What’s the Point of the Wine Punt?

Paso Robles Wineries Wine Punt

Why is yawning contagious? Why is the sky blue? Why is my terrier always so damn hyper? Why do wine bottles have that funny little hollow space at the bottom? Some questions are as old as time. Unlike most of these quandaries, some questions—like why in the world wine bottles have a punt—are easy enough to answer. You could ask Echo, Alexa or plain old Siri to answer this one for you, but why bring the robots into this when you have your very own know-it-all wine “expert” at your service? Now, allow me to explain this age-old mystery once and for all:

Wait. What’s a punt?

We’re not talking about football (which is actually something I know literally nothing about). Go to your kitchen and pick up a couple wine bottles. Aside from the varietals and vintages, a few things will stand out across all them: Each will have a cork or screw top, a relatively long neck, and a label. They’ve also got one other thing in common: the dimple below the bottom of the bottle, which inverts back into the wine with curved precision. If all good bottles have these divots, there must be a good reason for them, right?

Origins

This is big. The punt actually helps the wine bottle stand upright (a pretty important task if you ask me). As it turns out, glassblowers were the true brainchildren behind this genius invention. Back in the day, they began creating punts in bottles to ensure that their creations would stand securely and not topple over and break. This dimple also had another plus: By pushing the hot glass up and away from the edge of the bottle, glassblowers were able to effectively keep the “seam” of the bottle away from tender fingers, saving them from being cut on the lip of the fused glass. Ouch!

To have and to holdwine bottles showing wine punts

Anyone who’s carried a few bottles of wine at once knows that there’s something satisfying about digging your thumb into the punt of that glass. It feels…secure, natural. This is by design, allowing the rest of your fingers to latch onto the bottle with ease. If you’re carrying your bottles by gripping the widest part with your entire hand, you’re doing it all wrong. How barbaric!

Pressure, cooling, and cleaning

A few practical reasons why the punt is great: The divot makes wine more resistant to pressure, which comes in handy when you’re bottling sparkling wines. It also creates more surface area, and therefore helps cool wines better than a straight-cut bottom. When it comes to cleaning bottles before filling with wine, a punt is a Godsend, allowing water to spread more evenly throughout the bottom on the bottle, too. Hm. Never thought of that.

A sign of distinction

This is scary, but true: Back in the day, there were very few ways to know if a bottle wine was well made or not so great. I mean, remember those snake oil medicine peddlers in the Victorian era? They would throw a dash of vinegar into a bottle of water and claim it could cure all kinds of ailments. But I digress… Just as a fancy (expensive) embossed label could help indicate premium quality, an excellent punt could also allow the consumer to know if the wine was any good. These days, the punt has little correlation with quality and (thankfully) winemakers are required to put all kinds of signifying information onto the backs of labels. Knowledge is power, people.

Sediment snatchers

You know all those particles you find floating around in your glass from time to time? That is what we call sediment, and it’s oftentimes unavoidable. It’s harmless, really—but it can kind of taste like gritty sand on your tongue. Rest assured, dear drinker: the punt is always at work attempting to catch all of those annoying floaties, which are attracted to the tight area near the base. Of course, the punt can’t catch them all (it can’t do everything!). Just be stoked that the punt is doing its job day in and day out. That humble dimple sure does don a lot of different hats.


 

Start the Year off Right With These Quality Winter Reds:

 

Lone Madrone 2013 Tannant

With great warmth and aromas of blackberry, ollalieberry and plum, this wine opens up to flavors of baking spice and vanilla. Can you think of a better winter sipper to cut the edge of the nip? Serve with bourbon glazed steak and baked sweet potatoes.

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Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/LoneMadrone

 

Lusso Della Terra: 2011 Sangiovese

A showy nose of violet perfume and grape candy emerges with a bold touch of licorice. From a winery named after the phrase, “Luxury of the land,” you know that this sophisticated red will get you through those January doldrums in style.

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Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/LDT

 

LXV Wine: 2015 Crimson Jewel Sangiovese and Petite Verdot Blend

Looking for a talking piece that keeps the party roaring like a well stoked fire? This wine’s unique blend offers up a generous, fruit-driven nose and lively full-bodied palate. It is both rustic and lush, inspired by Maniragakarajnana, the KamaSutra Art of Precious Stones. Pair with Porchini Mushroom powder, Garlic powder, Black sea salt, Anchur powder, Saffron. That’ll spice things up!

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Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/LXVWine

 

Michael Gill Cellars: 2011 Tuxedo Syrah

You’ll have to head to the Michael Gill tasting room to get a whiff of this fantastic small lot wine, but that’s not a bad thing! Make the trek and experience the intense boysenberry-driven flavor profile coupled with black pepper, cardamom, vanilla cola, and black licorice. Pair with your heartiest winter fare. May we recommend prime rib roast and garlic sautéed rainbow chard? Mmm. Now that sounds rich.

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Mapping and Directions: speedfind.com/MichaelGillCellars

 

Hearst Ranch: 2013 “Lone Tree” Cabernet Franc

Impress the heck out of ‘em. With strong aromas of dark cherry and tobacco buoyed by secondary tone of violets and wet earth, this wine tastes of stone fruit tinged with French oak. Read: It’s the perfect thing to pour when your boss comes over (or on your third date). Did we mention it won 91 points from Viinous? Very nice, indeed.

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Mapping and Directions to San Simeon location: speedfind.com/HearstRanchWinery
Mapping and Directions to Cholame location: speedfind.com/HearstRanch


This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at hthomas@newtimesslo.com or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.


photo credit: Thomas Hawk Be Here to Love Me via photopin (license)
photo credit: Dan O’Cker Wall of Wine via photopin (license)


If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:

Adelaide Inn

The Adelaide Inn is an iconic, locally owned hotel known for its friendly staff and lush landscaping. With spacious rooms and a convenient location close to highway 101 and the event center – home of the California Mid-State Fair – this hotel is a great choice for most travelers.

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Directions: speedfind.com/AdelaideInn


La Bellasera Hotel & Suites
La Bellasera Hotel & Suites is an elegant boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Central Coast Wine Country. Influenced by Mediterranean and Italian architecture, the luxurious accommodations reflect the aged sophistication of the Central Coast region and the relaxed nature of the California countryside.
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Directions: speedfind.com/LaBellasera

 

Hampton Inn & Suites - Paso Robles

Hampton Inn & Suites Paso Robles is nestled in the Central Coast wine region, home to over 200 wineries, beautiful beaches, mountains and diverse attractions. Relax and revive in a comfortable guest room with all you need for a successful stay. You can count on Hampton to deliver value, consistency and service with a smile. We love having you here®
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Directions: speedfind.com/PRWine.HamptonInn

 

Lekai-Ranch_Featured-ImageExperience the pristine countryside of Paso Robles Wine Country at Lekai Ranch. Lounge on the porch of your private suite and lose yourself in the tranquility and stunning views of the vineyards and oak studded hills beyond. This vacation rental is located just minutes from some of the most distinguished wineries and a premier olive oil estate, and only 15 minutes from downtown Paso Robles’ restaurants, wineries and shopping.

Make Reservations

Directions: speedfind.com/Lekai | vrbo.com/701796

 

JUST Inn at Justin Vineyards

Enjoy the elegance, style and natural beauty of California’s Central Coast at the JUST Inn®. Surrounded by vineyards, our JUST Inn Suites offer luxurious appointments like fireplaces, Tempur-Pedic®mattresses, Frette linens, hydro-spa tubs, and range in size from 600–1,200 square feet. An overnight stay includes breakfast and a tour of the winery and caves.

Make Reservations  Directions:  speedfind.com/JustinWine

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