They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This isn’t only true for people, it’s true for packaging, too. If you’re in the wine industry, you may be overwhelmed with the variety of wine bottles and closures on the market. Our wine bottle buying guide can help you navigate through the wine aisle with ease.
Choose Your Wine Bottle Color
There are a variety of colored glass bottles that are commonly used in wine bottling – and the color is not simply an aesthetic preference, it also serves an important function for the product inside. When you’re making packaging decisions, keep in mind the storage of the wine in question. If the wine you are bottling is sensitive to ultraviolet rays, a clear bottle can cause damage to the product inside. In this case you may opt for a darker color bottle that provides the contents with UV protection. The most common bottle colors are clear, green, amber and blue.
Clear Wine Bottles
If you’re looking to showcase the color of your wine, you may opt for a clear glass wine bottle . Clear bottles are popular with blush colored wines such as White Zinfandels. Clear glass wine bottles are generally used for lighter wines such as white wines, rosé wines, sweet reds, and fruit wines that tend to be refrigerated and kept out of sunlight – as clear bottles do not offer protection from UV rays.s.
Antique Green and Amber Wine Bottles
For many red wines that need longer to age, consider a darker colored bottle such as antique green or amber. These bottles provide more UV protection than clear bottles, helping to preserve your product as it ages and prevent it from oxidizing or fading.
Blue Wine Bottles
These dark sapphire colored bottles are a non-traditional color choice for wine bottling. Rising in popularity today, this unique color is popping up on more and more retail shelves due to its striking shelf appeal. Blue wine bottles are typically used for Riesling, Moscato, Gewürztraminer, and iced wines.
Choose Your Wine Bottle Size
The next consideration when selecting a container for your wine, is the size of the container itself. The most common bottle capacities on the market today are 12.7 oz (375 ml) – also called a split, 25.5oz (750 ml), or 50.7 oz (1.5 liter). These three bottle sizes are the general standard in the industry due to the neck size. All three bottles can accommodate standard corks (#7, #8,# 9).
For single serving portions, you can find mini bottles with a 187 ml capacity. These bottles generally feature an ROPP finish for ease of use when traveling. Bottles larger than 1.5 liters require larger corks. Most standard corking machines do not accommodate corks larger than the #9 standard cork, making cork insertion a challenge to many vintners.
Choose Your Wine Bottle Shape
Once you know your color and capacity, it’s time to determine the shape of the bottle to use. There are four bottle shape categories to choose from: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Hock and specialty shaped bottles.
Bordeaux Wine Bottles
Also known as Claret bottles, Bordeaux wine bottles are best known for their high, pronounced shoulders and sturdy, wide base. The high shouldered profile allows them to be stacked atop each other on their sides for long term storage. Storing the bottle on its side allows the cork to remain moist as the wine ages. Bordeaux bottles are available with flat or dimpled bottoms. Dimpled bases (also called “punts”) allow sediments to fall to the lowest point of the bottle, separating from the wine. Some of the most common wines stored in Bordeaux bottles include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and some white wines that are made with Sauvignon Blanc.
Burgundy Wine Bottles
Unlike its high shouldered sister, the Bordeaux bottle, the Burgundy bottle has gently sloping shoulders that are less pronounced. Because of this shape difference, Burgundy bottles cannot be stored on their sides. Traditional wines stored in Burgundy bottles include Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Hock & Specialty Wine Bottles
Hock bottles, available in a variety of colors, feature tall and slender profiles. These slim bottles are commonly found housing sweet wines and Rieslings. There are also a variety of specialty shapes and sizes available, such as bottles for Champagne, sparkling wine, specialty dessert wines, and iced wine.
Choose Your Wine Bottle Closure
You’ve selected your wine bottle size, color and shape – but you’re not finished just yet. The type of closure that your bottle requires is as important as the more aesthetic choices in color and shape. In the modern wine industry, there are a variety of closures available to choose from, each with its own unique benefit – and tailored to your specific neck finish.
Standard Wine Bottle Cork Closure
Anyone who has ever purchased a bottle of wine is familiar with the standard cork. If you choose a standard cork closure for your wine bottle, make sure that the bottle you have selected has a cork finish; these bottles are specifically designed to accept tapered corks. Once you’ve decided to go with a standard cork finished bottle, you will need to select your cork. Standard wine cork sizes are #7, #8, #9 and will depend upon the size of the neck finish on the bottle selected. Be careful to select a premium wine cork, most commonly made in Portugal, to properly preserve your wine as it ages.
Synthetic Wine Bottle Corks
Synthetic wine corks have been rising in popularity since the 1990s, when there was a shortage of cork trees. Synthetic corks are easier to remove from wine bottles using a cork screw than standard corks, and easier to re-insert into the bottle to store leftover wine. However, synthetic corks do not allow the wine to breathe and therefore are not suggested for wines that will be stored for over 2-3 years.
Roll-On Pilfer Proof Caps (a.k.a. ROPP Caps), are growing in popularity in the wine market today. ROPP Caps provide an easy way to seal your bottles. When unscrewed, the cap leaves behind a tamper-evident band alerting customers that the packaging has been compromised. When the customer needs to store the remaining product, the cap can be screwed back onto the bottle. ROPP Caps are available in a variety of colors to suit your unique brand. ROPP Caps must be used with bottles that have an ROPP finish and applied with a ROPP capping machine . With the trend toward more ROPP caps, capping solutions are becoming easier. To support this growing trend, you can find a “Mobile Bottler,” who will travel to your winery to offer capping services.
Screw Top Cap
Wine bottles with continuous thread (CT) finish, accommodate screw-top caps. These plastic caps allow the wine to be opened and resealed for use again in the future. Screw-top caps should be covered by shrink bands to alert the customer to a product that may have been tampered with or opened.
Wine Bottle Shrink Capsules
If you select a cork closure for your wine bottle, the final step in the process is selecting a shrink capsule to cover the cork and neck. Wine capsules are heat shrink wraps that are placed over the neck of the corked bottle. Heat is applied with a heat gun to shrink the capsule to the neck of the bottle. This final touch will cover the cork and neck of the bottle – while providing customers with the ability to identify a bottle that has been compromised.