Everything to know about glass bottles for wine

lineup of various wine bottles on a white background
9 min read

Glass bottles for wine

Wine bottles have come a long way since their inception. From the traditional bordelaise shape to lighter and more sustainable designs, the evolution of wine bottles has been led by both tradition and innovation.

History of wine bottles

Wine bottles have been around for centuries, and their evolution has been an interesting journey. The earliest wine bottles were made of clay or earthenware, which were used to store and transport wine in the Mediterranean region. As glass-making technology advanced, glass became the preferred material for wine bottles.

The many shapes of wine bottles

Wine bottles are an essential element of the wine industry. One thing that separates wine styles from one another is their shape—there's no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to wine bottles. Each wine bottle shape has its own unique history and purpose behind it. Here are a few of the most common styles on the market today.

[fs-toc-omit]Bordeaux/Claret bottle

The Bordeaux bottle is one of the most popular wine bottle shapes globally, used to store Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and other red wines. It is a straight-sided bottle with high shoulders, band, neck, shoulder, main body, and base. The Bordeaux bottle is usually green in color and has been used for centuries by winemakers in the Bordeaux region of France. This bottle shape is known for its serious appeal and recognizable look, which makes it popular among consumers.

3 different empty bordeaux bottles and a claret bottle example with wine and a label
Tapered and straight Bordeaux bottle shapes, also known as Claret bottles.

[fs-toc-omit]Burgundy bottle

The Burgundy bottle is another popular wine bottle shape originating from France's Burgundy region. This bottle has sloping shoulders and a wider bottom than the Bordeaux bottle. It is typically used to store Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and other white wines. The Burgundy bottle can be made of clear glass to showcase the color of the wine inside or it can be a green shade that is similar to the Bordeaux bottle.

3 different empty Burgundy bottles and a burgundy bottle example with wine and a label
Eco and premium Burgundy bottle shapes.

[fs-toc-omit]Hock bottle

The Hock bottle originated in Germany and is also known as the Rhine or Moselle bottle. This type of wine bottle has a tall, slender shape with a long neck that curves slightly at the top. It is commonly used for Riesling wines due to its ability to preserve their delicate flavors over time. The Hock bottle also features an elegant design, making it appealing to consumers looking for something special on their dinner tables.

3 different empty hock bottles and a hock bottle example with wine and a label
Eco and regular Hock bottle shapes.

[fs-toc-omit]Specialty bottles

The port bottle is one of the most recognizable wine bottles due to its distinct shape. This bottle was created in Portugal during the 18th century and was designed to be easily recognizable by merchants who were trading port wines around Europe. The unique shape also helps preserve the flavor and aroma of port wines, making them a favorite among connoisseurs.

Virginia dessert wine in a port bottle
Port-inspired dessert wine using a port bottle shape to indicate flavor profile.

Provence bottle is another popular wine bottle shape that originated in France's Provence region. This bottle has a sloping shoulder and a wide base which makes it easier to store on its side while preserving its contents. The unique shape also helps concentrate aromas within the bottle, making it ideal for storing full-bodied reds such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Bandol. In Provence, rosé wines can often be found in a curvy-sided bottle that is likened to a bowling skittle or a corset. These bottles are generally clear to show off the shade of the wine inside.

pretty Provence rose bottle with custom embossed glass bottle
Custom embossed Provence bottle shape for a vey fresh and appealing rosé packaging.

Tokaj bottle is an iconic Hungarian wine bottle with a bulbous bottom and long neck. It was designed specifically for storing sweet dessert wines such as Tokaji Aszú and Szamorodni, which are made from grapes affected by noble rot (botrytis cinerea). The bulbous bottom allows for more oxygenation, which helps bring out more complex flavors in these sweet wines.

tokaj bottle photographed entirely virtually by Outshinery
Distinctive Tokaj bottle for Hungarian wine.

Finally, there's the Chianti bottle, perhaps one of the most recognizable Italian wine bottles due to its distinctive straw basket wrapping, known as "fiasco." This traditional wrapping was originally used to protect fragile glass bottles during transport but has since become an iconic symbol of Italian winemaking culture. The straw basket also helps keep sediment away from corks while allowing air into the bottles so that Chianti can age gracefully over time.

chianty-style red wine from Napa winery, image by Outshinery
A twist on the characteristic chianti bottle for an Italian-inspired wine for a Napa winery.

[fs-toc-h3]Anatomy of a wine bottle

[fs-toc-omit]Shoulders

The shoulders are at the top of a wine bottle, just below the neck. They are sloping in shape and provide support when you pour out your glass of wine. The shoulders also help to keep sediment from settling in your glass as you pour.

[fs-toc-omit]Body

The body is where most of your favorite wines are stored! It’s usually made out of dark green glass, which helps protect against light that could spoil or damage the flavor of your favorite vintages over time.

[fs-toc-omit]Heel

The heel is located at the bottom part of a wine bottle, right above its punt (or indentation). This part helps with stability when pouring out your glass and provides extra insulation against temperature changes that could affect your precious cargo!

[fs-toc-omit]Punt

The punt is located at the very bottom part of a wine bottle and serves two main purposes: it helps with stability while pouring out your glass, and it also helps collect any sediment that may settle at the bottom during storage or aging processes.

graphic by Outshinery explaining the different part of a wine bottle
Anatomy of a wine bottle

[fs-toc-h3]Environmental impact of glass bottles

Traditional glass bottles can be heavy and bulky, making them difficult to transport and leading to an increased carbon footprint. In response to this problem, many winemakers have begun designing lighter bottles that use less material while still providing adequate protection for the wine inside. Additionally, some companies are experimenting with alternative materials such as paper-based packaging or even plastic bottles that reduce weight even further.

[fs-toc-h3]Branded/custom glass wine bottle

From custom engravings and embossing to unique punt shapes and mouth openings, various customization options are available that help the wine stand out from the competition on the (digital) shelves. Custom bottle designs are ideal for creating brand recognition and differentiating the wine from its competitors. These unique bottle designs also provide designers with an opportunity to express their creativity. From intricate etchings to bespoke punt shapes, there is no limit to what can be done when it comes to customizing a wine bottle, allowing for a more distinctive look. As wineries become more creative with their packaging designs, we can expect even more innovative ways of showcasing wines in order to capture customer attention and increase sales.

4 different wine bottles that are using custom glass designs for maximum shelf impact
Embossing a custom design, whether it's a seal, crest, or logo, on the shoulder of a bottle, along with a 360-degree surface design, are effective methods to stand out on store shelves.

[fs-toc-h3]Wine glass colors

Wine bottles come in a variety of colors, from the traditional antique green and dead leaf to more modern shades such as aqua blue and black. The choice of bottle color is not only aesthetically important but also affects the taste and lifespan of the wine inside.

[fs-toc-omit]Antique green, dead leaf, and amber glass

These are the most common glass colors for wine bottles. Historically, these colors were chosen because they provided protection against UV rays that can harm wine. Darker green was traditionally used for red wines, while lighter-colored bottles were used for white wines. However, with modern advances in glass technology, winemakers now have more options when it comes to choosing bottle colors.

4 classic glass colors for wine bottles: antique green, dead leaf green, light amber and dark amber
"Classic" wine glass colors: Antique | Dead leaf green | Light amber | Dark amber

[fs-toc-omit]Clear glass (also known as flint glass) and eco flint glass

For rosé and white wines, flint glass is often preferred due to its unique properties that make it better suited. Highly transparent and resistant to UV rays, making it ideal for protecting delicate wines from oxidation. Additionally, flint glass has a neutral pH level that won't alter the flavor of the wine, allowing producers to showcase their product in its purest form.

Flint eco glass is a innovative material is a significant step towards a greener future for the wine industry. This distinct glass type, while retaining the purity and clarity of traditional flint glass, brings an additional ecological benefit to the table. The slight teal blue hue that characterizes this eco-friendly glass is due to its higher recycled content. This coloration is a visual symbol of sustainability and a testament to the wine industry's commitment to environmental stewardship.

Manufactured  with cullet (recycled glass), flint eco glass reduces raw materials and energy use. This lowers the carbon footprint, making it an eco-friendly choice for wineries. By choosing flint eco glass, wineries show commitment to sustainability and premium packaging.

flint clear glass wine bottle example by Outshinery
Brilliant flint glass | Eco flint glass

[fs-toc-omit]Black glass (also known as onyx glass)

Although it is not a color by definition, black has a strong image associated with luxury, exclusivity, sophistication, and mystery. It looks stylish and gives an impression of distinction, grace, and rigor through its simplicity, sometimes even conveying mystery. Wineries should consider using black glass for their wine bottles due to its superior UV protection, design aesthetic, and sustainable packaging. Black glass offers wineries a unique way to stand out on store shelves with a glass that is both sophisticated and stylish that can help draw in customers. It also provides superior UV protection compared to other types of bottles, making it easier for wineries to keep their products on store shelves longer without worrying about spoilage or quality degradation over time.

Finally, black glass is a more sustainable option than other types of packaging materials since it can be recycled multiple times without losing any of its properties or quality. This makes it a great choice for wineries looking to reduce their environmental impact while still providing customers with premium presentations and excellent product protection.

black glass wine bottle example by Outshinery
Black onyx glass

[fs-toc-omit]The "new" glass colors:

Aqua blue, Sea-foam blue, Honey, Water Green, Moka, Jade Green, and many more!

In recent years, wineries have been experimenting with more unconventional colors. These unique tints can be a fun and eye-catching way for wineries to distinguish their product from the competition. For example, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc are types of white wines that have become increasingly popular in recent years. As a result, many wineries have chosen to use lightly teal-tinted glass for their bottles since it allows customers to see the beautiful golden hue of this particular type of white wine. Less conventional, these "new" glass colors allow wine brands to distinguish themselves and create a sense of luxury. Don't miss out!

6 empty wine bottles featuring different up-and-coming glass colors
"New" wine glass colors: Aqua blue | Sea-foam blue | Honey | Water Green | Moka | Jade green

[fs-toc-h3]Wine glass bottles, in summary

When it comes to selecting the perfect glass bottle for wineries, many factors must be taken into consideration. From shape and size to quality, the right bottle can make all the difference in how a wine is presented and experienced. Overall, the evolution of wine bottles has been driven by both tradition and innovation. Wine bottle suppliers continue to explore new ways to improve this age-old tradition while preserving its rich history and artistry. By combining classic shapes with modern materials and technologies, winemakers are able to create lighter and more sustainable bottles that still provide excellent protection for their contents while reducing their environmental impact at the same time. The proper bottles not only elevate the wine packaging but also ensure its longevity and enhance the customer's experience. Furthermore, they help create brand recognition and distinguish one wine brand from another.

Wine glass bottles suppliers/manufacturers:
  • Ardagh Group is a global supplier of sustainable, infinitely recyclable, metal and glass packaging for brand owners around the world. It has grown to become one of the world's largest metal and glass packaging producers, offering over 600 standard glass bottles and jars in various shapes, sizes, and colors.
  • Berlin Packaging is one of the leading global suppliers of rigid packaging products. They specialize in providing high-quality glass, plastic, and metal containers for a variety of industries.
  • Gallo Glass is one of the largest suppliers of glass containers in North America. They specialize in providing custom solutions for wineries looking to create unique packaging solutions.
  • Glopak specializes in supplying quality glass bottles for wines, spirits, beers, liqueurs, and other beverages. Their extensive range includes standard and custom designs to meet their customers' requirements.
  • OI Packaging is a leading supplier of glass bottles for the wine industry. Their products are designed to protect and display your wine with style and sophistication.
  • Orora Glass is an Australian company that specializes in producing high-quality glass bottles for the wine industry. Their products are designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and functional.
  • Saint Gobain is a global leader in the production of glass containers for the food and beverage industry. They specialize in high-quality bottles for wines, spirits, beers, ciders, juices, soft drinks, and more.
  • Saverglass is a French glass manufacturer specializing in luxury bottles for the wine, spirits, and champagne industries. They offer custom bottle designs and have a wide range of colors, shapes, and sizes to choose from.
  • TricorBraun WinePak is a premier wine packaging distributor that sources products from some of the best wine glass bottle suppliers in the world.
  • Verallia is a leading North American supplier of beer and liquor bottles as well as other beverage containers such as cans and jars. They are committed to providing innovative packaging solutions for their customers.
  • Vetropack is a leading glass packaging manufacturer in Europe, specializing in the production of bottles and jars for the food and beverage industry. With an emphasis on combining elegance with responsibility, Vetropack provides solutions that ensure safety and quality for its customers.
  • Waterloo Container is a family-owned and operated packaging provider specializing in glass bottles for the wine, spirits, and craft industries. They offer custom design services to create unique bottles that meet their customers' needs.
  • Winepak is a premier wine packaging distributor that sources products from some of the best wine glass bottle suppliers in the world. They provide a wide selection of bottles to suit any need or occasion.
whimsical wine label with a hollow diecut hole in the middle where we can see the wine through
Laurie MillotteYana

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