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The guide to wine bottle shapes

A guide to French wine bottles

· Wine Culture

Until the 17th century, wine was kept in barrels. Not so convenient for transportation nor so waterproof, a solution had to be found.

It is the English who first had the idea to bottle French and Portuguese wines in thick, dark glass to protect it from sunlight and to ensure better conditions during its transportation.

In the 18th century, the bottle became the norm for keeping the wine in the whole France. However, different bottle shapes appeared in the different regions. Let’s take a look !

The Bordeaux bottle

With its cylindrical shape, straight sides and tall shoulders, this iconic bottle is synonymous with quality and is the most used around the world. It is also called « frontignan » in Bordeaux.

The Burgundy bottle

This bottle appeared in Burgundy during the end of the 17th century. It has a wide base and a narrower neck with sloping and elegant shoulders. A famous exception in Bordeaux, Château Haut-Brion, still uses it today.

The Alsace bottle

Contrary to the two previous ones, the law says that winemakers in Alsace must use this bottle, called « flûte ». It is the highest shape of all and is protected by a law from 1955.

The champagne bottle

This bottle is the reason why champagne winemaking became possible in the late 17th century. The high pressure caused by the second fermentation in the bottle, required a thicker glass, that the English once again provided the French.

The Provence bottle

In the 19th century, a unique bottle shape was born in Provence, called « flûte à corset », resembling a woman wearing a corset. Today, the Bordeaux bottle is more commonly seen in Provence to bottle its delicate and elegant rosé wines.

The Jura bottle

The traditional bottle for the legendary « Vin jaune » from Jura is called « clavelin » and contrary to all the other ones, this one contains 62cl of wine (not 75cl). This is because during its 6 years of ageing, 13cl of this exceptional wine evaporates.

The other types of wines from Jura are bottled in a shape resembling the Burgundy bottle. Truly amazing wines that we should see more often in China !

Now that you know all about its bottle shapes, take a look at France’s wine glasses !

Founded in 2018 by Matthieu Ventelon, Hedonia is the first institution in China combining professional Wine and Etiquette expertise in the same training offer.

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