I’ve noticed in recent weeks that more people in the industry are talking about "high-end" bottles and how much they weigh and how awkward they are to pour.
There’s also the issue of drinking from a heavy bottle … you always think there’s more wine in it even when it’s empty.
I suppose we’ve all been impressed at one time or another by barbell bottles, and certainly when they were first used years ago they made a statement. I know that when I pour wine from barbell bottles at dinner parties many people are awed and there’s an impression that larger, heavier bottles contain better wine.
But for me the novelty has long since passed.
Of course, heavy bottles have nothing to do with wine quality, or, as a far as I know, anything to do with a wine’s aging ability. Big bottles are also harder to store in wine racks, or bins. But bottle size and shape is a distinguishing marketing feature and a way for a winery to have its product stand out in a crowd.
And then there is the carbon footprint issue that relates to the extra glass needed for these large, heavy bottles, the weight and fuel needed for shipping them and, ultimately, whether or not these bottles are even merited.
For fun, we did some ad hoc research. We weighed a few empty bottles. The lightest we found was 1.19 pounds and the heaviest tipped the scale at 2.65 pounds, and we think we’ve had bottles that were close to 4 pounds.
Should winemakers abandon the barbell bottles in the spirit of eco-responsibility (and leadership) and orthopedic health?