Have you noticed some interesting bottle shapes on the shelves lately?
Wine bottle shapes are often traditional, intended to enhance production and storage but also to identify the type of wine in the bottle. Bordeaux is the most common wine bottle and is typically used for its namesake bordeaux wines as well as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The bordeaux bottle has a short neck, tall shoulders and a distinctive punt – that depression in the bottom of the bottle. Pinot noir, chablis and chardonnay are typically stored in the burgundy bottle, with sloped shoulders that veer toward the bottle’s body. German wines and their counterparts come in what are called Hock or Rhine bottles that are tall and lean with no noticeable shoulders. Finally, champagne (and sparkling wine) bottles are broader and thicker, with a very large punt, and are designed to withstand high pressure.
Some wineries, such as Voga and Travaglini, have embraced non-traditional bottling and packaging to make their products stand out on the shelves. Voga wines come in a sleek, modern, cylindrical bottle that sets it apart from its traditionally bottled counterparts. Travaglini wines are easily recognized by their distinctive bottle, featuring a unique curve that fits into the palm of the hand and doubles to catch sediment before it reaches the glass. Francis Coppola Winery, on the other hand, pushes tradition from the opposite direction. Coppola now offers wine in a refillable jug, a design conceived from the childhood memory of his father storing wine in jugs.
Liquors, much more than wines, often branch out from traditional bottle shapes. Popular liquors, such as St. Germaine and Chambord, showcase unusually shaped bottles that have come to define their brands and make them more identifiable and memorable. SIA scotch whisky features a curved body that adds femininity to the traditionally masculine world of scotch. The label wraps elegantly around the bottle, but the bold font balances the delicate arch. It is often a design and engineering challenge to create a label that fits a unique bottle, physically and stylistically. But the draw of that unique shape on the shelf, and the enhancement to the brand’s image, makes all the effort worth it.