The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 11 No. 25 - March 23, 2011


Messing with bottles


Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

Marketers tricks with bottles make you think you are getting more.

Growing up in the rugged coves of Nova Scotia, we spent a lot of time throwing rocks.

There was not much else to throw, and God knows there were a lot of rocks.

Some of our rock throwing may have had religious significance. There was a preponderance of Protestants in front of our rocks.

The Protestants were fun to throw at because they threw back.

Entire summers were spent skirmishing along the shoreline. Slate was used for distance barrage, smooth round beach stones for accuracy and sniping, gravel for hedge warfare and ambushes.

We used bottles for target practice. There were no wine bottles just rum and beer bottles. Chucking rocks at bottles worked great. It was fun when they shattered, and later we could go back to the folks who owned the waterfront houses and get paid to pick up the glass.

Thirty years later, a wine salesman came in to my restaurant excited about selling me a new wine called Murphy-Goode.

He thought I would buy the wine because of the Murphy on the label.

He had no idea that my compatriots in the rock-throwing wars of my lost youth were my cousins the Goode brothers – Tommy, Freddy and John.

I bought that first case of Murphy-Goode as a momento of our rock-throwing days. I sent half the case to the Goode cousins.

They wrote back that they really enjoyed the wine once they figured out how to get the corks out. They got hammered, lined up the empties and threw rocks at them.

Bottles in wine world are changing.

Two hundred years ago in France there were generally only two kinds of bottles.

There were short fat bottles from Burgundy and tall skinny bottles from Bordeaux.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay went in the short fat bottles and Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc went in the tall skinny bottles.

That is still pretty much the case today but the marketers love to tamper with the system. Petit Syrah might show up in anything – and there is of course the fish bottle.

The latest trick from the marketers involves the hefty bottle.

The hefty bottle holds the same amount of wine but has thicker glass walls and an oversized girth.

When you are choosing between two wines in a wine store, the new bottle is heavier to pick up than the other selections, and you sub-consciously believe you are getting something more or better.

The marketers are also messing with the size of the punt.

The punt is that cone that comes up from the bottom of a bottle of wine. Showoffs put their thumb in there when they pour with one hand.

The punt was developed to help separate the wine from the residue left from the pressing process. The residue slides down the bottle into the area around the punt. When you pour down to the top of the punt you stop, leaving the residue in the bottom.

The marketers are making the punt bigger so the bottle gets bigger without containing any more wine. Again, you think you are getting more. It's like putting marbles in your glass to make your drink look larger.

Despite all these changes in the size and weight of the bottles, my cousins' favorite kind of bottle is still the same – the closest.

AMISUN ~ The Island's Award-Winning Newspaper