Beauty and the Bottle
One of the biggest phenomena to come about in the wine world of recent times is the industry obsession with creating ‘statement bottles’. Whilst trawling the wine shelves of your local wine haunt, you may have spotted many a curved bottle, squat bottle, tall bottle and even a square bottle, all mixed in with your traditional high shouldered bottles. Producers are doing all they can to grab your attention and ensure that you pick their bottle over the one next door.
Your standard bottle, with its sloped shoulders, is your go-to shape in the wine industry. Next up is the bell-bottomed bottle, which is a real pain to get into a wine rack, but gives a certain look of importance to the wine. Who would want to mess about with a classic?
There was a time where if you stepped outside of the norm, you were considered nothing more than kitsch, naff and decidedly cheap. Maybe you’ve passed through Italian airports and saw the traditional Chianti ‘Fiasco’ bottles and thought to yourself “Hasn’t my mom got a candle stuck in one of those baskets at home?” or you could look at the old fashioned Bocksbeutel from southern parts of Germany and think “I’m sure they are selling olive oil in Sainsbury’s that looks like that”. How times are changing. Bottle shapes are as much a part of the branding of a wine as the stuff inside.
Some areas of the world have to bottle their wines in certain shaped bottles, in order to comply with their own countries regulation (Alcase, for instance, have to bottle their wines in long, fluted style bottles, to comply with appellation regulations), but all in all, with the advances in how you make bottles these days, you can come up with whatever crazy creation you want.
Provence wineries in the south of France have taken the baton and ran like a certain Mr Bolt with it. Producers like Chateau Minuty have stuck with the iconic, svelte curvaceous style that many winemakers have gone with from this part of the world. Cult producers like Chateau Miraval have gone for a squashed bottle look, whilst Chateau de Berne have blown the rulebook apart and gone for a square bottle look. In comparison, these all look small fry in comparison to the intricate artwork that has gone into the creation of the Cotes de Rose bottle made by Domaine Gerard Bertrand.
Bottle shapes are also being created for convenience. For the people in this world who haven’t got time to go buy their wine, or to wait in to get their wine delivered, flat wine bottles have been designed to conveniently fit through your letterbox, leaving you safe in the knowledge that as soon as you get home from your 9-5, you can uncap and pour.
One thing is for sure, image is everything in all walks of life and wine bottles are right up there on the catwalk.