Some questions crop up and fall away in a moment, never to revive again. Others might cross your mind on a regular basis – like, say, every time you pop the cork on a bottle of wine.

All wine bottles are fairly similar, whether they have a fancy label or something simple, or a cap that screws or comes out with a cork.

One of those common factors? A dent in the bottom (more like a well, I would say) – but why is it there? What is it for? Has anyone ever asked this question before?

The answer to the last question is yes, and as for the couple previous ones, just hold onto your behinds.

Because while those dents (wells) did serve an important function when wine bottles were first called into service, now, they’re mostly cosmetic – or maybe something just a little bit darker than that.

The “dent” isn’t called that (or a well), but a “punt.” Before the Industrial Revolution, every bottle was handmade by a glassblower, and the punts ensured they could stand upright.

Today, they’re made by machines that could stand them upright with or without a dent, but you know. It’s tradition.

The modern day wine industry has found ways to put the punt to use – the proper technique for pouring a glass is to rest your thumb in the bottle’s indent. Some wineries will also use a deeper dent to charge customers more for less. It’s impossible to tell sitting on a shelf that one bottle’s punt is larger than the next.

For some reason, the bottles with a deeper punt have long been associated with a higher value vintage, so some companies put cheaper wine into bottles with deep dents in order to make them seem like they’re worth more than they are.

Like most conventions and popular beliefs surrounding wine and wine drinking, this one is fairly meaningless.

So go on and pair whatever wine you like with whatever food you like (or have a glass or two on its own). People might judge you, but I promise they have no idea what they’re talking about.