Does a wine bottle punt mean better quality? – Ask Decanter

Do all wine bottles have a punt?

Emma Bell, London, asks: I opened a Riesling recently that didn’t have a punt – I thought all wine bottles did? And is there a correlation between wine quality and size of the punt, or is ‘the bigger the better’ just an urban myth?

Image: Wine bottle punts, credit Decanter
Image: Wine bottle punts, credit Decanter

Justin Knock MW replies: It’s a good question – all Riesling lacks a punt.

· Can house wine be trusted?

The reasons are largely historical and hark back to different bottle-manufacturing technology in Germany, the homeland of Riesling, though the bottle shape and lack of a punt has persisted across the world today for these wines.

Punts were an artefact rather than an intention of bottle manufacturing. Some saw them as advantageous for reds, enabling better sediment separation for decanting, and for greater bottle strength – important for sparkling wine.

· How to sabre Champagne

Puntless bottles need less glass and are therefore cheaper to manufacture and transport.

It may simply be that the creators of the Hock bottle in Germany had more sophisticated glass-manufacturing technology, with its global adoption most likely driven in an era when Hock-style wines were more highly prized.

Image: Wine bottle punts, credit Decanter
Image: Wine bottle punts, credit Decanter

Quality and the wine bottle punt

Editor’s note: While opinion differs on the usefulness of the wine bottle punt versus its aesthetic tradition, most critics argue that a wine’s quality can’t be judged on the size of the punt.

If any correlation exists, some have pointed out that wines at cheaper prices must be produced with lower costs. It is arguable, on this basis, that premium wines are more likely to have a punt because this requires more glass.

But, as the Riesling example above shows, this is far from a universal rule and would be a blunt instrument for anyone trying to measure quality.

All rights reserved by Future plc. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Decanter.

Only Official Media Partners (see About us) of may republish part of the content from the site without prior permission under strict Terms & Conditions. Contact to learn about how to become an Official Media Partner of