Taking a punt – according to most dictionaries – means to take a chance, to give something a go or even to take a flat-bottomed ferry boat. You could also be handed a long pole and then ushered onto a long thin boat in order to propel it along a canal.
In the wine world, a punt is something completely different. It refers to the indent, or dimple, at the bottom of a wine bottle. Its purpose has various interpretations.
Firstly, it increases the strength of the bottle, not just for the high pressure of sparkling wine/champagne, but also for transporting your wine safely to wine merchants and local restaurants. Another important reason stems from when wine bottles were hand blown leaving a mark on the bottom of the bottle. By indenting it, the bottle would be more stable and it wouldn’t scratch the table.
The punt also creates an area for sediment to collect in the bottom of the bottle, thereby preventing most of it from being poured into your glass. Nowadays a lot of red wine contains less of this sediment as it’s drunk rather young, but the punt is part of our wine history and culture.
In the process of making champagne the bottles need to be turned regularly – a process called ‘riddling’ – so the indent (as well as providing strength) gives a good place to grip the bottle in the rack. It also makes it easier to clean the bottle during the wine bottling process, helping the water to disperse and remove any residue prior to adding the wine.
With the various reasons for having the indent in the bottom of the bottle, it could be argued that every time you pick up a bottle you are taking a ‘punt’. Even more so when you hold the bottle with your thumb in the dent to pour the wine – it’s not as easy as it looks and could create a lot of drama by slipping out of your hand…
In the Mirabeau world, punts have special meaning – not only do they protect the wine so you can enjoy it with family and friends, they also help show off the posh pink beautifully.
And Stephen and Jeany took a punt in pursuit of their big adventure; following a dream and succeeding.