Nowadays, wine bottles are machine moulded. Small differences in the shape of the bottle may mean that the mould has to be more complicated and thus more costly, but the effect on the cost of each bottle would be negligible. As for clever vintners exploiting the punt, I don't see how they can do that now that the volume is stated on the label. I suspect that the punt is another of those wine snobberies, like the ridiculous practice of stuffing the neck with a piece of bark, which tends to taint the wine and is no cheaper than the much more efficient screw cap.

And if someone writes to say that corks "breathe", I would like to see them prove it.Ray Cobbett is right and T George is wrong: vintners "cannot exploit the punt because the volume of wine is stated on the label". Sure, the law permits a tolerance on individual bottles to allow for variability in the performance of bottling machines, but there is an overriding requirement that the average of all bottles in a batch must not be less than the quantity declared on the label.


So for every bottle found to be underfilled, there will be another which is overfilled - with no profit to the vintner. If Mr George has evidence to the contrary, he should pass it forthwith to his trading standards authority for legal action.Further to the letter from Clare Butler regarding the issue of cork vs alternative stoppers, I would like to state that Oddbins does not have a policy to phase out natural cork by the end of the year.


In fact, 95% of our wines still use natural cork closures and, while we support the use of alternatives where natural cork of the right quality is unavailable, it is not our intention to phase out natural cork. There is, however, an issue over the alarming number of "corked" wines being experienced in the market. Levels of occurrence are widely recognised as unacceptable, and research into ways of combating this must be undertaken.


It seems unlikely that any other consumable product with a similar failure rate would be allowed to continue manufacture/packaging in the same way, although the impact of the use of alternatives is an emotive and complex issue and one that we do not consider lightly.The bottom of any hand blown vessel started as the end of the bubble. To finish the top end,the blown bubble has to be taken off the blow pipe and put onto the punty/pontil rod with a little blob of molten glass.