Bottle shapes!

You can play CSI: Vino pretty well armed with a few tricks. Today’s installment involves the shape of the bottle. Of course, there are exceptions, but for the most part, you can expect certain wines to reliably come in similar bottles. Today, I’m keeping to still wines (sparkling has variants, too!) and the main three shapes you’re likely to encounter no matter where you shop.

This stuff comes in handy when trying to branch out but the information on the front of the bottle isn’t immediately helpful. Don’t get stuck drinking the same stuff because old-world terminology is different. All of this is knowable! One step at a time, you and me.

For instance, the bottle style below is referred to as the Bordeaux shape. It’s simple, elegant, with high shoulders and straight sides.

You’ll typically find the following wines in this kind of bottle (or variant thereof, like this completely sexy example, with extra high shoulders and a tapered body):

Cabernet (Franc, Sauvignon)

Bordeaux blends


Pinot Grigio

Chenin Blanc

Meritage blends


The shape I have crudely replicated below is the Burgundy or “Bourgogne” bottle. The shoulders slope less, and the sides descend to a generous hip-heavy bottom. It’s a bottle after my own figure, to be sure.

Certain wines, like those from the Rhône, will even be embossed with family crests or other neat designs. In this stately bottle, you’ll find:

Pinot Noir (swoon)

Côtes du Rhône (tannin swoon)

Chardonnay (swoony swoon)


Many Loire wines, like Touraine Sauv Blanc (swooooooooon!)

So basically I love wines in this chubby bottle.

Last on this simplified list are the sleek and aerodynamic Alsace and German style bottles.

Slim necked, narrow sided, you’ll find:

Reisling (both German and French)


Picpoul de Pinet (so much fun to say)

Grüner Veltliner 

I haven’t come across many red wines in these skinny minnies, but they could be out there. So next time you’re looking for, let’s say, a fruity, dry, white wine- you know you can look for a skinny bottle like the one above, and you make sure it’s from France. Or maybe you want a Pinot Noir. Look for the bottle with hips!

Next time: REDS!  From light and breezy to dark and stormy, let’s give you something new to try, based on what you already like.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *