Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wine Bottle Evolution

Today’s wine bottle comes from a long history of wine storage. Originally, containers were made of stone, wood, leather or earthenware.
The original glass bottles were for wealthy Europeans and were thin-walled glass bottles used to transport wine from the cask to be drunk immediately. Since they were so fragile, they were often supported with metal frames or wicker (which is still used for some Chianti bottles).
Today’s wine bottle actually owes its beginnings not to the French… It was the English that developed heavier, pigmented glass that allowed cork to be used as a stopper. The wine bottle shape was hand blown and it was balloon shaped. Storing the balloon shaped bottles proved to be difficult, so cylindrical bottles were developed to allow for better storage.
Today's wine bottles are typically French styles and are called bordeaux. These bottles are high shouldered bottles. The bordeaux bottles are the one that I use when making my wine bottle cheese trays. I prefer this type of bottle because once it has been fired in my kiln it has a larger surface for serving your favorite snacks on. Other shapes of wine bottles I find to be too slender or just too small.
I would like to share with you the process it takes for the wine bottle to become a cheese tray. First I collect my wine bottles from a local wine bar. I always recycle and like to think that I'm helping our enviorment. The bottles are then soaked in very hot water to help remove the labels. The are cleaned inside and out. Now the bottles must dry completely out. This takes about three to four days. There must be no moisture in the bottle before firing. I then place a piece of wire in the neck of the bottle and secure with a touch of glue. Once this has dried they are ready for the kiln. It takes about eight hours to completely fire the wine bottles. They must reach around 1,425 degrees to melt completely. After the firing is complete (no peeking) the kiln needs to cool down to room temputure before I can remove them.
Simply the most perfect unique gift for anyone!

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