Monday, June 17, 2019

Burgundy AOC Simplified

Burgundy AOC Simplified

Burgundy AOC Simplified Pyramid by ©LeDomduVin 2019 

Recently, during a discussion about wine with a few people, wine amateurs, while sipping rosé under bright sunshine (a rare thing in Hong Kong), a person told me: "I love Pinot Noir, but they don't make Pinot Noir in France..., do they?

I was surprised and it almost broke my heart to hear that, but I didn't judge and kept my cool and ask her a simple question: "Did you ever drink red wine from Burgundy?"

"Yes," she said, and added, "I like them very much".  

"Well, the red wines from Burgundy are made with Pinot Noir, that's surely why you like them" I answered

"...but Pinot Noir is not written on the label, that's why I never realized they were made with Pinot Noir." she replied. 

And that was the moment, I realized that they are tones of people out there that still have difficulties to read and understand French wine's labels, and more especially which grapes they have have been made with. 

You see, back 20-25 years ago, the French were very sarcastic about the fact that most new world  wines stated the grape variety on the label (e.g. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc...) for easier recognition of the type of wine, and to a certain extent the taste of the wine too. And, although I admit that in regions where various varieties are blended together (e.g. Bordeaux, Rhone Valley and Languedoc-Roussillon) it would be difficult to do, in other regions where only one grape variety goes into the wine, it could have been a good idea. Even if not on the front label, at least on the back label (which is now more often the case that it used to be back then).   

And 25 years later, I'm realizing that the topic is still of actuality, like some people, even if somewhat knowledgeable and more than occasional drinkers, still don't know apparently. 

So, regarding Burgundy, I told her that although it is a complex and complicated region to understand, I will try to explain to her in a very simple manner via some illustrations (drawings, shapes, graphs, pyramids, processes, cycles, and other visuals) for her (and others) to better understand. And that is what prompts me to write this post.    

💥 Work in progress, to be finished soon💥

Santé! Cheers!

LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noël)

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Wine Bottle Weight, Shape, Glass and Label Design Changes Over Time (Post 2): Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Wine Bottle Weight, Shape, Glass 

and Label Design Changes Over Time 

(Post 2): Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2024 Label
by © LeDomduVin 2019
Tribute to Jean Carlu

Apology letter 

To the owners of Chateau Mouton Rothschild

My deepest and most sincere apologies to the owners of Château Mouton-Rothschild, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, Camille Sereys de Rothschild and Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, (for whom I have profound respect and did not mean any harm to, more especially that I had the chance to meet your mother, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild several times during my 28 years career and had lots of admiration for her lively personality, her strength of character and her addictive "joie-de-vivre"), for taking such liberty and presenting my work for the label of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 2024 vintage in such manner (😉). 

But, it is a tradition for me to begin my posts with an illustration of mine (usually a photo, or a drawing, or a collage, etc...) specially made to introduce the subject of the post; and I thought about a (funny) tribute to Jean Carlu to celebrate the centenary of the iconic label he created back in 1924. I personally love his 1924 label (from the Art-Deco / Cubism era), which was used as the background for the coat of arms, (with the rams on each side), appearing on the label of the following vintage, 1925, and has remained there ever since. See in my creation an unintended subliminal message may be... 

Also, as this post is mostly about Chateau Mouton-Rothschild label design changes, (which have occurred over the last 120 years), I wanted to add a dash of humor by creating this "imitation" label to see if people will fall for it, at first sight, looking at a potentially genuine label (you never know, some people not looking too closely at first glance might think it could be....). 

Moreover, as most of my illustrations usually tend to be either funny or sarcastic, or, a bit more cerebral sometimes with "rather-french" 2nd-degree jokes and metaphorical sense of humour... (I see some of you scratching their head sometimes, when looking at my illustrations, prior to getting the joke only after a few seconds of consideration...), sort of gimmicks to amuse my readers and a more "ludique" (playful) way to help digest all the contents of my posts, often too long, too detailed and irritably too often derivating from and hence losing focus on the original subject... (sorry, that's the way my mind works and that's also my writing style in both French and English....sigh...), I could not resist the temptation to start this post on such an iconic Bordeaux wine with a label of my own creation.  

I hope you will forgive me and be merciful for the liberty I took to create this label for a vintage that has yet to come and without you commissioning me to do it. Yet, I'll appreciate if you could consider it as a potential candidate label for this particular vintage.... (No worries if you don't, but I had to ask... you never know...😉)

Thank you for your understanding. 

Deepest regards,

Sincerely yours, 


Ok, now that my apology is out of the way, and without further ado, let's move on to the post. A lengthy post again, but with some really interesting details, facts and stories, as I always try to provide you within most of my posts.

FYI: I did the collage below of Mouton Rothschild bottles and labels (over the last 120 years) and, (as usual), started to write quite intensively (in a previous post), about the history and design evolution of these particular labels of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, when I realized how long this previous post was already. So, I cut the content of the previous post on Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (post 1), and paste it in this brand new post (post 2), solely dedicated to the history and design evolution of the labels of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild over the last 120 years, to which I added a few more chapters on the bottle shape, weight and glass used for the Mouton's bottles (like I did for Chateau Latour in the previous post). Read the previous post (post 1) on the bottle's weight, shape, color and glass (featuring among others, Château Latour)  here 


Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Label Designs over the last 120 years 
by ©LeDomduVin 2019

Château Mouton-Rothschild is probably the best example to take for the bottle and more especially the label changes, as it is one of the only (if not THE only) Châteaux or wine estate in the world that has changed its label design so many times over the years.

Like all great stories, it begins by "Once upon a time,..." Baron Philippe de Rothschild commissioned Jean Carlu (1900-1997), a graphic artist, famous for his poster works regarded as an expression of the dominant artistic movement at that time called the "Cubism", to create the label of the 1924 vintage.

Yet, it is only in 1945, to commemorate the "Victory" and the end of World War II, that Baron Philippe started and established what will become a tradition with all the labels of the subsequent vintages, by commissioning another contemporary artist to design the label of Mouton-Rothschild 1945 vintage. This time, he commissioned a young, unknown artist named Philippe Jullian (1921-1977), who displayed early promise as a designer and became a successful dramatist. After Jullian submitted several drafts, Baron Philippe chose the one based on the famous “V for Victory” that Churchill used throughout the war to rally the forces of freedom.

And the tradition of commissioning a contemporary artist to embellish and revamp the label design of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild for each vintage was born. The rest is history.   

Brief history and details for each of the label design changes on the bottles in the collage above

In the collage above, instead of putting all the labels since 1945 (like on the picture further below), I wanted to focus only on the main label design changes of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild (***):

  • 1853 - Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild (1812-1870), of the English branch of the eponymous family, bought the Château Brane-Mouton for a sum of 1,125,000 francs (or roughly 172,000 Euros, a colossal sum at the time) and immediately renamed the Château "Mouton-Rothschild". The vineyard at this time was in bad shape as it had been no longer maintained for a few years, as the only building was an old dilapidated farm offering no living or sleeping accommodation possibility and thus the owners never lived on site and were just appointing someone as a manager to take care of the vineyards and the wine. Baron Nathaniel, living in Paris at that time, appointed Theodore Galos, a Bordeaux Negociant who also owned a few vineyards, as the estate manager. Within 2-3 years, Theodore rapidly upgraded and restored the vineyard and the cellars.

Chateau Mouton Rothschild Vintage 1855 Label -
©LeDomduVin 2019

  • 1855 - Exposition Universelle de Paris and Bordeaux Classifications - The Emperor Napoleon III requested from the members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bordeaux to produce a ranking of the most prestigious properties of Bordeaux, to be presented at the Universal Exhibition of Paris (World Fair), which took place from May 15 to November 15 1855 on the Champs Elysees. This classification was based on the reputation, the notoriety and the price of these properties (since, at least, ten or even fifty years according to some sources), these prices being directly related to the quality of the wines at this time. Despite the efforts of Theodore Galos to restore the vineyards and cellars in order to increase the value of the property (which was on the rise at that time), Mouton-Rothschild was not classified as a first growth, which seems logical considering that the selection criteria was based on the property prices over fifty years, and knowing the fact that the vineyards and the farm were left unattended for years by owners not leaving on site, thus diminishing the value of the estate. Not having a proper Chateau or mansion on site and being recently acquired by a British probably did not help either. However, Chateau Mouton-Rothschild was still classified as a 2nd Growth in the classification. From 1855 to 1888, the labels only mentioned "Mouton" (not yet "Chateau Mouton Rothschild") and bore the name of "R. Galos" named after "Roche Galos", the estate manager at that time.

NB: For those of you who might wonder (like I did), I was not able to find any info regarding the link between "Theodore Galos" and "Roche Galos", both supposedly being the estate manager of Chateau Mouton Rothschild at that period, and both appearing in many texts and references on the history of the Chateau. Are they two different persons? Or are they the same person? If anyone knows, please let me know, I will be very interested to know. More especially knowing that officially "Theodore Galos" was appointed by Baron Nathaniel as the estate manager and has been credited for restoring the vineyards and cellars; while "Roche Galos" is also mentioned in many texts as the estate manager and his name appears on the labels between 1855 and 1888. I read countless articles and even extracts of books on the subject, and I still could not figure it out. So, if you did, please tell me. 

  • 1880 - The son of Nathaniel de Rothschild, Baron James de Rothschild (1844-1881), began construction of the Chateau and named it: Petit Mouton

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1889 Label -
Photo courtesy of

  • 1889 - "Baron de Miollis" Label - Baron Augustin de Miollis (1864-1939) was appointed estate manager, the labels still only mentioned "Mouton" (not yet "Chateau Mouton Rothschild") and from 1889 to 1920 bore the name of "Bon de Miollis". You can also notice the first few changes on the label:
  • The name of the appointed manager changed from "R. Galos" to "Bon de Miollis", "Bon de Miollis - Gérant", which translate to "Baron de Miollis - Manager" 
  • The name of the owner of the Chateau changed from "Baron de Rothschild, Propriétaire" to "Hers du Bon de Rothschild Propres", which is the abbreviation of "Heritiers de Baron de Rothschild Propriétaires"  
  • The wines were still not bottled and labelled at the Chateau at that time, but by a 3rd party, usually, a Négociant, buying the wine, then taking care of the bottling and labelling, and even the ageing sometimes; or by someone appointed as the estate manager also in charge of the bottling and labelling. 

Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1900 Label -
Photo courtesy of

  • 1900 - The turn of the century, still showcasing the "Baron de Miollis" Label (1889-1920) 

Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1920 Label

  • 1920 - The label is redesigned: The Baron introduced on the label the design of the stylized Château as well as a bundle of 5 arrows, but still without preceding the name "Mouton" with the term "Château", while the Négociants (Bordeaux Wine Merchants/Traders) already used the name "Château Mouton". It is interesting to notice that the notion of provenance is now clarified with the addition of "Pauillac, Gironde" on the label (then "Pauillac, Médoc" later on) to precise the Appellation of Origin. The owner's name has also changed to "Baron Henri de Rothschild", one of the 2 sons of Nathaniel de Rothschild, who took over after the passing of his father in 1870, but let the Chateau being run by the manager in place, Baron de Miollis, and the Cellar Master Gustave Bonnefours.   

    • 1922 - A new era began for Chateau Mouton-Rothchild: On October 22, 1922, the grandson of Nathaniel de Rothschild and second son of Henri de Rothschild, Philippe de Rothschild (1902-1988) took the direction of the property provided that he stops car racings. Philippe immediately came up with one of his most famous quotes, which he gave as a motto to the Chateau: "Premier ne puis, second ne daigne, Mouton suis", which translate to "First I could not, second I do not deign, Mouton I am". Under Philippe's direction, the estate will take off and reach the glory it deserved.

    Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1924 Label 

      • 1924 - First real label design change: In 1924, on the initiative of Baron Philippe de Rothschild, all the wines produced are, for the first time, bottled at the château (at the same time and in agreement with Château Margaux). To mark this event, the Baron commissioned Jean Carlu (1900-1997), a graphic artist, famous for his poster works regarded as an expression of the dominant artistic movement at that time, called the "Cubism", to create the label of the 1924 vintage. This same label has also been used for 1918, 1920, 1921 and 1926 vintage, (according to a source) some labelled that way due to late released bottles from the Chateau for the famous wine retailer chain (caviste) "Etablissements Nicolas" (founded back in 1822).

      Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1925 Label

      • 1925 - Once more the label is redesigned and resemble a little to what it will become later on. The lines are clean, elegant and refined, and despite being heavily criticized at the time, this label will be used for the 1925, 1926 and 1928 vintage, along with the other label designed by Jean Carlu above, which has also been used for the 1926 vintage for example. Notice the details of the "logo", specifically created for Chateau Mouton Rothschild, representing two rams, standing on an unmarked ribbon, on each side of a coat of arms shield featuring the details of the 1924 vintage label created by Jean Carlu, surmounted by a crown (and what could be vines atop the crown? not sure..) and a blank ribbon underneath.  

      Carruades de Mouton Rothschild 1927 Label

      • 1927 - The harvest was mediocre, therefore Baron Philippe decided that there will be no wine sold under "Château Mouton-Rothschild", instead, the wine produced on that particular vintage was sold under the name of "Carruades de Mouton-Rothschild". Baron Philippe commissioned Jean Carlu again to create a special label for this vintage. 

      "Le Second Vin" 1993 and "Le Petit Mouton" 1994
      de Mouton Rothschild labels

      NB: This specific label was re-used in 1993 for the 2nd wine under the name of "Le Deuxieme Vin de Mouton Rothschild", then again in 1994 under the definitive name of "Le Petit Mouton de Mouton Rothschild", a name that has remained the same ever since.

      Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1929 Label

      • 1929 - Back to a similar label than the one of the 1925 vintage, yet, with a redesigned "logo" (or "Emblème" or "Ecu" or "Blason" or "Coat of Arms", or whatever else you call it), I call it "logo", as a "Blason" or "Coat of Arms" is usually attributed to a family with royal, noble or military roots passed on generations, while the "logo" on this label was specifically created for Château Mouton Rothschild for the 1925 vintage label (see above). It was redesigned with larger and more defined details of the similar figures and details already present on the 1925 label. When comparing 1925 and 1929 label, both logos represent two rams, standing on an unmarked ribbon, on each side of a coat of arms shield featuring the details of the 1924 vintage label created by Jean Carlu, surmounted by a crown.  This label will be used for the 1929 to 1931 vintage. No wine was produced under Chateau Mouton Rothschild in 1930 and 1932, only under Mouton Cadet.  

      • 1930 - I couldn't find any label of Chateau Mouton Rothschild on that vintage, but it is important to state that Mouton-Cadet (which is not a second wine, but a second label, meaning that it is a wine on his own, rather than being, like the second wine, related to the "Grand Vin" (common name for the "first wine" of the Chateaux in Bordeaux)), was launched with the vintage 1930. It presents a more complex label with more writings, with the signature of the Cellar Master, and the "logo" or "coat of arms" of both siblings: Mouton Rothschild and Mouton d'Armailhacq

      Chateau Mouton d'Armailhacq 1933 Label

      • 1931 - Comte Roger de Ferrand, owner of Chateau d'Armailhacq, launches the limited company "Domaine de  Mouton d'Armailhacq" regrouping 3500 shares of 1000 French francs each. Baron Philippe de Rothschild becomes a minority shareholder.
      • 1933 - the domain of Armailhacq is sold in life to the Baron de Rothschild and in 1934, the count of Ferrand dies.

      💢 Work in progress, to be finished soon 💢

      Here is the collection of Mouton-Rothschild labels from 1945 to 2013 (photo courtesy of

      Chateau Mouton Rothschild Labels from 1945 to 2013 -
      photo courtesy of

      💢 Work in progress, to be finished soon 💢

      Chateau Mouton Rothschild Full and Empty bottles
      1947, 1949, 1970, 1982, 1990 and 1995
      - photo ©LeDomduVin 2019

      Like for Château Latour previously, looking at this picture I took of various vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild, you easily notice the changes and evolution of the bottle and label shape and size, as well as the differences in the thickness and heaviness of the glass used. You can also notice the differences and evolution of the capsules.

      • Château Mouton Rothschild 1947 and 1949 - the bottle is tall, with broad shoulders and heavy, thick, dark color glass; the front label(s) is small (smaller than later versions) 
      • Château Mouton Rothschild 1970 and 1982 - the bottle is slightly smaller, leaner, lighter in weight and lighter in color too, and was made with less heavy and less thick glass than 1947 and 1949
      • Château Mouton Rothschild 1990 and 1995 - the bottle is about the same heights as 1970/1982, yet with slightly higher and broader shoulders, and slightly darker and thicker, heavier glass too. Still not as tall, broad, thick, heavy and dark as 1947/1949   

      💢 Work in progress, to be finished soon 💢

      Santé! Cheers!

      LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noël

      (*) Info about Chateau Mouton-Rothschild was taken or partly taken from the Château website at, but also from a very interesting and useful online book (in French) by Philippe Margot, titled "L'intégral des étiquettes de Château Mouton-Rothschild de 1855 à aujourd'hui" that you can read here

      Thursday, June 6, 2019

      L'importance de l'Avinage : Aviner la carafe avant décantation du vin !!!

      L'importance de l'Avinage : 

      Aviner la carafe avant décantation du vin !!!

      Although the title of this post is in French, I will write this post in English, as I normally do, as the audience of LeDomduVin is international, and thus English being the universal language, it will be easier for most readers. *  

      So, 2 days ago, I made this little video (above) to stress and insist on the importance of the "Avinage" of the decanter (ou "aviner la carafe" as we say in French), which is basically a part of the preparation of the decanter prior to proceeding to the decantation of the wine (or the preparation of a new barrel prior putting wine into it).

      In my opinion, it is a crucial point (or step) of the wine decantation process that Sommeliers and other wine professionals (people in the wine biz in general) tend to forget or not do at all. And in my eyes, it is a terrible mistake not to do it. I have been in the wine business and a well seasoned and traveled, certified Sommelier for the past 28 years, and I have always done it (even at home).

      Call me "old school" if you want, but for me, the "Avinage" of the decanter (prior decantation) is a question of principle (as it is how I learned to do it at the Catering and Hotel management school of Talence, Bordeaux), and it is logical too (as it is common sense to clean a decanter that has been sitting on a shelf prior putting some wine into it, isn't it?), and thus, it should be a reflex for all people working in the wine industry, but obviously, it is not. And that is the main reason why I made this video in the first place.

      I watched dozens of videos on wine decantation and wine service on YouTube and realized that for 95% of them, none of the Sommeliers and other wine professionals proceeding to the decantation of wine (in these videos) did the "avinage" of the decanter in which the wine was about to be decanted in. None. And it drove the need for me to this video to remind people of the importance of doing it.

      And, for the anecdote, even the Best Sommelier of the World 2019, Marc Almert, did not do the "Avinage" of the decanter during the final (you can check it in the video of the final here at 2:59:38). In fact, 2 out of the 3 finalists did not do it... unbelievable! Maybe it is a generational issue and the new generation may not see the point or is too lazy to do it, go figure... or maybe, I'm just an old grumpy Sommelier too attached to the traditions and the Art of the service to be able to fully understand why they do not do it anymore...   or may it is a combination of both, who knows....

      Pardon my French, but I searched everywhere online and in various dictionaries, and, trust me, there is no literal translation in English for these two French words. Therefore, for those of you who may have no clue about what I'm talking about, here is a clue. In both words, "Avinage" and "Aviner", you have the word "vin" or "wine" in French.

      In general, the words "Avinage" (the noun) or "Aviner" (the verb) are terms more particularly used for wine, rather than any other liquids (e.g. with water only is call "rinsing", with detergent, is called "washing", etc...).

      Both, "Avinage" and "Aviner", refer to the same action, and by definition, "Aviner" is the action of the "Avinage", which consists of pouring a small amount of wine into a barrel for example (before fermentation or aging process, especially for new barrels) or in a decanter (prior proceeding to the decantation and fill it with wine), then swirling the bit of wine inside energetically, and evacuating it rapidly (in order for anything inside to come out with the wine), prior to filling the barrel or the decanter.

      LeDomduVin pouring wine into a decanter to do the Avinage
      prior proceeding to the wine decantation ©LeDomduVin 2019

      Or, basically put, "Aviner" is the action of soaking the inside of a decanter (a barrel or any other containers) with a small amount of wine, prior to filling it, (for the purpose of this post we are talking about pouring wine into a decanter), to either or both (at the same time):
      • Clean the inside of the decanter from the presence of potential dust, water, previous wine,  residues or any other unwanted foreign or harmful organisms, organic decays or other substances
      • Impregnate the inside of the decanter with the odors, smells, aromas, and flavors of the wine used, prior fill it with the rest of the wine in the bottle. 

      LeDomduVin pouring and swirling wine into a decanter to do the Avinage
      prior proceeding to the wine decantation ©LeDomduVin 2019

      Once the wine has been swirled around inside to coat the inner part of the decanter (or the barrel), the wine is poured out back in a glass (or another container), and only then, the decanter (or barrel) is now ready to welcome the wine that will be decanted (or racked) into it.

      Although this practice has existed for decades, (if not centuries), sadly, it has almost been forgotten and is rarely done nowadays. Yet, it has always been a very important part/step of the decantation process. And in my opinion, it should be done every time you use a decanter.

      Historically, it is hard to pinpoint when and where this practice started first. All we know is that it has always pretty much been done for cleaning purposes as well as the impregnation of the aromas and flavors, for sure; but maybe (and understandably), also for the protection and security of the kings, the nobles and the wealthy in order to rinse the decanter and eliminate all sort of potential danger (from vile enemies trying to murder them with poison or else for example). 

      In fact, nowaday's lack of cleanliness is the main reason why you MUST do it, because, even if decanters are "supposedly" cleaned regularly, on a weekly basis at the minimum, and even at a daily basis, or even twice a day for certain restaurants, this is unfortunately NOT the case in (and/or for) ALL restaurants...  and it is even worst in other places where the decanters are only used "occasionally" and often collect layers of dust by being put on display... (sigh)...

      Therefore, you never know what you may have in the decanter. And usually, after a few days (or even worst, if it has been a week or more), there could be some : 
      • Dust if the decanter has not been used and/or cleaned for a while
      • Water if it has been rinsed shortly before and/or not dried properly and/or left standing up after being rinsed     
      • Detergent if it has been accidentally washed with a detergent and has not been rinsed properly enough (that is usually the worst case scenario, as if the avinage is not done prior decantation, the wine will immediately be affected by the detergent and become hazardous)
      • Organic decays or residues of the wine phenolic compounds remaining in the decanter, especially if has never been cleaned properly (you can see them when the decanter starts to have yellow or red markings or stains inside (at the bottom and the inner body part of the decanter), usually left by the layered deposits of phenolic chemical compounds (tannins, anthocyanins, etc...)), these can even attract living organisms feeding on them (fruit fly, wine fly, etc...). 
      • And in some case, you can even have a bit of the wine previously decanted, if the decanter has not been cleaned at all  

      I did a second video (right above) where I'm showing you how to do the "Avinage" of the decanter  (ou "comment aviner la carafe avant decantation"), from a different angle than the 1st video and with a close-up on the wine swirling in the decanter. 

      Why did I make this second video on the subject of the "Avinage" of the decanter? Because, in fact, I have not managed to find one on the internet or YouTube. In truth, there are many videos where wine professionals and Sommeliers can be seen doing wine decantations, but they do not do the "Avinage" of the decanter prior to the decantation of the wine.

      So, I felt the need to do this 2nd little video in addition to the video made previously (the first one on this post) on the same subject, to really insist on how to prepare ("Aviner") the decanter before proceeding to the decantation. 

      NB: I did this 2nd video in only one take and very quickly (and under pressure for some reasons), so please excuse me for the mistakes and hesitations in the explanations and overall presentation. More especially, pardon my French for repeating a few times in this video "on avine le vin avec le vin" (meaning "we clean the wine with the wine"), which is wrong, "on avine la carafe avec le vin" (meaning "we clean the decanter with the wine") of course. I put myself under pressure to do this video fast and without any disturbances and therefore did not carefully choose my words like on the first video (which I also did in one take). (I may redo it more relax soon). 

      I made a 3rd video (just above), by basically trimming the 2nd video, and focus on the "Avinage" part only, as, (at the end of the day), it is the most important part of the process prior decantation and the subject of this post too.

      So, the action of the "Avinage" or the approach you should take on how to clean the decanter  prior proceeding to the decantation of the wine ("Aviner la carafe avant de proceder a la decantation du vin") consists on the following process:
      • Open a bottle of wine
      • Pour a small amount of the wine into a wine glass
      • Smell the wine in the glass to ensure the quality of the wine and make sure it does not present any defaults/defects on the nose 
      NB: do not taste the wine and pour the little bit of wine into the decanter after tasting it as you will put your microbes/bacterias inside the decanter too
      • Pour the wine you've just smelled from the glass into a decanter 
      • Swirl the wine inside the decanter for a few seconds, in order to soak the decanter, so that the wine impregnates the inner walls of the decanter with its aromas and flavors
      • Evacuate rapidly the wine from the decanter back into the wine glass
      • Taste the wine (the best part of the process 😊) (as the decanter is supposed to be clean, prior being used, the wine should not be affected by anything previously contained into the decanter)
      • Leave the decanter by the empty bottle previously put with the cork and the capsule (if not put back on the top of the bottle) on a small plate or a coster on the gueridon or on the customer's table until it is time to serve the wine

      Et voila!

      And this process of "Avinage" only takes a few seconds to do, so you have no excuse not to do it. Moreover, it is the best and only way to ensure that the decanter is clean and free of any residues of any kinds (dust, water, detergent, previous wine, etc..) and that the wine will not be affected by anything foreign that could have been inside the decanter prior to doing the "Avinage". 

      In conclusion, please do yourself a favor, and please your customers at the same time, DO the Avinage !!! (and make sure your decanters are cleaned regularly, at least once a day)

      Anger Bottle by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      To answer the unfriendly, not to say nasty and unjustified comments I received shortly after posting this post

      To answer the unfriendly, not to say nasty and unjustified comments I received from some unknown peers in the wine biz (Sommeliers and other supposedly being "wine professionals"), a few days after I posted this post, more especially in reaction to the 3rd video above on the "Avinage of the carafe", I only have the followings to say (even if it is a repeat of what has been said above, and to make sure people understood the importance of this process):

      - 1 - In Sommellerie, the decanter is cleaned with a little amount of wine (thus "Aviné") prior to proceeding to the decantation to avoid eventual contamination of the wine by possible debris or liquids that may be found in the decanter, but also to impregnate the inside of the decanter with the aromas and flavors of the wine before decanting. And NO, this is not an ancient procedure from the past when people were more careless and washing technics as well as cleaning products were not as adapted and/or as efficient as they are now... And YES, this procedure should still be in use nowadays. (It is also stupid to think that people were more careless before than they are now, in my opinion, it is probably the other way around)

      - 2 - NO, you should not assume that all your decanters are clean and impeccable. As, indeed, they may NOT be as clean and impeccable as you think. Bad smells, dust, water, detergent if accidentally washed with a detergent, (or others), could have found their way inside; and it would be stupid and ignorant from you to assume that it is not the case as it cannot happen, and even more stupid of you to think that all decanters are always clean and free of anything inside. I have worked in the restaurant business as Head Sommelier and Restaurant Manager long enough to know that it is not true and it is far from being the reality in most restaurants.

      - 3 - A lot of things that are supposed to be done (and are assumed to be done too) by the Sommeliers and/or other restaurant's staffs are unfortunately not always done or not necessarily done properly and not always checked by the Head Sommelier or the Restaurant Manager. And let's be serious, we all know people slacking off on the job, who constantly tell lies about things they do or did while they actually did not, unfortunately.  It is human nature. So, never assume they have done it, check!!!

      - 4 - A Sommelier's job is to make sure that the decanters are properly cleaned after each use and make sure that all decanters are cleaned at least once a day, if not, at least every other day. Yet, there again, it would be stupid, ignorant and innocent to a fault to believe that cleaning of all the decanters is done on a daily basis in all the restaurants, everywhere in the world. As I said above, I know the restaurant and hospitality world all too well, and I have seen too many absurd and even sometimes unspeakable things done by the restaurant and hotel staff. And trust me, even in the strictest restaurant or hotel in the world, where the staff receive excellent training and art of the table and service education and are disciplined, there are many things that should be done on a daily basis and that are not. So, please, stop assuming and check on what your staff is doing!!!

      - 5 - The "avinage" of the decanter IS and has always been a crucial part of the decantation process, unfortunately too often forgotten as not been taught in restaurant and Sommelier School anymore, due to the assumption that decanters are always clean and impeccable, and therefore that the "avinage" is no longer necessary. This assumption is terribly wrong, for all the reasons provided above:

      • Assuming all decanters are always clean and impeccable
      • Ignoring the potential presence of bad smells, dust, water, detergent if accidentally washed with a detergent, or others
      • Not accepting the fact that decanters may not have been cleaned properly and may not have been checked by the management
      • Trusting without checking people slacking off on the job and not doing what they are supposed to be doing
      • Assuming people are always doing their job without checking what they have done
      • Believing that the "avinage" is an old procedure that has no reason to exist any longer 

      This list is non-exhaustive and I could continue to add other arguments and reasons to why the "avinage" is still of major importance in the decantation process and why it should be done. But I will stop here, as I feel exhausted and disappointed to read all the nasty comments of so many people who believe they are right while they are actually wrong, and assume they know better than anyone else, when the reality of things around them in restaurant and hotel is telling them the opposite of what they believe to be true. So, once and for all, put in your pea brain that NO, not all decanters are always clean and impeccable, and NO, not all Sommelier and other restaurant and hotel staff are doing their job properly, and NO, do not assume that you don't have to check on them either.   

      I wrote this last paragraph especially to directly answer a Sommelier (of my age roughly), working supposedly as a teacher in a Sommelier School in Paris, and who wrote a list of really nasty, judgemental, arrogant and pretentious comments to my post (with the 3rd video above) on my LinkedIn profile, which really pissed me off and irritated me to the core, beyond believe (and it has been a long time I felt such anger against someone).

      To tell you the truth, I hate when people strongly judge and criticize when they don't even know or have no relation whatsoever with you or the person they are spitting nonsense about (the French are usually good for that, unfortunately). And I also hate nasty, judgemental, arrogant, pretentious, snob and up their nose Sommeliers! (And God knows they are plenty of them in this world.... sigh).

      Sorry for ranting like that, but sometimes it is good to shout it out instead of keeping it inside.

      Cheers! Santé!

      LeDomduVin a.k.a. Dominique Noël 

      Leave me a comment below to let me know what you think about these videos.
      They are in French, I know, it is a bit difficult if you do not speak/understand it, but I will try to make some videos in English too soon. 😊 

      * Anyhow, you also have the translation button option at the top of the right-hand side column if really needed 😉

      Tuesday, May 21, 2019

      The Wine Effect: OMG... shocking how wine makes me feel... A Pop-Art meme

      The Wine Effect: 

      OMG... shocking how wine makes me feel... 

      A Pop-Art meme

      The Wine Effect - "OMG... shocking how wine makes me feel..."
      - Speech balloon by ©LeDomduVin 2017-2019

      The Wine Effect "OMG... shocking how wine makes me feel... so good... I nearly forgot my date... Oh well... He will wait..." by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      I love this meme that I created back 2 years ago, with special thoughts for all the women in the world who enjoy having this special type of moments for themselves: drinking wine (or anything else that you would want to put in a glass like the one on the picture), while totally forgetting about their date (male or female alike, but more men I think...😊)... isn't it great? I think it is...

      I call that "The Wine Effect", yes, wine has this kind of effect on people, more especially after a long, stressful day at work or anywhere else or for whatever reasons you did not feel great about that day... 

      Who does not like to occasionally have this kind of selfish moment (only for yourself and for yourself only), when for a few blissful minutes (or longer), while sipping wine (or another drink), you completely forget about everyone and everything, relax your body and mind, take it easy and think about absolutely nothing else than how satisfying it is, not to be disturbed by anybody or anything, and how pleasurable this wine is on that particular moment, don't you? I do... I do very much indeed love this kind of moments...

      And to really express how I feel about this kind of forgetful moments, I will even apply to these specific moments the quote of "The Merovingian" (Lambert Wilson), in "The Matrix Reloaded", when he says: 

      "Château Haut-Brion 1959. Magnificent wine. I love French wine, like I love the French language. I have sampled every language, French is my favorite. Fantastic language. Especially to curse with. Nom de dieu de putain de bordel de merde de saloperie de connard d'enculé de ta mère. It's like wiping your arse with silk. I love it." (*)

      What he says in French in this quote, which I will not translate as it sounds so much classier in French, while will be totally vulgar in English, is exactly how I feel about this type of forgetful and blissful rare moments of selfish satisfaction.....  (more especially with Château Haut-Brion 1959 in my glass preferably...)

      And I would like to dedicate this "meme" to all of you, Ladies, as I'm certain you perfectly understand what I'm saying....  as, in my opinion, and more especially due to the fact that women, in general, experience significantly higher levels of stress than men on daily basis (due to being more involved in your relationship, in caregiving to your children and/or your elders, juggling between job and family responsibilities, as well as suffering from fatigue, anxiety or depression due to constant annoyance, indifference, discrimination, verbal and/or physical violence, and other unpleasant things at work and/or at home and/or even in the street), the need for this kind of moments applies to you more than us as men I believe.... (surely making some enemies once again by saying such things....) 

      That said, let's go back to the "meme"...

      I found this "comics-like" picture/drawing of a woman holding a glass of wine, about 2 years ago on the internet, and loved it right away. At first glance, probably like most people, I thought that it was a drawing by Roy Lichtenstein, but then I realized that maybe not after all, as I could not find any reference about this specific drawing associated with his name.

      I downloaded it on my cellphone and immediately created a "meme" by adding the speech balloon (or speech bubble, as I prefer to call it) and wrote the text into it, which, surprisingly enough, came to me pretty much instinctively seconds after looking at this picture for the first time. Instant inspiration.  I gave this meme the most obvious title that came to my mind: "The Wine Effect"   

      Some people who have seen the first version of this "meme" that I first posted on Facebook and Instagram back in June 2017, had to "pardon my French" because the first version of the text contained spelling and grammatical mistakes, and it read as follow:

      The Wine Effect - "OMG... chocking how wine makes me feel..." -
      Speech balloon by ©LeDomduVin 2017

      "OMG... chocking how wine makes me feel... so good... I nearly forget my date... Oh well... He will wait..." by ©LeDomduVin 2017

      It is in fact, only 2 years later, in February 2019, after re-posting this incorrect "meme" on Facebook and Instagram for Valentine's Day, that a very helpful lady was nice enough to write a comment below the post (on Instagram I believe... or was it on Facebook...I do not remember anymore) to tell me that she loved the post but more specifically to point out the fact that it contained spelling and grammatical mistakes: "chocking" instead of "shocking", and "forget" instead of "forgot". (.... how embarrassing.... yet, I'm French (naturalized American, yes, but still French too), so I have an excuse.... 😊)

      NB: Note that he took 2 years for someone to let me know I made some mistakes; sadly, it shows you how low and to which degree the level of acceptance for spelling and grammatical mistakes in written English has become over the last 10 years... 

      I corrected the speech bubble immediately and reposted the "meme", this time the corrected one (refer to the first picture above posted in February 2019), which made me feel much better. 

      The strange thing is that, during these 2 years (between 2017-2019), as I still wanted to try to find who drew this Lichtenstein-like comic/drawing, and while doing some research, not only I was unable to find anything about the artist (and still not yet to this day), but also, I could not find anymore the original picture that I downloaded to create the "meme" in the first place. It is as if it disappeared from the internet, and of course, I cannot retrieve the website from which I downloaded the picture either. The only one I could find and constantly reappearing (probably due to the interest it generated and the increasing number of clicks on it) was my incorrect "meme"...

      So, I just wrote this post on my wine blog for 2 main reasons: 

      The first one was to be able to share with you the little story behind this "meme" that I created and love, and which represents (in my opinion) the perfect Valentine's Day post... Men, you have been warned, this meme is a subliminal message, basically saying that "Ladies love their wine better than you and you are totally forgettable" (there, here it is, I have said it.... and frankly that's not surprising.... not sure if I'm gonna make me some friends by saying things like this....😇) 

      The second reason is that I'm still searching for the author/artist who drew this comic to credit him or her for the drawing and say thank you for this very inspiring drawing too. So, if any of you reading this post have any info/clues/ideas about the author/artist of this drawing, it would be very nice of you if you could please let me know by writing a comment below this post. I will really appreciate. 

      Thanks in advance for helping me in my search for the artist/author of this drawing. 

      And don't get me wrong, this Pop-Art comic-book-like drawing could be a Roy Lichtenstein, but so far I have not found any clue or info that would confirm it. 

      And at the end of the day, Roy Lichtenstein is surely THE most famous artist who used this type of comic-book-like drawing style during the Pop-Art era in the 1950s and more especially the 1960s, but he was not the only one. Remember that American comic book artists and authors started drawing like this as early as the mid-1930s. 

      Nevertheless, I'm a huge fan of Roy Lichtenstein works. To me, he represents and remains an icon, or should I say a beacon of the Pop-Art era, along with famous artists Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and James Rosenquist. 

      And Roy's comic-book-style drawings are true masterpieces that have inspired countless other artists who have been drawing with the same style ever since. Therefore, this drawing could have been made much more recently. Not sure, and I still don't know.... but maybe you do know, do you? 

      That's all folks for today, please let me know if you know the name of the author/artist who did the drawing of my "meme", and in the meantime "Love Pop-Art!!!"

      Santé! Cheers!

      LeDomduVin (a.k.a. Dominique Noël) 

      (*) I just wanted to correct a global misconception, Lambert Wilson (as "The Merovingian" in "The Matrix Reloaded") at the end of the quote cited above, does not say: "d'enculer ta mère" (like in most websites on the internet where you can find this particular quote), but, (and you can distinctively hear it when you pay attention to it in the video above), instead, he says: "d'enculé de ta mère", which is still as vulgar in French, but has a totally different meaning, which does not involve "ta mère" ("your mother") the same way and does not imply the same thing.... a very important point in my opinion (as I really believe they will not have authorized the former to be said in such a popular and large audience oriented movie). And no, I won't translate it...   

      Thursday, May 16, 2019

      Wine Bottle Weight, Shape, Glass and Label Design Changes Over Time (Post 1)

      Wine Bottle Weight, Shape, Glass 

      and Label Design Changes Over Time 

      (Post 1)

      Wine Bottle Weight by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      Wine Bottle Weight (Full and Empty)

      Did you ever wonder how much a bottle of wine weight? In kilos (kg) or pounds (lbs)? 

      Well, one of my colleagues asked me this question recently, which prompted me to write this little post on the subject to transcribe my answer to him for you all, just in case you'll be interested to know. 

      First, let's clarify a huge universal misconception.

      Basically, it is common ground to believe that 12 full regular bottles of wine weigh about 9 kg (kilos) or 19.842 lbs (pounds), as their volume per bottle is 750 ml (millilitres) and because 1 ml = 1gr, therefore 750 ml = 750 gr (grams) or 0.75 kg (kilos) or 1.653 lbs (pounds); so

      750 gr x 12 bottles = 9 kg or 19.842 lbs (pounds)

      1 kg = 2.20462262 pounds (usually rounded at 2.205 pounds)
      but check the "Kilos to Pounds" conversion table below for more references.

      Kilos to Pounds Conversion Table by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      This universal misconception of thinking that a case of wine only weighs 9 kg is purely and simply incorrect. Worst, it is completely wrong. It is wrong as 9 kg (kilos) or 19.842 lbs (pounds) would only be the weight of the liquid inside the bottles (the content only), not including the weight of the bottles themselves as well as the weight of wood of the case (meaning without the container).

      NB: For the purpose of this post, I'm not including the combined weight of the capsule, the cork and the label(s), which usually only account for a few additional grams to the fully dressed up bottle. Even if I know that, obviously, the capsule made of tin or wax, (which are usually heavier than the ones made of heat-shrink plastic, PVC, or aluminium), as well as the long and full high-quality natural cork (usually heavier than agglomerate and synthetic corks), could evidently be adding a tiny, yet significant amount of weight that should be added to the total weight of the bottle. But I won't take it into consideration for this post if you don't mind.   

      Therefore, to answer the question that opened this post (and we will only focus on A for this post):

      The weight of a bottle of wine = A (wine weight + bottle weight) + B (capsule+cork+labels)

      But wait, it would be too easy if it was that simple (and that's where it usually gets more complicated), wouldn't it? 

      Yes, it would be that simple, if all regular wine bottles had the same shape and weight. However, that is not the case, and that is why it is so difficult to answer this question, as there is not one simple correct answer, but thousands of them. 

      Not only bottles of wine come into a countless amount of shapes, but they also come into a countless amount of weights due to the heaviness and thickness of the glass used for the bottle. 


      Some French Wine Bottle Shapes by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      As you can see, a picture is worth a thousand words... There are 9 different shapes already in this collage with 9 different thickness and heaviness of the glass used for these particular bottles... (sigh)

      So, to refute this common (wrong) belief that a case of 12 bottles weighs about 9 kilos and that most regular bottles weigh about the same, let's apply some simple arithmetic to find an answer that will satisfy even the most sceptical ones.

      By experience, I can say that a case of 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine weighs about 20-21 kilos on average (which is far above the common believe of 9 kilos, wouldn't you say?). Let's take 21 kilos for this example.

      Approximate Weight of a case of 12 bottles of wines by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      NB: Please note that I took round numbers for the case weight in pounds (i.e. a wooden case of 12 bottles may weigh between 40 and 50 pounds), as it was easier visually and for the calculation too.
      However, also know that, in fact, some wine boxes/cases may weigh as low as 18.5 kilos (or 40.786 lbs) and up to 23 kilos (or 50.706 lbs) or more (which explains the range I took of 40-50 pounds).

      As detailed in the table above, you can see that if a "Heavy Weight" wooden case of 12 regular Bordeaux bottles weighs about 21 kilos, then the weigh of a bottle of wine (including the wood weigh of the case) is about 1.75 kg or 3.75 lbs (including the wood weigh... important to repeat it for those who may have not understand it in the table above).

      Now that we clarified this point, we still have the issue of the wood weigh included in the bottle weight (i.e. in the calculation above 1.75 kg = (bottle weight + wine weight + wood weight)).

      So, I could have applied some simple arithmetic formula there again to determine the wood weight and the full bottle weight, but as mentioned above, bottles of wine come into a countless amount of shapes, but they also come into a countless amount of weights due to the heaviness and thickness of the glass used for the bottle, and therefore, it is very difficult to apply a formula as each bottle has its particular shape and weight.

      Consequently, I played a little exercise for this particular post, I weighed some empty bottles I have around the office and in our headquarter's cellar, and I just added to their respective weight the content of the bottle - the volume of the wine if you prefer (750 ml = 750 gr or 0.750 kg or 1.653 lbs if easier to understand, refer to the conversion table above if needed).

      To anticipate and prevent from the annoying questions of the sceptics, and other non-believers of all sorts, I took some pictures while weighing the bottles, to show you how I obtained the various empty bottle weights, that I took as references for the numbers indicated in the column "Approximate Weight Empty Bottle" in the table below.

      I weighed and compared the following empty bottles:

      Pictures of empty bottles on a mini scale to obtain the weight of each bottle
      (Bordeaux, Burgundy and Loire) by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      The wines in the picture above are:

      • Clavis Orea Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2015
      • Petrus Pomerol 1961
      • Château Haut-Brion Graves 1982 
      • Domaine de la Vougeraie Gevrey-Chambertin 2014
      • DRC (Domaine de la Romanée Conti) Romanée Conti Grand Cru 1966
      Loire Valley:
      • Domaine A, Cailbourdin Pouilly Fumé "Les Cris" 2015

      Pictures of empty bottles on a mini scale to obtain the weight of each bottle
      (Champagne, Napa, Tuscany, Germany) by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      The wines in the picture above are:

      • Gosset Grand Blanc de Blancs NV 
      • Dom Perignon Oenotheque 1969
      • Château Cheval Blanc Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé A 1947 (A. de Luze et Fils label, I believe, but TBC) 
      Napa Valley:
      • SLOAN Rutherford 2004
      • SOLDERA Toscana 2006
      • J.J. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese 1988 

      I put the weighing results in this "Wine Bottle Weight (empty and full)" table below, for a better visual.

      NB: Please note that the weights of the bottles in the pictures above (transcribed in the table below) are just a few examples for reference only, and therefore, may not constitute definite or accurate numbers for other bottles than the ones I weighed, as each wine bottle has its own shape and weight. Meaning that even 2 bottles of the same producer, same wine, same vintage, same volume, and even in some cases same bottle lot number, may present slight variations in shape and weight. (Needless to say that even scales can have slight variations too, so these weight numbers are for references to these specific bottles only)

      Wine Bottle Weight (Empty and Full) by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      So, as you probably realized (looking at this table above), the weight of a regular empty bottle of wine for this particular exercise (regular meaning 750ml) can be
      • anywhere between the range of 500 grams (or 1.10 lbs) and 950 grams (or 2.094 lbs), 
      • with the lightest as low as 475 gr (or 1.047 lbs) and the heaviest up to 1012 gr (or 2.231 lbs)    

      Interesting, isn't it? Personally, I find this fascinating, but not everyone can be as passionate by the wine and the bottle details as I am... a bad professional habit, in fact, as, as a Wine Quality Control Director, I spend a lot of time studying and scrutinizing wine bottles on a daily basis.

      However, I hope that this little post is helping you to better understand that there is no simple answer to the question  "What is the weight of a bottle of wine?" or "How much does a bottle of wine weight?" (as it clearly depends on the empty bottle weight, which can be drastically different from one to the next due to the thickness and heaviness of the glass used for the bottle). 

      So, now that we have roughly figured out the weight of an empty bottle and added the weigh of the volume of the wine inside, we just have to deduct the wood weight and/or subtract it to the total of the empty bottle weight + volume + wood weight. 

      Let's take an example based on a case of 12 bottles of Bordeaux wine weighing about 21 kilos (or 46.297 lbs) and we can take the empty bottle weight of Cheval Blanc 1947 in the table above (0.824 kg) as an example, then we can separate each component and conclude the following:

      A.    If a case of 12 bottles of Bordeaux weight = 21 kg
      B.    Then, 1 bottle of Bordeaux weight (including the case's wood weight) = 1.75 kg
      C.    Example of an empty regular Bordeaux bottle weight = 0.824 kg
      D.    Wine volume weight (per 750ml bottle) = 0.750 kg

      Therefore, (B - C - D) = E (Wood weight per bottle) = 0.176 kg
      And consequently, (C + D) = F (Full Bottle weight without the wood weight) = 1.574 kg

      or, expressed differently,
      • Case weight divided by the total of bottles in the case:  21 / 12 = 1.75 kg
      • Full bottle weight including wood weight minus volume weight: 1.75 - 0.75 = 1 kg
      • Empty bottle weight including wood weight minus empty bottle weight: 1 - 0.824 = 0.176 kg
      • Wood weight = 0.176 kg per bottle (for this particlar example for a 21 kg case of 12 bottles)
      • Full bottle weight = 0.824 + 0.75 = 1.574 kg

      Here is another table to make it visually easier for you:

      Full Bottle Weight Calculation Example by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      NB: And remember, as stated previously above, that the combined weight of the capsule + cork + labels (front and back) was not taken into consideration for this exercise. However, you can definitely add a few more grams to the full bottle total weight if you want, knowing that a tin capsule is about 3-8 gr, and a cork between 3-6 gr.

      Tin Capsule and Cork weight examples
      - by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      FYI: add a few more grams to the tin capsule examples in the picture above as the top of the capsule is missing (the reason why I wrote about 3-8 gr)

      A brief history of bottle shapes 

      and glass thickness and heaviness

      It is interesting to notice that, historically, the bottle's weights and shapes, as well as the thickness and heaviness of the glass used for the bottles, changed over time, up and down, almost like a trend, meaning coming and going, from heavy to light to heavy again to light again, depending on the availability, style and belief (or trend) of the moment.

      For example, some Châteaux in Bordeaux had heavier, broader and longer bottles back in the 40s and 50s, then lighter and leaner in the 60s and 70s up to the 80s, to go back to heavier style of bottles with thicker glass (more Californian style) in the late 90s and early to mid-2000s, to once again and finally go back to less heavy, more conventional Bordeaux style bottles since the late 2000s and early 2010s.

      Bottle glass colors - Photo courtesy of 

      Even the color of the glass used for the bottles also changed, from darker brown or green to lighter brown or lighter green, to darker again to lighter again... and don't even get started on the color of the glass depending on the region and wine style, for example:

      • Bordeaux: dark green for reds, light green for dry whites, colorless/transparent usually for sweet whites and rosés  (colorless for rosés pretty much everywhere around the world)
      • Burgundy and the Rhone: dark green or even dark brown/amber up to the 60s and 70s. 
      • Mosel and Alsace: usually dark to medium green, but also traditionally brown/amber and even blue

      Colorless/transparent glass is usually used for wines that are made for immediate consumption like most rosés and some dry whites, which, therefore do not require to be protected with a darker glass against the ray of lights (sun lights as well as neon and other artificial lights). Colorless/transparent glass is also used for aesthetics and easier visual recognition of the wine color, more particularly for rosé, orange and blue wines.   

      Examples of Amphoras from Ancient Egypt, Greece and Roman Era
      by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      To go back to the bottle's weights and shapes changes, as well as the evolution of the glass thickness, heaviness and color, we may say that they can be attributed to history itself.

      Let's have a brief look at what happened over the last 5000 years:
      • The earliest trace of known man-made glass, found in Eastern Mesopotamia and Egypt, dates as far back as around 3500BC (or 2500BC depending on the source). At that time, black volcanic glass was apparently wrought and used to make weapons, amulets and decorative objects probably mostly used in rituals.  
      • 1550 BC - Ancient Egypt started its production of glass for various purposes, but not necessarily as a vessel for wine (or maybe wine glass and decanter-like style of tools, who knows), they instead used amphorae, sealed with leather or clothes (clay and wax were maybe also used at that time), for the fermentation, storage and transportation of the wine. The wine was kept in clay/pottery amphoras or jars of various sizes and shapes, and wine was served in clay/pottery mugs. 
      • 1400BC  -  The discovery of faience accelerated the evolution of glass and by the mid-1400 BC, glass production was firmly established and further developed in Egypt, yet it remained a costly material, only accessible to the royals and the nobles or the rich merchants at the time. Clay/pottery amphoras or jars and mugs were the norms. 
      • 25BC - The glass blowing technique was introduced during the Roman Era. The Romans and the Gallic having discovered the advantages of using barrels (previously mainly used for beer) instead of the amphoras and pottery jars, mainly used for ageing and storage, gradually extended the use of that new vessel for wine. Aside from leather and clothes, clay and wax were also in use as sealants, cork was apparently also in use as a sealant but necessarily to seal wine containers (like amphoras or barrels). Although the romans had access to glass for various use, amphorae and poettry jars and mugs were mainly used for the service of wine. Glasses were made out clay/pottery, faience or metal.         
      • By 3 AD, due to the abundance and proliferation of oak trees in Europe, the Romans had adopted the oak barrel as the vessel of choice for wine fermentation, ageing, storage and transportation. Compared to other types of wood experimented at the time, and aside of its fine grain, making it an ideal choice to keep liquid safe inside due to its permeability, they realized that oak bestows additional flavors to the taste as well as making the wine softer and in some cases better. Aside from the other sealants, it is said that cork was also used as a sealant at that time (and even since Ancient Egypt, but it was not then the prefered sealant of choice for wine it became centuries later).    
      • Up until the late 1500s, glass was somewhat fragile, expensive and difficult to manufacture as the bottles and other vessels were hand blown at the time. Aside from leather, clothes, clay, wax, or even porcelain, glass stoppers were also in use but not favoured as a prime choice as each had to be created on an individual basis to perfectly seal their corresponding hand-blown bottle/vessel, which was a delicate and painful process. Moreover, if stuck inside the neck of the bottle, the glass stopper could easily break or break the neck of the bottle while being removed.  
      • 1600s - The invention of the coal furnace allowed for the production of bottles made with stronger, thicker and heavier glass, more difficult to break and thus safer than the glass vessels and glass stoppers made until then. Although wine was still aged and transported in barrels during that time, glass bottles began to be used as a prefered container for wine, which was eventually transferred to individual glass bottles, easier for storage, sale, consumption and transportation too. The sealants cited above were still in use, including glass stoppers, but cork use was in rising as it proved easier and more versatile than other types of stoppers. 
      PS: The 1600s coal furnace was used to craft glass materials and other tools, nothing to do with the first riveted-steel coal furnace built in 1885 for domestic use as a home heating device.
      • By the late 1600s, creating more uniform and homogeneous bottles, in shape and design, was now more possible, and cork became the sealing material of choice, as proved "somewhat" easier and less dangerous to remove from the bottleneck, compared to glass stoppers which often remained jammed into the neck of the bottle and easily broke during removal. However, people struggled to remove the cork from the neck of the bottle as, although the mention of it can be traced as early as 1676, corkscrews did not officially exist until 1681. The earliest wine bottles were rounded in shape with a round base and were often held in special stands or baskets to enable them to stand up without falling or rolling on their side. Gradually the bottle's base became flat and thus self-supporting. The bottle's bodies resembled more like an onion or were balloon-shaped, while the neck's length varied from long to short, depending on the use and purpose of the bottle. 

      Wine Bottle History - Photo courtesy of

      • During the 1700s, the bottle became smaller and their shape(s) became more cylindrical, allowing for the bottles to be laid on their side, rather than always standing up, which was better for storage and transport and easier for service too. Glass bottles were now widely used for all sorts of beverage (still wines, sparkling wines, beers, ciders, spirits, etc...), coming in various sizes and shapes still quite different than today's wine bottles: some bottles boasting shorter, sturdier bodies with rather large bases and shorter necks.; and some being large glass wine jars. Cork was by now established as the bottle sealant of choice. Yet, people still struggled to remove it from the neck of the bottle and had to wait nearly a century of trials later for easy-to-use corkscrews to become available, as the first corkscrew patent was only granted to the Reverend Samuell Henshall,  in 1795, in England. (*)
      • Early 19th century, roughly by the 1820s, wine bottle shapes had evolved and resembled more the ones we use today. Their production had increased drastically and although still presenting some defaults and asperities, consistency of shapes and design had become much better, much more uniform and homogenous than previously. Yet, it took real craftsmanship and artisanal skills to create the elegant, stylish and chiselled bottles made for special orders, events and purposes.     
      • 1920s -30s - Prohibition - Glass bottles were quite heavy, made with thick glass, broader shoulder than the bottom
      • 1939 - 45 - WWII -  Still heavy bottle with thick glass made from whatever glass was available at the time. As glass was difficult to find during the war, glasses of various colours were often recycled then melted together, and therefore, it is not uncommon to find bottles of the same château, same wine and same vintage in bottles with a slightly different color (some greener, some browner, some in between) and even shape sometimes.    

      How Glass Colors for Wine Bottle are Made by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      NB: Did you know that prior World War II brown glass was more in use for bottles of wines (and beer) than green coloured glass? The reason differs depending on the source. However, it is very likely that it is due to a lack of sulfur availability for the production of bottles. Why sulfur? Because the amber or brown color of a glass bottle is produced by the addition of sulfur (as well as carbon, and iron salts) to the glass. And why was it lacking during World War II? Because sulfur was a critical industrial and military substance at the time, which was also used back then in both agriculture and viticulture, but also heavily used in medicine as an antibacterial in a sulfur-based drug called "sulfanilamide". During World War II, sulfanilamide powder became a standard in first-aid kits for the treatment of open wounds, and was therefore restricted or limited for other uses. Green glass is the result of an addition of iron oxide to glass. And iron oxide only having fewer other uses than as a pigment and not being used to produce steel, was more available then sulfur. Consequently, although amber and brown glasses are still produced, green glass became the standard after World War II, and green gradually replaced the amber/brown bottles, some not until a few decades later. A good example is Jaboulet which only changed its bottles from brown to green in the late 70s.      

      • 1950s - Transition period with predominantly heavy bottles with thick glass, yet lighter bottles start to appear as wine production and demand increased
      • 1960s - The firstborn of the baby boomers era (1946-1964) were about to reach their 20s, nearly doubling the earth population, from 2 billion prior WWII to 3.3 billion people in the mid-1960s, time is to party and to forget the wars, celebrate the peace, music is evolving, people feel freer than ever before, wine is in demand and thus production is rising, bottles are becoming smaller, with leaner glass.
      • 1970s - The era of industrialization and factories, the earth population rose to 4 billion people, time is to mass production, quantity over quality, bottles are getting smaller, leaner and even clearer than before. By the end of the 70s, most brown and amber bottles have been replaced by the green bottles, which has been adopted and accepted by most regions, except a minority of only a few producers and within certain regions: e.g. in Germany,
        • where brown/dark amber color bottles are usually used for the wines from the Rheingau region,
        • compared to the dark green used for the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, 
        • as for the switch to blue bottles in the late 70s early 80s, it was more the result of a marketing stunt from a few producers to distinguish and differentiate their brand/wine from the rest
      NB: remember that the color of the glass of the bottle does not give any indications on the quality or price or even the provenance of the wine (except in Germany for the latter, maybe)         
      • 1980s - The era of the rise of capitalism, we talk about money, we talk about the dollar bill, also nicknamed "the Greed decade", western Europe was deep under the influence of the American dream (Movies, TV Series, Music, Clothes, Fast Food, etc...), the earth population rose to 4.8 billion people by the mid-80s, the world is experiencing important socioeconomic changes due to drastic advances in technologies and techniques, wine production was still on the rise, quality started to overcome quantity, bottles are now smaller, leaner and even clearer than they were 40 years ago, and became the norm for the Classic Bordeaux and Burgundy bottles
      • 1990s - The end of the cold war and the rise of the technology with major communication, multiculturalism, alternative media, worldwide web, cable television and cellphone advances, luxury goods and brands are also on the rise. Rare artisanal products become cult products, accessible to only a few. By the late 1990s, "expensive" means to be produced in small quantities, be visually different and show a certain weight. Thus, the bottles of the most expensive wines of the world distinguish themselves from the rest by becoming heavier and thicker, more especially in Napa Valley where cult wineries with tiny production excel at being the heavyweight champions of the heavy bottles the wine world has to offer.          
      • 2000s  - The new millennium, the decade responsible (among too many other things) for the rise of the social networks (i.e. MySpace, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc...) the "iPhones" and thus the beginning of the "human's addiction to smartphones" era, which unavoidably resulted into  an incurable global infection known as "the phone zombies", and other significant cultural highlights as well as disasters (i.e. the housing crisis of 2006, followed by the financial crisis of 2008 and their consequences) and political milestones across the globe (i.e. Barack Obama was the first African American elected at the Presidency and became the 44th President of the United States) and so many other things (but as usual I'm derivating from the initial subject).

      Examples of Bottle and Label Design Changes Over Time  

      Part 1

      So, to go back to the initial subject of this post which is the weight of the bottle and thickness and heaviness of the glass of the wine bottles, the 2000s (and 2010s) saw a lot of Châteaux having their label or bottle specially embossed or engraved or redesigned for the celebration of the millennium or specific dates and anniversaries of certain events or people. 

      Bordeaux Engraved Bottles and Special Labels Examples by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      In the collage above, I put a few examples of engraved bottles and special labels of famous Bordeaux wines (from left to right): 

      • Château Angelus 2012 - Angelus engraved the bottle of this particular vintage with 21-carat Gold to commemorated their promotion from Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru "Classé B" (since the classification of 1996) to 1er Grand Cru "Classé A" as the result of the Saint-Emilion Classification of 2012 (the latest classification of this appellation to date) 
      • Château Mouton Rothschild 2000 - Mouton Rothschild celebrated both the New Century and New Millenium by engraving the bottle of this particular vintage with a very finely chiselled and detailed replica of "The Augsburg Ram" in 24-carat Gold
      • Château Margaux 2015 - Margaux offered the best tribute to the late Paul Pontallier who joined the famous 1st Growth estate in 1983 at the age of 27 years old, a few years after graduating as an oenologist and agricultural engineer, prior becoming the Managing Director of this iconic wine estate in 1990, a position he proudly occupied until his passing in March 2016.       
      • Château Pavie 2012 - Pavie was also promoted from Saint-Emilion 1er Grand Cru "Classé B" (since the classification of 1996) to 1er Grand Cru "Classé A" as the result of the Saint-Emilion Classification of 2012 (the latest classification of this appellation to date), and marked the event by redesigning their label in black and gold for this particular vintage (a contrast with their usually so clear and colorful label)  
      • Château Mouton Rothschild 2003 - Mouton Rothschild marked the 150th Anniversary (1853 - 2003) of the Château belonging to the Rothschild family, by redesigning the label to be more conic and representing a sitting Baron Nathaniel de Rothschild. The bottle was heavier with broader shoulder than usual Mouton bottles.   
      It is interesting to notice that for all these bottles cited as examples in the collage above, despite the engraving or label design changes, all the bottles were bigger, heavier and thus made with thicker glass than the regular bottles usually used by these châteaux respectively.  

      Aparté about the 2000s decade

      As an important aparté, we can also talk about the fact that 2000s is also the decade when climate changes, global pollution and global warming (which gradually increase since the late 1960s) became obvious and irrefutable facts, with years starting to get hotter from one year to the next, generating "supposedly natural" disasters more often and more devastating from one year to the next all around the globe.   

      Fig. 1. Annual mean, global (80S to 80N) temperature anomalies
      (difference from the long-term 1980-2009 average) for the lower troposphere (TLT).
      Graph courtesy of

      "Except for 1998, all of the warmest years occur after 2000, providing clear evidence of global temperature increase in the troposphere."
      Since then, the 2010s have only confirmed these climatic changes, which seem to increase in size and strength, as well as being more destructive and repetitive from one year to the next. It has even become impossible for the sceptics to deny them anymore, their occurrence and frequency being so alarming and challenging in so many ways nowadays.

      "Napa, Sonoma wineries hit hard by wildfires" Article of October 9th 2017
      - Photo courtesy of

      For example, Sonoma and Napa (and California overall) have been suffering from wildfires ravaging the vineyards, and the coastline in general, every year now. Before it used to happen more scarcely and sporadically, now we are even talking about "wildfires season" (like for anything else, instead of fighting and eventually eradicating the problem at the roots, humans got used to it, as part of their yearly routine and gave a name to it... sigh). We all sadly remember the wildfires of 2017 (250 wildfires in total), which started early October (October 9th) and lasted nearly a month prior being fully extinguished, and ravaged the equivalent of 99,148 hectares of land (including woods, vineyards, wineries and other buildings) and also destroyed at least 1500 homes. It was a nightmare. And it is now occurring every year, not necessarily with the same intensity, but still. My thoughts go to all the people of California.

      Vineyards Across Europe Are Ablaze — 
      Winemakers Light Torches To Stave Off The Record-Breaking Cold
      - Photo courtesy of

      Other examples of these catastrophic climatic changes are the late frost and hail storms now occurring nearly every year in Western Europe reducing the annual production of thousands of producers, impacting the whole agriculture and forestry industry and even destroying a countless amount of vineyards and other crops:

      • In 2016, some regions in Burgundy, like Chablis, lost about half of their harvest/crop due to frost, hail and mildew. 2016 will be remembered as one of the country's smallest wine harvest, for the last 30 years in records, across France as a whole, due to a mixture of hail, frost and mildew. 
      • April 27th 2017 - Devastating late frost occurred destroying more than 40% of the early buds  and thus the potential crops in Bordeaux vineyards  
      • May 26 2018 - Devastating hail storm in Bordeaux seriously impacting regions like Blaye and Bourg, the Médoc and the Entre-Deux-Mers, destroying up to 80% of the crop in some places (even 100% at the worst), which already suffered from another hail storm back in 2013. 
      • Early April 2019 and more especially the 13, 14 and 15 of April 2019 - Some regions are touched by a sudden frost lowering the temperatures up to -4°C in some regions of France, while others are devasted by severe hail storms

      This was just an aparté, but I thought it was important to talk about these climatic changes and their consequences and impacts on the vineyards. I only took California and France as examples, yet these problems, directly or indirectly generated by these climatic changes, are nowadays occurring all around the globe.

      NB: Sorry, I'm derivating from the main subject again (as usual), so let's go back to the conversation about the bottles and labels made for special occasions, events and/or people.

      Examples of Bottle and Label Design Changes Over Time  

      Part 2

      So, as I was saying prior to the "aparté", it is important to mention the bottles produced for particular vintages, occasions or other events, as they are generally rare occurrences in the world of fine wines, which usually tends to stay away from drastic changes and prefers to keep tradition and heritage for recognition rather than embracing innovation and creativity to transform their image. It is the case for fine wines as it is also the case for most luxury goods; changes, in the world of the rich and famous Châteaux and Domaines, are the results a slow process requiring a long time thinking and planning for the long term, and therefore cannot be the results of a hasty decision.

      As already expressed above, some Châteaux produced special bottles with a different shape and/or heavier/thicker glass, embossed and/or showcasing a redesigned main label for the turn of the century and/or the turn of the millennial (i.e. vintage 2000), or for the anniversary of the Château or the owners.  

      In fact, if we take the first growths, Latour and Mouton-Rothschild are very good examples of these changes over time, compared to their counterparts, Château Haut-Brion, Margaux and Lafite Rothschild, which never really changed their respective label, nor the shape of their bottles and/or the heaviness or the thickness of the glass.

      Let's take Château Latour for example:

      Chateau Latour Bottle Shapes and Weight Evolution over time by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      In this "Château Latour" collage above, (that I made for a better visual of what I'm trying to say), showing the evolution of the shape of the bottle they used over time, you can notice that Château Latour's bottles have changed a little over the years, as well as the label, which has slightly evolved:

      • The 1949 vintage is a tall bottle with broad shoulders larger than the bottom of the bottle 
      • The 1964 vintage is a smaller, leaner and straight bottle
      • The 1985 vintage is a modern version of the 1964 vintage, less lean, but still smaller and straight compared to the 1949 vintage
      • The 2003 vintage is bigger, slightly taller with broader shoulders than 1964 and 1985, but it is more straight than 1949
      • The 2011 vintage is back a what we call a more conventional Bordeaux bottle, taller and bigger than 1964 and 1985, but as straight as them, yet not as thick, heavy or tall as 2003 and definitely not as 1949  

      As the scale of the size of these bottles (on my collage above) may not be correct, let's have a look at some pictures I took of some full and empty bottles of Château Latour (bottles I have at the office and in our headquarter's cellar), to see these differences. It might be a better visual.

      Chateau Latour 1952, 1953, 1961 and 1982 bottles
      - by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      As you can see in the picture above:

      • Château Latour 1952 and 1953 vintages have higher and broader shoulders than both the 1961 and 1982, the glass is also darker, thicker and thus heavier 
      • Also to a certain extent, the bottle of 1961 has a slightly narrower body and not as broad shoulders as the bottle of 1982

      Once again, to prove it to the sceptics (who might not believe that I took these pictures and/or that I handle this type of old and rare bottles on a daily basis, and, last but not least, also for records and references purposes for future inspection, as I'm a Wine Quality control Director after all), I made some collages with pictures showing the weight of the empty bottles (not the full bottles as they are too expensive and I did not want to take them out of the cellar and handle them for too long, they are old ladies in need of TLC you know.... 😊 ...but I might another day for the purpose of another post).

      Château Latour 1950, 1961 x 2, 1982 empty bottles with bottle weights
      - by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      As you can see in the picture above, the weight of these empty bottles of Château Latour varies quite a bit depending on the vintage. And as already mentioned above, the weight may even vary between two bottles of the same wine and same vintage, like it is the case for these bottles of 1961 vintage.

      • Château Latour 1950 empty bottle weight is 628 gr (or 628 + 750 = 1,378 kg for a full bottle)
      • Château Latour 1961 (1) empty bottle weight is 569 gr (or 569 + 750 = 1,319 kg for a full bottle) 
      • Château Latour 1961 (2) empty bottle weight is 594 gr (or 594 + 750 = 1,344 kg for a full bottle) 
      • Château Latour 1982 empty bottle weight is 545 gr (or 545 + 750 = 1,295 kg for a full bottle) 

      Let's do a graph to have a better visual:

      Chateau Latour Bottle Weight Comparison by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      PS: I will try to find empty bottles of these specific bottles to weigh them with the mini-scale and take pictures to show the difference in weight between these vintages and the difference of bottle shape and heaviness and thickness of the glass used. 

      Chateau Mouton Rothschild

      Chateau Mouton-Rothschild Label Designs over the last 120 years 
      by ©LeDomduVin 2019

      I did the collage above and, (as usual), started to write quite intensively (about the history and design evolution of the labels of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild), when I realized how long this post was already. So, I  decided to create a brand new post solely dedicated to the history and design evolution of the labels of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, plus a few more chapters on the bottle shape, weight and glass used for the bottles (like I did above for Chateau Latour).

      Read my post on Chateau Mouton Rothschild here 


      To conclude this lengthy post (where I derivated from the original subject and lost myself in too many details, as usual), and in order to give somewhat of an answer to the initial question, and based on the numbers in the various tables above, we can finally say that the weight of a full bottle of wine of 750ml (glass + volume) is roughly between 1.3 kg (or 2.866 lbs) and 1.8 kg (3.968 lbs), depending on the 2 main following factors:

      • The shape of the bottles (sizes variations due to)
        • Region
        • Tradition
        • Style
        • Design
        • Wine Type
      • The thickness and heaviness of the glass (depending on)
        • Trend
        • Design
        • Wine Type
        • Winery's owner/Winemaker decision

      Voilà! I think that answer the question... 😊

      Fact: In this catastrophized time of climate changes, global warming, ever increasing pollution, weather control, and control over Mother Nature (by spraying chemicals into the air to modify the weather; also called "Cloud Seeding", a process of spraying common chemicals, including silver iodide, potassium iodide and/or dry ice (solid carbon dioxide), to dissipate heavy clouds and minimize the impact of hail storms and/or frost wave for example, or to simply prevent from rain to fall and maintain a blue sky and/or dimish the pollution in the air for certain events (e.g. 2008 Olympic Games in Bejing, China, for example) and/or for the venue of President or particular political personalities (occuring in Europe, USA, China, and probably elsewhere), and with men's failed attempts to change anything of his bad habits and behaviours over the last 70 years and the direct and indirect consequences these may have caused on the planet's environmental equilibrium, needless to say that the heavier the bottle is, the less "environment-friendly" it is (for the reasons you can imagine: production's energy and cost, weight, transport, logistics, etc...).

      Tips: Diminish/reduce your use of plastic products, for example, do not buy any more water in plastic bottles, buy a kettle water boiler (to boil tap water) and recycle a few of your empty bottle of wines (transparent if possible, like "Rosé" wine bottles) that you will refill with the boiled water on a daily basis (only once the water has cooled down, of course, please do not pour boiling water into a glass bottle as it may explode due to the heat - you've been warned). That is what I personally do at home, and as a family of 4, we easily drink 3 bottles of 750ml of water per meal (3 for lunch and 3 for dinner). That's about 4.5 Liters of drinking water a day!!! Evidently, you roughly know what you spend on drinking water in plastic bottles on a weekly basis, so imagine the savings if you were using a kettle... moreover, you will contribute to helping preserve the environment and at the same time you will reduce your carbon footprint by producing less non-recyclable trash and non-biodegradable waste... just saying...

      That's all folks for today!

      Stay tuned for more post like this one coming soon, and leave me a comment below if you feel like it. 

      Santé! Cheers!

      LeDomduVin (a.k.a Dominique Noël)

      PS: This post comes as a complement to another post, titled "Bottle Dimensions", that I wrote 2 years ago and that you can read here

      Step into the Green! Drink more Biodynamic and Organic wines (and food) from sustainable culture and respect the environment! Preserve the Planet!

      (*) Source from Wikipedia and Jancis Robinson The Oxford Companion to Wine
      (**) Read more history of the bottles and transport at (here)
      (***) Info about Chateau Mouton-Rothschild was taken or partly taken from the Château website at, but also from a very interesting and useful online book (in French) by Philippe Margot, titled "L'intégral des étiquettes de Château Mouton-Rothschild de 1855 à aujourd'hui" that you can read here