There’s nothing quite like popping open a bottle of champagne to celebrate a special occasion or toasting to a milestone achievement.
But have you ever wondered what the different parts of a champagne bottle are called?
As a wine lover or a wine traveler, it’s fun to learn and understand new aspects of the wine you’re drinking. In this guide, we’ll take you through the various parts of a champagne bottle, from the punt to the rim, and give you a better understanding of the anatomy of your bubbly bottles.
What are the names for the parts of a champagne bottle?
Let’s start with the basics. A typical champagne bottle is composed of the main parts listed below.
Typical parts of champagne bottle anatomy (top to bottom):
- Bottle rim
- Bottle annulus
- Bottle neck
- Bottle shoulder
- Bottle body
- Bottle heel
- Bottle punt
It’s also important to know about these related terms which are not part of the glass but contribute to a champagne bottle’s functions:
- Muselet or wire cage
- Metal cap
- Neck label
- Front label and label panel
- Foil wrap
Each part has its unique purpose and function, which I will cover in more detail below.
Champagne bottle rim
The very top edge of the champagne bottle is called the rim. The cork rests on the rim, and wine is poured from the rim after the bottle is opened.
Champagne bottle annulus
This ring-shaped opening below the rim is where the wire cage or muselet is attached to the bottle. It acts as an anchor point to help the wire cage stay in place and resist the pressure of the carbon dioxide that pushes outward from inside the bottle.
Champagne bottle neck
The neck is the narrowest part of a champagne bottle, where the cork or cap is placed. Some necks are longer and more slender than others, but at the very top they are generally standardized to match the size of the cork.
The standardized neck opening size generally allows wine bottle stoppers to be used across different types of wines. For sparkling wines, specialized wine stoppers are available for sparkling wine to help seal the bubbles inside and resist the outward pressure of the carbon dioxide inside. They utilize the annulus to maintain a better grip on the bottle.
The shoulder is the sloping part of the champagne bottle where it transitions from the body to the neck, creating a distinctive curve that enhances the bottle’s elegance. The shape of the shoulder’s curve can vary by producer, so they can express their style from the bottle design.
The body is the widest part of the champagne bottle below the shoulder where the majority of the bottle’s liquid is stored. It also the spot where the front and back labels are placed on the bottle.
Bottle heel or base
The heel or base simply refers to the very bottom section of the champagne bottle, where the bottle sits on a table or other surface.
Champagne bottle punt
The punt is the concave indentation found at the base of a champagne bottle. It’s also sometimes called the “kick-up” or “push-up,” and its main purpose is to help increase the strength of the glass bottle to withstand internal pressure from the bubbles and gas inside the bottle. The internal pressure in champagne comes from the carbon dioxide generated during fermentation in the bottle, and is typically much higher pressure than the air in a car’s tires.
The implementation of the punt was an important innovation in champagne to give the bottle greater strength and prevent the explosion of glass bottles due to the high amount of pressure inside. This was a big problem in champagne prior to the implementation of the punt, along with other technical winemaking advances.
Champagne Cork (Sparkling Wine Cork)
The cork is the stopper that seals the champagne bottle after fermentation, typically made of natural substances like corkwood. The shape of the champagne cork is different from typical still wine corks. This is because champagne corks need to resist a lot more pressure from inside the bottle.
Champagne corks start out at a larger cylinder, but are then compressed into a mushroom shape using a special corking machine.
Wire cage (or muselet)
To keep the cork tightly in place, champagne bottles are sealed with a steel wire cage or muselet that goes over the top of the cork. The muselet makes it safer for handling by holding the cork against the closed bottle under pressure.
The wire cage is twisted six times to prevent the cork from popping out due to the pressure. This was an important innovation, since prior to the use of wire cages, corks would often pop out unexpectedly, or needed to be secured by more cumbersome materials such as wax, rope, and string.
Champagne metal bottle cap or plaque
First implemented widely in the mid 1900’s, metal caps or plaques were placed on top of the cork. They provide a solid surface for the muselet to distribute pressure down on the cork, but they are largely decorative. They typically have a design representing the champagne house, and can be collected as a reminder of the bottles you’ve had.
Metal Cap (Plaque) vs. Crown Cap
There is another type of metal cap called a crown cap, which is similar to a beer bottle cap.
This type of cap is only used during the champagne aging and fermentation process prior to final disgorgement and bottling. Champagne wines are not allowed to be sold with a crown cap, they must switch it to the standard cork and wire cage prior to public release. Use of the the screw cap style bottle instead of a cork is also not permitted for champagne.
The neck label is decorative and can be used to express the style of the champagne house.
Front Label and Label Panel
The front label contains key information about the wine, including the name of the producer, the vintage (if applicable), and the style. For more information on how to read champagne bottle labels, check out this related article.
The label panel refers to the area of the bottle where the sides are straight and it’s easier to place the front and back labels.
Foil wrap or ‘capsule’
Champagne typically comes with a gold or silver colored foil wrap on the top part of the bottle. In the past, this was used mainly to help prevent insects or other pests from gnawing the cork.
Today it is mainly decorative, but still considered part of the wine’s packaging. It typically includes a small pull tab that can be used to neatly remove the upper section of foil covering the cork. When serving, the lower portion of the foil should remain in place on the bottle’s neck.
Other terms for parts of a champagne bottle
Several other terms have crept up that are associated with various parts of a champagne bottle. The base of the neck is called “the collar,” while the side is known as the “beading.” The indentation on the underside of the cork is sometimes referred to as the “cup.” While these terms are no doubt important in the glass manufacturing world, they aren’t typically necessary for the average wine lover to know.
Champagne Bottles vs. Other Wine Bottles
Other sparkling wine bottles typically have the same components and construction as champagne bottles do. Standard wine bottles, such as burgundy wine bottles, are typically a bit narrower especially in the body, both for traditional style reasons and because they don’t require as much strength as sparkling bottles. Still wine bottles may or may not have a punt at the bottom, it is traditional for bottles in some regions but not in others.
Knowing the various parts of the champagne bottle makes you appreciate the product and its history even more.
Now, you are well-equipped to enjoy your favorite bottle of champagne while looking and sounding like a true wine aficionado.