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A bottle is a small container with a neck that is narrower than the body and a "mouth." Bottles are often made of glass or plastic, and typically used to store liquids. e.g. water, milk, soft drinks, beer, wine, oil for cooking and as fuel, medicine, liquid soap, shampoo, ink, etc. For some bottles a deposit is paid, which is returned after returning the bottle to the retailer. For other glass bottles there is often separate garbage[?] collection for recycling.

A make-shift mail method after stranding on a deserted island is a message in a bottle: current may bring it to a shore where the message is read so that a rescue[?] operation can be started. Glass is inert, rigid, and almost completely impermeable, so if the bottle is properly closed a letter inside can stay intact and readable for a long time.

The glass bottle was an important development in the history of wine, because, when combined with a high-quality stopper such as a cork, it allowed long-term aging of wine. Glass has all qualities required for long-term storage (see above). It also eventually gave rise to "château bottling," the practice where an estate's wine is put in bottle at the source, rather than by a merchant. Prior to this, wine would be sold by the barrel (and before that, the amphora) and put into bottles only at the merchant's shop, if at all. This left a huge and often abused opportunity for fraud and adulteration, as the final consumer had to trust the merchant as to the contents of his or her glass. It is thought that most wine consumed outside of wine producing regions had been tampered with in some way. Also, not all merchants were especially careful to avoid oxidation or contamination while bottling, leading to large bottle variation. Particularly in the case of port, certain conscientious merchants' bottlings of old ports fetch higher prices even today. To avoid all these associated problems, most fine wine is bottled at the place of production (including all port, since 1974).

There are many sizes and shapes of bottles used for wine. Some of the best known shapes:

  • "Bordeaux" - This bottle is roughly straight sided with a curved "shoulder" that is useful for catching sediment and is also the easiest to stack. Traditionally used in Bordeaux but now worldwide, this is probably the most common type.
  • "Burgundy" - Traditionally used in Burgundy, this has sides that taper down about 2/3rds of the height to a short cylindrical section, and does not have a shoulder.
  • "Champagne" - Traditionally used for Champagne, this looks similar to a Burgundy bottle but is wider at the base. Much heavier because of the pressure it must contain.

I'm sure that the bottle has many other important uses besides holding wine. Anyone know about them?

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