My friend Derrick, a wine and food blogger at An Obsession With Food, and more than occasional journalist has recently published an excellent piece of work relating the history of the wine bottle. As Derrick notes in his piece, we rarely pay very close attention to the one thing responsible for preserving our wine (in addition to the cork, which we know is a shifty character). Sure many people choose wines just based on how the bottle, and more often the label look to them. I've done it many times.
Over the years you also start to notice the weight of a bottle. When I have my monthly wine tasting get-togethers with friends, and we are blind tasting wines out of paper bags, it's impossible to avoid noticing which wines come in heavier (read: more expensive) glass bottles. These can be an unwanted (after all we're trying to be objective) tip-off to the fact that the wine itself is more expensive, and possibly French (especially when we're tasting Pinot Noir).
Winemakers are also starting to choose unusual bottle shapes as a matter of aesthetics and branding. Altamura, for instance, sells their Cabernet in a bottle that looks more like it should have balsamic vinegar in it, but it sure is easy for me to pick it out on a rack (mostly because the damn thing barely fits). Perhaps the coolest bottle I've seen in years is the one that hold Ramian wine these days, with its jewel-like integrated "R" and perfect polish.
I any case, I suggest you check out Derrick's article. It's worth a read for any serious wine aficionado.
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