If you venture into your local Supermarket nowadays, the vast majority of wine bottles being sold are more or less in 2 or 3 sizes and shapes (less the ‘dimple effect’ of course!) But, it hasn’t always been like this, and bottles sold in supermarkets are normally required to be of a certain size and shape nowadays because of storage and transportation requirements. But, purchase your wines away from supermarkets, and it can be a whole different ball game…

The wine experts amongst us will probably like to state that the difference in shapes is because of the way wine can be decanted, and thus ultimately reflect its final appearance and taste. But, it’s really more down to a reason of history and tradition, with a few practical explanations.

If we go back a century or two, wine producers in the (then) traditional wine growing areas tended to sell or exchange their wines more locally than export overseas and compete with our producers from other regions. So, their wine ‘vessels’ were really all they knew. As it happens, most bottles ended up looking fairly similar anyway. Some were designed because of a required elegance and others were designed because of the ease of manufacture. But wine bottles of a certain era and even to so some extent today, can help identify the region from which the wine is produced.

More recently, and moreso in France, bottles again have been designed to be different – sometimes with a crooked neck or a taller, more slender shape. A marketing ‘gimmick’ if you like with a little history and traditional thrown in too.

However, we mentioned at the beginning of this article that most wine bottles sold in supermarkets are in 2 or 3 shapes. The 3 most typical shaped bottles tend to be referred to as the ‘Bordeaux’, ‘Burgundy’ and ‘Mosel’. These are easily recognised, in respective forms as the stereo-typical bottle with broad shoulders, the slightly more slender shouldered bottle and the taller, thinner bottle.

Whichever bottle your wine is poured from this weekend though, we don’t think it should detract too much from your overall enjoyment of the wine itself.