The indentation in the bottom of a wine bottle is called a punt. Its presence is one of the favorite topics of discussion when oenophiles gather together. There are as many stories about punts as there are varieties of wine.
At one time all wine bottles were made by hand and it is thought the punt was developed because a flat bottom was more difficult for inexperienced glassblowers to create.
Another theory holds that the punt was developed to make it easier to stack and ship wine in bottles. The punt increases the strength of the bottle, making it less likely to break.
Unscrupulous wine merchants would order large bottles, with bigger punts, so they would be able to sell more impressive sized bottles at a higher price with the same amount of wine in them as a smaller bottle.
Possibly the punt was used by servants as a telltale. When serving wine they would place a thumb in the punt, tipping their lord off that they had heard ill rumors about a guest.
Inns and taverns used to have a metal rod behind the bar, and a bottle would be shoved down onto it, making a hole through the punt, to ensure that the bottle would not be refilled.
The punt was considered to be an indication of quality: The bigger the punt, the better the quality of the wine.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Hans Voorn
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