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Joshua Weatherwax

Parts of a Wine Bottle: The Anatomy of a Wine Bottle

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Wine bottles seem like they should be simple. But, with so many different wine bottle sizes (and liquor bottle sizes) and varying wine bottle dimensions, it's a lot more complicated than people think, even with straightforward wine marketing.

Unless you're a sommelier, you probably can't name all the parts of a wine bottle. However, knowing the parts can not only make you impressive to your friends, but it can also actually help you get better at pouring wine. It's even important to learn if you're figuring out how to open a winery.

Keep reading to learn more about the different parts of a wine bottle, check out our diagram of the anatomy of a wine bottle, and get answers to some common questions.

What Are the Parts of a Wine Bottle

A wine bottle consists of about eight parts; the closure, capsule, neck, shoulders, body, label, heel, and punt. However, not all of these parts are as important as the others.

Here are the parts of a wine bottle and their purpose:

  • Closure. Not surprisingly, the closure refers to the part of the bottle that seals the wine in to keep it safe from oxidation. This may be a screw cap, but in most wines, it will be a cork. The value of the closure is that it keeps the wine safe and prevents leakage in either direction. Without the closure, wine can go bad in mere hours.
  • Capsule. One part of the wine bottle that few people realize is important is the capsule. This is the foil wrapping that goes around the closure and its main purpose is to protect the cork from water and air. It is one of the most important parts because it keeps corks from crumbling or breaking and exposing the wine. If you have ever enjoyed any delicious aged wine, you owe that to the capsule. Users of the BinWise Pro bar inventory system have access to a corked wine report, so you can easily get refunds or replacements from your suppliers when you come across these issues.
  • Neck. As you might expect, the neck is the long, slender portion of the bottle just below the closure and capsule. Not only is the neck the key to the standard wine pour, but it can also help you see if there's sediment in your wine or if there's been a leak. If the level of wine in an unopened bottle isn't in the neck, there's likely been an issue and you shouldn't drink it.
  • Shoulders. The shoulders are the part of the wine bottle below the neck where the bottle widens. The shoulders are generally described as high, mid, or low depending on the type of wine bottle as they can vary between red wine types and types of white wine. They can also be used to evaluate the condition of an older wine bottle and the wine storage. Improper storage can cause leakage, bottle shock, and more.
  • Body. The largest part of most wine bottles is the body. It is the widest part and is responsible for actually holding the wine. However, it's important to know that the shape of the body can vary, so you may not get exactly 750 mLs of wine.
  • Label. Though not necessary for a bottle, many consider the label to be a part of the bottle itself. This label will tell you the vintner, type of wine, age, wine alcohol content, and more. They may even indicate if it's a gluten free wine or a low calorie wine. Many questions can be answered just by reading the label.
  • Heel. Like the part of a foot, the heel of the bottle is the base and the part that will be in contact with the table. It only serves one purpose; to keep the bottle upright and safe from falling over.
  • Punt. Not all wine bottles have a distinct punt, but this is the dimple in the base of the wine bottle that goes up into the body. The main purpose of the punt is to strengthen the bottle to avoid breaking if it falls. It also helps wine chill more quickly and many sommeliers will keep their thumb in the punt when serving to make it appear more elegant.

Parts of a Wine Bottle Diagram

To help you better understand the anatomy of a wine bottle, we’ve got a handy visual tool for you below. The parts of a wine bottle, clearly labeled below, are the closure, capsule, neck, shoulders, body, label, heel, and punt.

the parts of a wine bottle

Frequently Asked Questions About the Parts of a Wine Bottle

Wine bottles have been a mainstay of world culture for more than a thousand years. That means there have been questions about wine bottles for just as long.

To help demystify these wonderful vessels, we've pulled together some of the most frequently asked questions about the parts of a wine bottle. Take a look at the questions with our answers below: 

Why Does a Wine Bottle Have a Punt?

The punt at the bottom increases the surface area of the wine and helps the wine get chilled more quickly when put in a bucket of ice. This is why punts on white wine bottles tend to be deeper than reds. This also makes it easier to freeze wine on accident.

Why Are All Wine Bottles the Same?

They aren't! Wine bottles can actually be one of many shapes and sizes. However, most vintners use the standard 750mL bottle because it's easier to transport and store a case of wine when there's no variation. These bottles also have a long history and customers have faith in them.

What Shape Is a Wine Bottle?

The most common shape for a wine bottle is called the Bordeaux, named after the wine varietal. It is noted for having straight sides and high, distinct shoulders. However, there are at least five other shapes with varying shoulders, sides, and even concave sections.

'Til Death Do Us Part

Now that you know all about the different parts of a wine bottle, make sure you adhere to the correct wine storage temperature and use the proper wine cellar lighting to keep that wine safe. Knowledge is only good when you use it.

For even more help tracking your wine bottles, think seriously about using a bar inventory system like BinWise and our accompanying barcode scanner app. It speeds the entire inventory process up and gives you all the data you need to make profitable decisions. Book a demo and let us show you exactly how BinWise will help.

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