syrah as well. You’ll almost never see it used for cabernet or pinot grigio.
Bordeaux Style Bottles
The next style bottle (probably the most common style of bottle) is the Bordeaux bottle. Bordeaux bottles are characterized by having sharper sloped shoulders and a more severe punt. They are also skinnier than Burgundy-style bottles.
Author Note: As you can probably guess, Bordeaux style bottles were developed in the Bordeaux region of France. They have become the most widely used style of bottle, and are used for almost all types of wine.
Common varietals include cabernet sauvignon, red blends, merlots, malbecs, sauvignon blanc, and others.
Rhone Style Bottles
The next style of bottle you’ll find fewer types of wine use is the rhone style bottle. Rhone-style bottles are similar to burgundy style bottles but tend to be skinnier and taller, with an even more gradual sloped shoulder.
This style of bottle was developed in the Rhone region, and are commonly used for varietals from the region. Rhone-style bottles are used for viognier, riesling, grenache, and other less known wine types.
Mosel Style Bottles
Mosel style bottles are very similar to Rhone-style bottles in shape, however, they almost always come in light green. This style of bottles used almost exclusively for german rieslings.
Champagne Style Bottles
Last on our list are champagne-style bottles. These bottles are characterized by having a sloping shoulder but also a larger finish at the top to hold a champagne cork. They also have thicker glass to hold up to the carbonation in sparkling wines.
Champagne bottles are from the region of champagne and are used for almost all sparkling wines. It’s worth noting that only sparkling wines from the regions of champagne can be called champagne!
Sparkling wines from other regions are called many other things, but they should not be called champagne.
What is Special About Pinot Noir?
Pinot noir grapes are one of the world’s most difficult grapes to grow, as well as the most finicky grapes to cultivate. Pinot noir requires constant care with the right soil and a precise environment to rise. The temperature is also important for growing pinot noir – it must be just the right temperature for the grapes to develop.
Additionally, some winemakers think that the ideal time to cultivate the vine is in wet climates while others think that it isn’t. Pinot Noir is a winemaker’s headache because of its thin skin, tight clusters, and late ripening, all combined as obstacles.
Author Note: The grapes are very prone to disease and mold. If the region is too wet, the grapes will mold and the crop will be ruined. Pinot noir is also very prone to bugs and pests which will quickly destroy the grapes if they get the chance.
If you do manage to grow a successful crop, you need to be extra careful picking the grapes. Their skins are not as robust as other types of grapes and can easily break if you aren’t careful.
Then you have to actually make good wine out of the grapes. Pinot noir has many delicate flavors that will easily be lost if the winemaker uses incorrect methods or too much oak. Pinot noir requires a lot of patience and precision to get right.
Lastly, pinot noir often does not get as high of a price tag as cabernet or other easier to make wines. It’s not as popular as the big reds (cabernet, syrah, merlot), which means after all that difficulty you don’t even get to charge as much. Only the best pinot noirs (like from Burgundy and Oregon) demand high price tags.
Wine bottles can take many different shapes. It’s part of what makes different wines different! We hope you now understand why pinot noir comes in a different bottle, as well as what types of bottles other wines come in.
Knowing bottle anatomy is an important part of being a wine enthusiast, so we hope you found this article informative and useful. The shape of the bottle can have a large impact on the region it was from, as well as what thought process went into making the wine.
If you have further questions about wine bottle shapes and regions, shoot us a note in the comments below and we will try and answer your question as best we can.
To living a full-bodied life,