Historic wine regions have developed their own wine characteristics, which also include the shape of the wine bottle. Many wine lovers can tell at a glance where the bottle shape is from. I am also very fond of wine tasting.
In today’s diverse market, many producers and operators are not sticking to tradition and are constantly innovating to change the shape of the bottle to attract consumers. I remember seeing an operator selling Bordeaux in a big-bellied Burgundy bottle. Although it looked very “posh”, if a person knows something about wine, it would be absolutely “cottage industry”.
It is estimated that only a few top Bordeaux estates dare to use “non-Bordeaux” bottles. For example: Chateau Haut Brion and Chateau Pavie.
The wine appellation itself is a brand value, and its bottle shape is part of the brand image, so if you are not strong enough, you will not dare to abandon the appellation “coat”. Let’s take a look at the authentic Bordeaux bottles.
Bordeaux bottle (Bordeaux)
This is the most common type of wine bottle we see. The bottle is high and straight, and can be distinguished by the color of the bottle, the bottle and the neck are overly obvious, and there is a bottle shoulder, which can block the wine residue when pouring. Red wines are usually dark green, while white wines are light green. Sweet whites are transparent to show the beautiful golden color of the wine.
Red Burgundy wines are Pinot Noir, with thin skin, light color and low tannins. It is generally not as dark and heavy as Bordeaux wines, so there is less sedimentation. Choose this streamlined bottle shape, which perfectly presents the classic shape and elegance, more sloping shoulders, wider body, and streamlined straight glass bottle shape, which is different from Bordeaux bottle at a glance. Because Burgundy wines are priced high in the market, there is even the “King of Wine” Romanee Conti. Therefore, this bottle type has been used by numerous operators to imitate, such as the previous appearance of the pot-bellied bottle “Bordeaux red wine”.
Rhône Valley bottle (Rhne)
The Rhône Valley, in the south of Burgundy, is slightly similar in appearance to the Burgundy bottle, with a longer neck and more sloping shoulders, making it visually more slender and taller. The most distinctive feature is that there is usually a relief design on the underside of the bottle neck, but those with reliefs are usually from higher-ranking appellations. For example, the bottles of famous villages or Châteauneuf-du-Pape have their own unique relief.
Ordinary Rhone Valley wines do not have embossing. I remember once sourcing wine from a local winery owner and asking for a local bottle with embossing on their ordinary bottles, and they replied that only higher village level wines could be used. In recent years, however, these concerns have been eliminated and the market is flooded with Rhone wines in a variety of high quality bottle shapes and embossments.
The Champagne bottle is similar to the Burgundy bottle or the Cotes du Rhone bottle, but the difference is that the Champagne bottle has a different cork than the others and is bound with wire. The entire neck of the bottle is also covered with a bottle cap. Other sparkling wines are also basically bottled and packaged in this way.
Alsace & Mosel bottle (Alsace & Mosel)
Mainly used for wines from the Alsace region of France, but also for German Mosel. The slim, tall bottle with a slender neck is the distinguishing feature, and the bottle is usually light green in color. That said, the region is in a remote, inland part of Europe, and in the early years could only be transported by riverboat, and the slender bottle was designed to interlace more bottles for transport out.
This wine is a rare wine, and is also relatively uncommon in France, with only one appellation producing it. The upper half of the bottle has a very characteristic curved shoulder and the lower half is slightly flared. It is mainly used for white wines from the Jura appellation, which does not produce much, and because of the small size of its appellation, it has never been considered popular, so its bottles can be said to be relatively rare.
In addition to its special appearance, this bottle has a capacity of only 620 ml and is also produced in the Jura region, where annual production is very low. The yellow wine inside has a taste similar to that of Spanish sherry and is also very close to the Chinese Shaoxing Huadiao wine, with a rich and intense aroma, often with walnuts, almonds and beeswax, and a long and intense finish.
Cotes de Provence
The Cotes de Provence bottle, used mainly for pink wines, is a glass bottle shaped like a bowling ball bottle, resembling a slender girl. However, this is not the only bottle type of Provence rosé, Provence rosé is the most colorful and bottle type I have seen in the region. The colorful and different shapes really make people enjoy it without drinking.
The German Rhine bottle is very close to the Mosel and Alsace bottles. In fact, it should be said the other way around: the Mosel and Alsace bottles are very much like the German Rhine bottles. The Alsace region of France is adjacent to Germany, and the Alsace region was also the territory of Germany, so go and learn about this. The color of the Rhine bottle is a dark brownish-teal color, and it is slightly slimmer than the former, and the grape varieties used in the Rhine bottle are similar to the former.
Ice wine, mainly from Canada and Germany, is a wine made by delaying the harvest, when the temperature is below -7°C, keeping the grapes on the branches for a certain period of time, freezing them, harvesting them, pressing them in the frozen state, and fermenting them. Ice wine making technology was brought to Canada by German immigrants and further improved by the locals to produce a more unique and mellow wine. Ice wine is limited by the production area, the production is small, and the cost is high, so the bottle capacity of ice wine is 375ml to highlight the value.
Chianti bottle (Chianti)
Chianti wines are produced in Tuscany, Italy, and are known in Italy as Fiasco, with a round body and convex bottom, and a straw basket to decorate the exterior. However, this ancient bottle type is rare and the majority of Chianti wines have been converted to the standard Bordeaux bottle.
The origin of this bottle is uncertain, but archaeological findings suggest that it was already in use in the Franconian region as early as 1400 BC. Since 1989, this “big belly bottle” is also protected by EU legislation, according to EU regulations, this bottle type can only be used in the Franconia region and the nearby Tauberfranken (Tauberfranken) and Baden-Baden (Baden-Baden) and other places.
This type of bottle is similar to the Bordeaux bottle, but with a larger diameter and more pronounced shoulders. The neck of this bottle is designed to prevent sediment in the wine from entering the glass when the wine is poured. In addition, fortified bottles are darker in color, as fortified wines can be stored for decades or even longer, and black bottles better protect the wine from light. Common fortified wines include Madeira, Marsala, Vermouth, Port, etc.
In some appellations, some wine manufactures have stuck to the traditional bottle type. But there are also a large proportion of producers who make various changes to cater to the market. It is up to the consumer to choose whether the sales are good or not, and whether they can cater to the public’s taste. But I still prefer to stick to the traditional bottle type, at least do not have to spend more money for packaging.