Mailbag Monday: Empty Glass Bottles?

Dear Alleigh—
I make my own wine at home and was wondering if you had suggestions on where to get empty wine bottles.

I’ve only tried making my own wine once as part of a group of friends.  We had a lot of fun with it, but we certainly didn’t produce the best wines.  So, kudos to you for making your own!  I hope you have more success than we did.

Since I wasn’t the one who procured the bottles for our winemaking adventures, I asked several friends who have been making their own wines for a while where they get their bottles.  Most of them had the same answer—their local wine stores.  Because the wine stores do so many in-shop tastings, there are often a significant number of white and red bottles left over.  Most stores recycle these bottles, but it sounds like they will also save the bottles for the home-winemaker who asks.  Some, although not all, seem to charge a nominal fee for the bottles.

Another place to look is a local restaurant.  Growing up, my father used to make his own wine.  Our local pizza place also had in-house dining and a liquor license, so they served wine and would often save the bottles for my dad.  In return, my dad would share a bottle of his much treasured vino with the owner as a thank you.

375 ml bottles from Freund Container

375 ml bottles from Freund Container

Finally, you can always buy bottles online.  Freund Container actually sent me some sample 375-ml clear flat-bottomed wine bottles a few months ago.  Admittedly, I’ve been slow at writing a review, but your question gives me the perfect opportunity to talk about the bottles.  The ones they sent me were screwtop closures, and even though I don’t have wine to bottle in them, I plan to keep the bottles for some craft experiments because they were definitely good quality.

The bottles were shipped in good packaging, so everything arrived in tact.  They were made of solid glass and felt sturdy.  Sure, I’m sure if I dropped them on our kitchen tile, they would smash, but that would happen with a wine bottle, too (not that I would know from firsthand experience, of course!).  The pictures shows a comparison of the bottles next to a 750-ml wine bottle, and as you can see, they have a nice size and shape. As for the closures themselves, they were plastic screwtops and had a good seal.  I filled a couple of bottles, turned them upside-down, and there was no leaking.  I don’t know enough about winemaking to know if they are the type of screwtops you can use for bottling, but they certainly seemed to keep the liquid in.  If you prefer cork, they do have cork closure options available, as well as several colored class and bottle shape options.  If you don’t make your own wine, but brew beer they carry traditional beer bottles and swing top bottles, as well.

If you decide buy bottles, Freund Container is giving A Glass After Work readers a 10% discount on purchases of $100 or more (thank you Freund Container!).  Just enter the coupon code WOW10OFF at checkout.

Question of the Day: Do you make your own wine or beer?  Where do you get your bottles?

Hope this helps…and happy winemaking!


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