At Bergin Glass, we’re all about making wine bottles look their best; a beautifully etched or screen printed bottle reflects the care and creativity that winemakers put into their products. While most oenophiles are focused on what’s inside, a wine bottle can be a fascinating object in itself. Here are five things you might not know about these familiar additions to your table or cellar.
1. Green glass is the most common material for making wine bottles. Tinted glass helps to prevent oxidation, which occurs when sunlight breaks down the antioxidants and tannins in wine. Recently, some winemakers have started using amber glass, which is said to be even more effective.
2. Before glass bottles, wine was often kept in goatskin bags. An Englishman, Sir Kenelm Digby, changed the wine industry forever when he invented the dark green bottle during the seventeenth century.
3. The cavity at the bottom of a wine bottle is called a “punt.” This distinctive shape creates a small space that collects sediment and prevents it from mixing back in when wine is poured. The punt also makes bottles more resistant to pressure when holding sparkling wine, which exerts up to 90 pounds of pressure per square inch.
4. Wine bottles are environmentally friendly. They can be recycled over and over without any loss of purity or quality in the glass.
5. Oversized Champagne bottles are named for biblical kings. You might be familiar with magnums of Champagne, which hold twice as much as a standard bottle, but there are ten even larger sizes! Each of these hefty bottles is named after an ancient king mentioned in the Bible; the largest, called a Melchizedek, contains a whopping 30 liters (that’s 40 standard bottles!).