Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Are you certain that the punts at the bottom of wine bottles don't have any significance or indication of quality? Flat-bottomed wines are by and large cheap, whereas better, more expensive wines seem to have deeper punts.
—@PMLEGEND, via Twitter
I stand by my assertion that you can’t make a judgment about a bottle of wine based on the depth of its punt (that indentation on the bottom of some bottles). Historically, making a punt in the base of a wine bottle added extra stability and structural integrity to the bottle, which was important—especially for sparkling wines, bottled under increased pressure—before technological advances in glass production made punts obsolete. Punted bottles are more expensive than flat-bottomed bottles, but by no more than a dime or so a bottle.
Of course, if you’re producing wine on a large scale, those nickels can add up, and I can see the desire to stick with the most affordable option. But I know plenty of terrific winemakers that are also frugal. While there is a perception that deep punts call for deep pockets, it's not as simple as thinking the bigger the punt the finer the wine—just take a look at a bottle of Louis Roederer Brut Champagne Cristal: No punt there!