March 22, 2017
A punt is not only a football play, or a flat-bottom small boat, or a huge shotgun, it is also the indentation at the bottom of most red wine bottles - and certainly of all sparkling wines.
There are quite a few theories about the origins of the punt; in my opinion the most plausible is this one: The first thick glass bottles were hand blown. Since the tendency of blown glass is to be round like a balloon a steel rod called ''pontil'' was pushed into the bottle from the bottom while the glass was still soft. This created the punt which gave the bottle a flat ring shape bottom and enabled the bottle to stand upright without tipping over.
Nowadays bottles are machine blown into molds, but the punt remains, and thus all kinds of ''reasons'' for the continued existence of the punt came to be. Below are some - with the Winedabbler's opinion:
Wrong. This theory does not hold water - sorry, make that wine - because the content of a standard wine bottle is always 0.75 liter.
Wrong. If you hold a bottle past 90° any sediment may come out, with or without a punt.
Wrong for wine, right for sparkling wines. Wine does not build up pressure, but sparkling has up to 90 psi and needs the punt as well as much thicker glass.
Wrong. Yes, you can hold a bottle like that, but why would you if there are much easier ways to pour?
Wrong. That may have been true at some time but is certainly no longer the case.
Right. I'll buy that one.
In any case, never try to punt a wine bottle football style. It will hurt.