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brandy bottles

  • Addressing Environmental Concerns

    EnvironmentalSeveral environmental initiatives, designed to address climate change, have been launched recently:

    1.  In Cognac, the BNIC has introduced a ban on the chemical weeding of vineyard plots stating that winegrowers must control vegetation ‘by mechanical means’ in order to ‘preserve the terroir’s environment and resources.’  In addition, chemical weeding of field boundaries has been banned.  The new ruling must be implemented by August 2020.

    2.  Closure maker, Diam Bouchage, has announced that using cork “is a long-term contribution to climate change mitigation”.  The company claims that its cork production now absorbs more carbon dioxide than it creates.  Cork forests help to absorb CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere and the trees are only harvested every 10 years for their bark.  Demand for more corks will therefore lead to the planting of more trees.  Cork trees live for over 120 years so their effect on the atmosphere is long lived.

    3.  In an attempt to address the perennial problem of drink packaging, Carlsberg have produced a ‘paper bottle’.  Made from sustainably sourced wood fibres, it has a bio-based “inner barrier” which enables the bottle to hold beer and be fully recyclable.  Still under development it is hoped that controlled testing will begin in 2020.

  • Brandy Bottles

    Glass containers and bottles are believed to have first been made around 1500 BC but serious use of containers made out of glass probably did not occur until around 100 BC. More practical applications for glass were established with the advent of glass blowing, probably around a thousand years later. Modern glass bottles are made in commercial moulds and most bottles that contain alcoholic beverages, including brandy bottles, are made of clear glass.

    That however has not always been the case. The traditional brandy bottle started life as a green or, as in the case of cognac, black glass container. The dark colour may have been chosen to hide any sediment that had been left in the bottom of the barrel.  Modern glass however is pure and bright which enhances the cognac in the bottle to the highest level. Today we use a wide range of such bottles, many of which are produced from recycled glass.  Although the quality of the glass used varies considerably, we choose to buy all our bottles from Saverglass who have a large depot in Cognac.

    Hermitage 1947The size of early hand blown bottles often depended on the quantity of glass the blower had on his pipe and so the quantity each bottle held was largely guess work.  It has now become tradition that the cognac bottle is an upright 70cl size but the volume only became metric in the mid-1950s. Before that, all spirits were measured in imperial measurements.  Strangely, European spirit bottles are now all 70cl whereas in the USA they opt for the slightly larger wine bottle size of 75cl.

    Today, there is a general consistency of bottle shapes havingBaron de Sainte-Fauste developed from region to region and beverage to beverage. For cognac the very basic upright bottle shape is known as the “Cognacaise”.  At Hermitage, we use the “Exception” bottle but also a range of carafes to which many customers are attracted. The traditional bottle shape for armagnac is the “Basquaise” which is round with flat sides and for calvados the longer necked “Normandy” bottle is still generally supplied in bottle green.

    Read more Technical Topics on our Brandy Education page.