by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery
This past weekend, a customer had asked the question, what is a punt for? First, I will describe what a punt is before I answer what it is used for. A punt is the indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle. This is generally a topic which there has been no true explanation for its use or its history. I was taught it was from the mold.
More recently, someone had told me they thought it was when they were blowing the glass. As they started to blow glass using a blowpipe, they would place it on a base and the base would leave the indent, or what we refer to as a punt. A pontil or a punty is the rod they use when blowing glass. The punt is the blemish that is created during the process.
Back in December 2016, I wrote about the history of a corkscrew. I had mentioned that Kenelm Digby is considered the creator of the commercial wine bottle. In the 1630s, Digby manufactured wine bottles which had a tapered neck, a collar and a punt. Digby’s bottles were much more durable than what was available. He made them in colors of green or brown, which protected the contents from light. In 1662, parliament recognized his invention of his technique for the modern wine bottle.
About 15 years ago, I took many wine classes and I was taught many different theories about the wine bottle. It was mentioned that the punt was part of the structure that allowed it to handle the pressure of champagne or the re-fermentation of white wine in a bottle.
Nowadays, I have heard that the punt was created to allow the sediment to collect and helped to prevent it from being poured from the bottle to a glass. I was always skeptical about this theory. The size of the punt doesn’t mean the quality of the wine is better. Sometimes, I have seen people look at the punt without knowing the wine, thinking the bigger the punt, the better the wine should be. That is not true. A deeper punt does make the wine bottle look pricier and more special.