Woah. There’s a lot of bottle types here.
What makes one better or worse than the other?
It’s true, we have 13 styles of wine packaged in 5 types of bottles:
- Green bottles
- “Dead Leaf” bottles
- Clear bottles
- Blue bottles
- Thin Green bottles
That’s only the color differences. You may have noticed they are all different shapes, as well. Thick around the bottom, medium build, tall and skinny…
So.. What gives? Why are they all different?
The short answer: Because I like a variety. 🙂
The long answer: Ok, you asked for it.
You may have heard somewhere that colored bottles are better for the wine. This is true. As a winemaker, my main goal is to make sure the wine tastes the same from when I bottle it to when you drink it. One of the major changes that could take place (under the worst circumstances) is oxidation. Our usage of screw caps helps prevent oxygen from getting into the bottle during storage (explained in a previous post), but the bottling process isn’t perfect, and the bottle will have some oxygen inside just from the bottling process. Luckily, wine has natural antioxidants which help to remove the threat of this oxygen. But…. these hero particles are degraded by sunlight. SO… colored bottles are used to help prevent the sun from destroying the antioxidants.
TL;DR: Color prevents destruction of antioxidants, antioxidants prevent oxidation of wine.
“Wait…. you have clear bottles at Soldier Creek, too!”
You’re right, we do. Oxidation doesn’t happen immediately, it happens over many many months, or years. The wines we have in clear bottles… well… let’s be honest. I don’t store those on the shelf at home long enough to worry about oxidation (*cough* Paragon Pink :). In this case, I much more care that you see the mouth-watering color of the wine, rather than protect it from sunlight over long-term storage.
The different bottle shapes at Soldier Creek Winery are influenced by traditional shapes used in traditional, European winemaking areas.
At Soldier Creek, we use 3 shapes:
- Bordeaux: This is a stately, elegant, straight bottle with broad shoulders. We also chose to have a significant punt for our Bordeaux bottles. The style originates from the southwest of France, and was traditionally used for bold Bordeaux reds. The New World wine industry has used this bottle style for a large portion of red wine varieties, and we are no different. In this bottle style, you can find our Foch, Marquette Reserve, Frontenac, Rubra, Marquette, and Geneva Red 7 (in green), and even our Paragon Pink and Frontenac Gris Rosé (in clear).
- Burgundy: Also originating from France, the Burgundy bottle is a bit thicker in girth with sloping shoulders, and a significant punt. In the wine shop, you might see Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in a Burgundy bottle. At Soldier Creek, you can find our La Crescent and St. Pepin (both whites), and our St. Croix (red) in a Burgundy.
- Hoch: This is the tall, skinny bottle with dramatic (almost nonexistent!) shoulders. It originates from Germany, Land of Rieslings. In fact, hoch translates to “high” in German. Riesling from the wine shop? In a hoch bottle. Brianna or Goldenrod from Soldier Creek Winery? In a hoch bottle.
- There are many other bottle styles found around the world that you can’t find at Soldier Creek. You may have seen a Champagne, Chianti, or Port bottle to name a few. Or maybe even a saxophone?
Seems simple enough.
We like to change things up a bit. If everything looks the same, it’s hard to tell the wines apart (we learned our lesson with the labels… maybe a future blog topic). Having a variety of bottles helps us and you keep track of what’s what. Now go home and enjoy emptying those bottles!!