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The Reason Why Wine Bottles Have Dents in the Bottom

Mental Floss logo Mental Floss 2/4/2020 Michele Debczak
© ForsterForest, iStock via Getty Images

A lot of what you think you know about wine may actually be a myth, and that includes the purpose of the dent in the bottom of a bottle. While it served an important function centuries ago, the design feature today is cosmetic at best—and deceitful at worst.

According to Wine Spectator, the dimple raising up the floor of your wine bottle is actually called a punt. Prior to the Industrial Revolution, all wine bottles were handmade by glassblowers, and these punts were added to ensure they could stand upright. Today, most wine bottles are made by machines, and it would be easier to manufacture them with even bottoms that lay flat than it was 200 years ago. But because of tradition, the punt has endured.

The wine industry has found alternate uses for the archaic dent over the years. It creates a natural place to hold a wine bottle, and when pouring a glass, the proper technique is to rest your thumb in the bottle's indent. The punt can also be exploited to trick customers into thinking they're getting more than what they paid for. Two wine bottles stored next to each other on a shelf may appear to be the same size, but if one has a deeper dent, it actually contains less liquid.

The depth of a bottle's punt also used to be a marker of value, and some wine manufacturers continue to exaggerate the indents at the bottom of the glass to pass it off as high-quality. But as is the case with the heft or the color of your wine bottle, these cosmetic features have nothing to do with the caliber of the product inside.

The wine world feels a lot less intimidating when you realize a lot of its conventions are meaningless, like the rules that reds must be served with meat or that corks are better than twist caps. Here are some more wine myths to look out for.

[h/t Wine Spectator]

Related video: Why Are Some Bottles of Wine So Huge? (Provided by The Daily Meal)

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