Nov 14, 2014

What the heck is a Bocksbeutel?!

Have you ever wondered what it is about this flat, fat bellied bottles you see in many posts about German wine from Franconia? Ugh… what is Franconia? Well then let’s start from the beginning.

Franconia (German: Franken) is one of the 13 defined wine regions in Germany producing quality and premium wines. It is famous especially for its white wines from the Sylvaner grape. Characteristic for Franconia is also the shape of the bottles in use. Special wines of a certain minimum quality and regionally typical grapes are filled in those unique shaped bottles called the Bocksbeutel [spelled: box-boy-tell].

The Bocksbeutel is proven to be used in Franconia for wine for at least 290 years and just recently there has been an “archeological” trove of a Bocksbeutel in NY during construction works. This one evidentially was imported over 100 years ago to the States. Simply by the shape of the bottle (and a seal) the origin was easily allocated to the Bürgerspital estate of Würzburg, Franconia, Germany. Try this in a hundred years with a typical in Bordeaux-style shaped bottle.

The history dates back to at least 1726, when the City Council of Würzburg - the capital of the Franconian wine region - decided that the outstanding wines from the Würzburger Stein vineyard had to be bottled in the Bocksbeutel. The intention of using this special shaped bottle was to protect against forgery. Though today forgery is not the major concern anymore the Bocksbeutel is still used for excellent wines from all over Franconia.

Try and find out!