I enjoy a glass of wine and have noticed over the years that wine bottles do come in different shapes but have never really paid that much attention to what wine is bottled in which shaped bottle; I just thought maybe that particular wines had to be stored in a certain shaped bottles because it helped improve their flavour.
There are certain experts who enjoy sharing their knowledge and create an atmosphere that allows you to feel comfortable about asking basic questions without feeling like an idiot, Golan Heights Winery
’s kashrut supervisor and wine educator Shalom Aronzon is one of those people.
Whilst visiting the winery
, I posed my question about wine-bottle shapes while chatting with Shalom.
Why does wine come in different shaped bottles, is it to help improve the flavour of certain wines?
No, it is an international marketing strategy based on cultural tradition. The shape has nothing to do with making the wine taste better or improving its quality actually.
Basically, there are four main bottle shapes. The Hock bottle, Bordelaise, Burgundy, and Rhône.
People who are 'in the know' will understand that a certain bottle shape signifies a certain wine.
Shalom explained that the tall, slender ‘hock’ bottle, usually narrower than other bottle shapes, is an accepted shape for Germanic wines such as the Gewurztraminer
The Bordelaise bottle with straight sides and obvious shoulders is the classic shaped bottle used for wines from the Bordeaux region in South-Western France.
Since both red and white wines are made in Bordeaux, you will find Cabernet Sauvignon
and Sauvignon Blanc
, for example, in these shaped bottles.
The Burgundy bottle-shape has gently sloping shoulders. Wines such as Chardonnay
and Pinot Noir
can be found in these bottles. The Burgundy bottle is sturdier, heavier and wider than the other types.
The Rhône bottle-shape, originally from the wine region of Southern France, is similar to the Burgundy bottle but has a slimmer girth, yet it is easily distinguishable form the Germanic hock-style bottle. Syrah
are examples of a wines found in this type of bottle.
Bottle shape has nothing to do with its ability to improve wine. Flavour development and enhancement takes place whilst the wine is stored in the special French Oak barrels prior to bottling.
The only thing the bottle shape improves except product identity is the speed that wine-lovers can find their favourite tipple.
So, why are different shaped wine glasses necessary and why is the temperature that we drink the wine so important? Those are other questions to be answered later.