What's the purpose of the small indentation on the back of a wine bottle, near the base?

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Dear Dr. Vinny,

I recently discovered a small indentation on the back of some wine bottles, near the base. What’s that for?

—Fernando, San Antonio, Texas

Dear Fernando,

First, to clarify for others, we’re not talking about the big indentation, or “punt,” in the base of most wine bottles. There’s also sometimes a small indentation or notch on the back of a wine bottle, near the base or sometimes in the base itself, about the width of a drinking straw. It’s sometimes referred to as the “keyhole,” and it’s used to align bottles when their labels are being applied. And now you know!

—Dr. Vinny

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