There are those who say that “Wine is wine, no matter what shape the bottle has, as long as it is good . “
But, the curious and true lover of good wine will wonder why there are different shapes and colors. Is it just a question of aesthetics?
Actually, the bottle plays a fundamental role in the aging of the wine.
Since the 18th century, the bottles have adopted a cylindrical format. They are round because this facilitates their storage and conservation, due to a better contact between the wine and the cork.
How many types of bottles are there for wine?
There are a total of seven different types of bottles in the international wine industry.
However, other formats can also be found in specific regions, where either by tradition or by pure differentiation they have wanted to break with the established rules.
Let’s see some of them below.
Classes and types of wine bottles according to their shape
The weight, color and shape of the wine bottle give a first indication of the style of the wine or even its origin. The most common types are:
This is the bottle that best represents wine in our minds, the classic one. Most of the great wines sold in the world are packaged in this format or one of its multiples.
It originates from Bordeaux and is characterized by its long, cylindrical shape, with marked shoulders.
The standard Bordeaux is 29 centimeters high, although there is also a 33-centimeter version, intended for reserve and higher quality wines. The diameter at the bottom is 7.6 centimeters.
On the other hand, a variety of Bordeaux mixture, known as tronconic, is gaining more and more relevance, whose fundamental difference lies in its wider shoulders and narrower base.
It appeared in Burgundy at the end of the 17th century and today it is also widespread throughout the world.
This family of bottles is distinguished by its width, its cylindrical shape and its sloping shoulders that are less pronounced than Bordeaux glass bottles. This is the oldest glass bottle design.
It measures 28.7 centimeters in height and 8.5 centimeters in diameter at the base.
Rhine o Alsaciana
The glass bottles of the Rhin family, whose origin comes from the German river of the same name, are characterized by the fusion of the Bordeaux and Burgundy bottle styles, but with a more stylized format and dropped shoulders.
It is the most used container for white wine, with a green glass color, and also in many rosés, in this case with transparent glass. In recent times, blue or caramel glass have also predominated.
It measures 35 centimeters in height and has a base diameter of 7.6 centimeters.
Inspired by the Burgundy bottle, but built with a much thicker glass in order to better withstand the pressure exerted by the bubbles.
It comes from the French city Champagne-Ardenne and its standard format (75 centiliters) has a height of 30cm and a diameter of 8.84cm.
If it weren’t for the shape of her neck, we would be talking about a Bordeaux. But the Jerezana bottle has its own personality to host excellent Sherry wines and also some Portuguese liqueurs.
Franconia o ‘Bocksbeutel’
It is the most groundbreaking bottle of all. It is flattened and not cylindrical, slightly domed and with a flat bottom. All these elements make it a true hallmark.
It measures 22 centimeters in height and 15 cm in width. It has been protected since 1989 by the European Union, so its use is practically limited to wines from the German region of Franconia.
In the market you will find other bottles with special shapes, but you should know that they respond exclusively to commercial or marketing questions.
Does the shape influence the quality of the wine?
Winemakers insist over and over again that the shapes do not respond to a quality criterion of the wine.
Beyond the very shape they present, it is true that some characteristics influence their conservation. For example, the broad shoulders of Bordeaux mixture allow it to better retain tannins, which are those phenolic compounds that give the wine dryness, roughness and a certain bitterness.
Other elements, such as the thickness of the glass, allow superior conservation in those wines that require it, such as cava.
Why are they different in color?
On the other hand, the color scheme of the bottles does have an important influence on their longevity. Light has a rapid and damaging effect on the evolution of wines, especially sparkling wines.
The transparent bottles, which reveal the wine, are the preferred container for storing young, white, rosé or early red wines. All of them have a common characteristic: they must be consumed in a short period of time.
The highest quality wines, mainly red and white, are bottled in dark glass bottles, which protect from ultraviolet rays. This includes all those who are going to spend a long time in the winery.
As you have seen, the world of wine bottles has a long history. And more so in such a global and competitive market where each manufacturer studies to the maximum differentiation elements that allow them to reach the consumer with greater efficiency.
Of course, always respecting (with rare exceptions) the traditional and emblematic values of this ancient art.