You may have noticed that French wine bottles don’t always have the same shape. For example, bottles from Alsace are slender while others are rounded, straight or large. So, why?
There are two main reasons – traditions and regulations.
Each wine-producing region chooses its favourite shape between the late 17th century and the middle of the 20th century. The shape of the wine bottles then become an element of the character of each region. These regions keep bottling their wine in the shape chosen a few centuries ago for the sake of traditions. However, local regulations compel others to do so. For instance, winemakers in Alsace must bottle their wines in a specific shape, which is protected by a local decree in 1955.
In spite of this, it does not mean that you can identify the country of production by identifying the bottle’s shape. Since not all shapes are patented, other countries can sell their wines in the exact bottle. For example, the shape of a Bordeaux bottle is commonly used by wine producers in South Africa, Chile, in the USA and in Italia.
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